I’ve been behind on my blogging here lately. (I have a lot of big projects in the works.) I did read a most interesting article by Bob Mayers of Cool Gus publishing . One thing he said really jumped out at me:
Ultimately, we’re a partner that works with each author as a unique entity. As part of the very interesting survey about authors put out by DBW, one statistic was that 1/3 of traditionally published authors want to branch out to self-publishing. That struck me. Because, if you want to do it right, you really can’t “self” publish. The learning curve is much too steep to risk it. That’s why most traditional writers I talk to who are considering it say they are scared. They should be, and I say that nicely. It’s a scary world in publishing right now, but it’s also a very lucrative one and very wide open for authors who are willing take smart, calculated risks.
I can relate. I get a lot of emails from writers who are intimidated by the process. They want to do best by their work and they want to reach the most readers. Money isn’t the only reason they are considering self-publishing. They want creative control. They have a vision and hope to reach it. But. From the outside looking in, taking a work from manuscript to finished book looks like more than just a big job, it looks unmanageable. I won’t lie. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s not unmanageable. It’s not even difficult (though a lot of hard work) I happen to think that the most important factor in self-publishing is self-CONFIDENCE.
YOU ARE THE BOSS.
Being the boss is a lot of responsibility. That’s why you need confidence. I’ll let you in on self-publishing’s Big Secret.
If you screw up, you can do it over.
Mistakes in the text? Fix them and update your listings. The cover’s not working? Redo it and update your listings. Don’t like a distributor? Pull your books. Find a new and exciting distributor? Sign up and list your books.
How’s that for a confidence booster? Mistakes aren’t fatal or expensive.
If you are on the fence about self-publishing, if you’re uncertain, or even intimidated, I suggest you look around and take a look at your team. Yes, your team. I bet you have a critique group or beta readers who’d be thrilled to help you shape your writing. I bet you know at least one other writer who has self-published so has some experience to share. Do you follow the important self-publishing blogs and indie writers? You may not know them personally, but they can still be part of your team. They have information and the willingness to share. Valuable stuff.
You can hire a production team. Fee for service, no entanglement of rights, no schemes, and you, as the boss, have full control. (Please, by all that is holy, stay away from the vanity presses disguised as “self-publishing services”) You can hire:
- Copy editors
- Book formatters
- Cover designers
- Audio production
- Scanning & OCR conversion (for your backlist)
- A marketing consultant
Here’s another of self-publishing’s Big Secrets:
If you’re willing to apply yourself, you can do most of it yourself.
Sweat equity counts. Willingness to learn counts a lot.
Is self-publishing a risk? Why yes, yes it is. Traditional publishing is a risk, too. But so what? The big difference is, as The Boss, you take the big risks, you reap the big rewards. There’s nobody standing between you and your readers. That’s why you need confidence. But you know what? You can fake the self-confidence until you actually feel it. You just have to take that first step and decide to take the plunge.