Ok I am about to say something I NEVER thought I would say: I am done self-self-publishing.
No, that is not a typo. I did not say I was done self-publishing, I said I was done self-self-publishing. Let me explain the difference.
When I first self-published in 2008, I wanted to learn everything from soup to nuts about the process, so I decided to forego using services such as Lulu and Authorhouse. They were offering to do all the legwork…for a fee of course. I figured, ‘why give them the money when I can probably do this myself?’ And I was right. After a few missteps I did save a lot of money and learned how to do it all myself.
Well it’s 2013 and I just finished self-self-publishing my last book. I saved even more money this year than I did in 2008, but I’ve also learned a few things I would like to share with you.
Just because I can does not mean I should – This is especially true for my first book, which I edited myself. What a nightmare! Not just proofing and the like, but research, fact-checking, permissions gathering. It is all necessary, in fact, crucial to the success of your book. You need an editor and maybe even a researcher because guess what? All this is time consuming. Problem is I must continue do some of these whether I self-publish or not. RATS.
Self-self-publishing also means finding and working with your own cover designer and book layout ‘person’ (there has to be a better name for these people.) Not only do you have to get contracts signed, negotiate pricing, and provide them with the bar code, the back cover copy, the images (if you have particular ones you want used) and, most importantly — the vision — you must stay on top of every little thing in case they miss it (see the blog post Are You Inviting Me In?). This too takes time.
Cheaper is not necessarily better – Don’t get me wrong I love to self-publish, but there comes a time in every SPA’s life (self-published author in case you don’t know) when we have to come to terms with the non-monetary costs. I spend more time away from my husband when I’m working on all of the above. I hate spending time away from my husband, OK? The time I spend doing all this work I could be WRITING…right? And handing this over to someone else would certainly make life easier and more enjoyable.
So yes, I am going to continue to self-publish but I’m going to be smarter about it. First, I am only going to self-publish ebooks (duh, what a concept, huh?) so that all I have to do is write it and format it for epub; that I can do pretty easily, quickly and for FREE. I can create my own ebook covers in Photoshop, again, for FREE. Second, if I want to put out a paperback again I am going to get a publisher. Until then, the only cost I will continue to incur is for my editor — who I absolutely cannot do without — and the occasional illustrator. So, my caveat to ‘I’m not going to self-publish anymore’ is taking my extra ‘self’ out of the process.
Whew! Ok rant over. I feel better already. 🙂
BTW my paperback cookbook is The Real Book on How to Cook. Coming to amazon.com real soon.