Thanks so much to Larry Jacobson for his insightful post on self-publishing and for the dynamic discussion that ensued among our wonderful community here on the blog. As self-publishing is something that is interesting a growing number of people and one that has taken over my life at present, I’ve chosen to devote this week’s post to the process by which I’ve built my self-publishing team, with hope that it might help some of you who are considering the process for your own creative work.
When I decided to self-publish Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Although this is my fourth book, I’ve never been at the helm before. My first two literary projects were work-for-hire co-authorships. I had no say in the final drafts of the work and I received no royalties — just a flat fee for the contracted work. The first of those projects was a difficult one with some bumps along the road. The second, was a joyous one which restored my faith and interest in book writing.
In 2010, my first solo project was published by Dundurn Press, a small Canadian publisher. Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasures & Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards was a fabulous book to write as I wrote from personal exuberance and interviewed friends and associates to enhance my own experiences volunteering in the non-profit sector. This was a royalty-based contract with a small advance. I haven’t gotten rich from writing the book, but I have gained great personal satisfaction in knowing that the book has been helpful to many people who volunteer for non-profit associations and organizations.
When I decided to write a book about chocolate travel three years ago, I had no idea it would become such a life-absorbing project. Chocolate has become my life. A very sweet life, mind you, and I’m not complaining. But for the past three years, I have been living and breathing chocolate, and I see that continuing for probably the rest of my life as after the 1st volume of Chocolatour is published, there will be the 2nd volume focusing on the Americas and the Caribbean, followed by the 3rd volume that will take in the rest of the world. After which, it will be time to update the 1st volume (which focuses on Europe and the UK) and perhaps roll all three volumes into one super Chocolatour.
Quite the endeavour and back to the premise that I needed help in producing this book and achieving the level of excellence I intend to in its publication.
I chose to self-publish Chocolatour because I want it to be perfect. And my vision of perfection. Not a publisher’s, who doesn’t share the same passion for my subject and the intense connection I have established with my audience. I wanted to choose the cover. I wanted to choose which pictures and illustrations would be included in the book. And I want this book to contribute to my success as an author and build the momentum for future projects. I see self-publishing as a form of empowerment.
To help me achieve my goals, I have assembled an amazing team of talented individuals to help make Chocolatour the best book that has ever been written about today’s world of chocolate. That team includes:
1) a self-publishing coach/mentor who is helping me with the logistics of making this project a reality — and a successful publishing endeavour.
2) a professional editor. Despite the fact that I have been a professional self-employed writer for nearly 20 years, I know that having a professional editor on my team will bring my writing to the next level and make the book coherent, grammatically correct, and something in which I can take great pride.
3) a designer. I have a skilled individual who has designed a number of books, knows me well, and cares about my project. With his help, this book will rock the world of chocolate.
4) a printer. I have obtained a quote from a very reputable printer who will bring my project to fruition and make the pages of Chocolatour sing with passion and excitement.
5) the right illustrator to bring some levity and character to the quest for chocolate. I have two extremely talented illustrators working on a draft cover for me as I write this post. Both are amazing women who have expressed an interest in working with me on this project. Only after I see a draft of how they will interpret Chocolatour will I know which one shares my vision for the book. Afterall, it is said that a great segment of the population judges a book by its cover, and so I really need to get this right.
6) ongoing technical support. I have a gal who has helped get my online presence in order and help me take it to the next level. I know that she will play an integral role as we move forward in enhancing my sites and adding the ability to enable people to buy books from me and other products that will evolve over time.
That is my self-publishing team at this moment in time. I know that details of distribution and publicity will likely bring in a couple of more members to the team, but this post is long enough for now, and hopefully gives you insight into the process that has brought me to this point in time and what is on the horizon.
I hope you will stick around and continue to share the journey with me. Your comments and encouragement mean the world to me.
How about you? Have you self-published a book? Are you considering it for your next project? Let’s continue this self-publishing discussion as I think it has been a most enlightening one over the past month.
Please join me back here the week of August 6th for the next post.