More on Self-Publishing

I sent my manuscript to the typesetter. I am a little nervous, which is weird, since y’all have read and will read most of the contents of the book (I got rid of a story from last year that I didn’t like and wrote a new one). In regular publishing, a lot of stuff happens kind of all at once–the book gets typeset, you get a cover design, etc.

But when you’re guiding own project, things have to happen one at a time. Like, I had to decide which self-publisher I was going to use. I went with Amazon because they can make your books available to all bookstores. So, that allowed me to know for sure which specs I need for the interior, which I have to have before I have the exterior designed, because I need to know how many pages the book is going to be so I can tell the designer how thick to make the spine.

I have to make some decisions about how much marketing I want to do, if any. I’m doing the book for myself and for any of y’all who read last year’s stories and enjoyed them and thought you might want a collection of them. But, yeah, of course, if people who don’t read and would never read Tiny Cat Pants would enjoy the stories, I’d like them to find out about them.  But newspapers don’t publish reviews of books they consider not legitimate and still, no one considers self-published books legitimate. Of course, this is the same crowd that still complains about blogs not being real journalism. So… yeah. And it’s very difficult to get a collection of short stories published anyway, so I could sit around and be rejected over and over, because that’s the hoop I have to jump through if I want print media to pay attention to me.

Or I could not jump through that hoop, repeatedly, and not worry about it. Which, obviously, is what I’m doing.

Still, marketing. I don’t know. It’s kind of an open-ended question.

15 thoughts on “More on Self-Publishing

  1. Not “marketing” per se, but those of us who work in libraries can buy a copy to put in our collections. It won’t matter if it’s self-published or not. That won’t increase your sales a lot, but it will make your words available to more eyes, even if you’ll never know how many.

  2. Good friend of mine operates the DIY Book Festivals. Several years ago they had an event in Nashville and I got to listen in on some seminars. Very interesting, I found it had lots of good info on self-publishing and marketing.

    Usually the conventions are in New York and Los Angeles, but you might check it out and see if there’s an event you can attend. At the very least you might submit your book for one of the competitions. And wow, I see there is a 2010 Nashville festival planned. Hmm. I better write my friend and see if they are coming to town …

  3. I say full speed ahead! Book reviews in the papers don’t matter anymore it’s the bloggers that do now, which is a world you know very well. The key is getting your work in front of people that care and in return they will write reviews in turn helping you promote. Also, with the new ebook stores people don’t care or would know if it’s a self published work. It’s much easier to get into a digital store than a traditional ones with their limited shelf space. If you make a splash online trust me the buyers for the main stream brick & mortar stores will take notice. Good luck my friend, maybe we can get you on the podcast to talk about this very topic. And of course the book. :-)

  4. OK just got an e-mail from my friend in L.A. he says they are doing a Nashville DIY book festival in spring 2011 to avoid conflicting with the Southern Festival of Books. So that may or may not be too late for you, I dunno. But it’s really a wealth of information on self-publishing so even if it’s too late for this project I highly recommend it to anyone interested. Lots of little tips and stuff from people who have been self-publishing for years.

    It used to be self-publishing was sort of looked down upon as “vanity press” and all that but the world has completely changed. I think really highly of it now. The publishing landscape has completely changed in the past few years, I know too many authors who have been put through the wringer by “legitimate” publishing houses and agents, never making a dime and having to compromise their work in all sorts of ways. Meanwhile, I know some self-publishers who have actually made money by selling their books themselves. It really makes sense these days.

    Most people will tell you to promote your book with a blog, and since you already have a blog and have quite a large following, I’d say you’re off to a good start. Can’t wait to read it.

  5. Yeah, B., it feels good to look yourself up on “Worldcat” and see that you’re in some distant library!

  6. I saw a guy who had a like page on facebook for his self published book recently if you wanted to go that route. Also, some college and university libraries are into stuff published by alums regardless of the topic and some aren’t which goes along with the making it available to more eyes. My public library won’t take donations for the collection but they are pretty responsive when people suggest titles to purchase.

    I want there to be some ghost story themed bookstores out there like the mystery themed ones but I’m not sure if there are.

  7. You probably want to go ahead and buy a domain with your name (or similar if it’s not available) if you don’t already own it, and maybe even a domain with (or close to if not available) the book title. Even if you don’t do anything with them immediately, you’ll have them (Namecheap & Go Daddy either one would be best – I really prefer Namecheap myself) to do something with, even if it’s just set up a one-page website or another blog.

    When you get ready to really do something, I’d suggest HostGator for hosting – you can start with cheap and move up to bigger if you have to, and the WordPress via Fantastico installation there if you decide to go the blog route takes all of about two minutes to set up.

    Once you do that, you can do stuff that Google/etc will pick up bigtime – if you do a WordPress blog, you can add the All in One SEO pack plugin to WordPress, stuff like that – and you’ve got it made.

    Conversely, you could go the super cheap route and just do a new Blogger blog (or two, if you add one that will zero in one your name) for it – the upside to using Blogger is that Blogger blogs get lots of Google love since Google owns it now – but you still really need to go ahead and get a domain or two, one for just that book and one to establish your presence by name as an author, even if all the domains do is forward to the Blogger blogs. I wish you could set them up on WP.com but (as you know) – no commercial content/links allowed on WP.com, only hosted WP.

    So at the very least, spend less than 20 bucks a year on the couple of domains – possibly add in hosting if you’re going to do a site or sites or hosted WP blog(s) – that gives you the foundation to do unlimited marketing stuff with it and you’ll have the links (betsyphillips dot net, name of book dot com, whatever) that you can just post all kinds of places where book readers are.

    If you go to my marketing blog @ lynnm dot net and look in the sidebar, look for the Recommended Resources button at the top (or in the sidebar under pages) and hit my links for Hosting and Domains, the Host Gator and Namecheap links are in those as are Go Daddy and some others (I know you already have a Go Daddy account). ZootHost is a great host too but if you might do a WordPress blog, I’d recommend Host Gator instead since they have Fantastico to install WordPress and it’s soooo easy.

  8. Great advice from SoBeale and Lynn.

    Also, publishers (now strapped for resources) are looking at self-published titles and monitoring trends. Amazon has a lot of programs to spotlight books and several have been picked up by big houses. Though the most famous that comes to mind was written by a kid (who writes really well) and another that got attention first from Oprah. Or maybe that was the same book.

    Anyhoo, marketing these days consists of sending emails and asking reviewers if they want review copies. It’s now getting too expensive to just blindly send them out. And you have a book with regional interest. Just compile a list of people you think might be interested and email them. You can send them a pdf of the book (which many reviewers prefer now). And find out who’s buying for the local library systems. And as noted, contact your alma mater(s). Organize your own book tour! Hell, a lot of authors with the big publishers have to do this stuff on their own anyway because funds are funneled to the big books.

  9. Since you’re using Amazon does this mean I can buy it for my beloved Kindle?!?

    I am sooooo jazzed!!

  10. That’s my plan. They make it seem very easy to do a Kindle version, so I’m hoping that’s the case. You don’t, though, think it’s silly to have a Kindle version of stories that have been available online?

  11. Uh…not at all.

    I’ll buy the Kindle version, for starters.

    Besides, reading them online on the blog is a totally different experience to reading them in book typeset.

    You might have to price them lower than the $9.99 to get bites, but there are a lot of authors who’ve gotten great followings on Kindle for stuff that has been published online.

    It’s actually quite a niche-y little trend.

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