self-publishing insights

by WizardOfWords on June 25, 2012

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Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile may be familiar with name of American author, Yvonne Perry. Yvonne was kind enough to provide us with a very insightful guest post on March 6, 2011 on the subject of self-publishing, when I was a stop on the virtual book tour for her previous title, “Whose Stuff Is This Anyway?”

That post remains in the top 5 of the most popular posts on this blog, so the topic of self-publishing is clearly of interest to my readers.  I’m therefore delighted to be hosting Yvonne once again with a new post on her self-publishing journey, entitled “How Yvonne Published Her Book.”

I’m one of 20 bloggers participating in the virtual book tour for Yvonne’s latest book, Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience. You may learn more about Yvonne and her book at http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com.

Shifting-into-Purer-Consciousness the book cover of Yvonne’s Perry’s new title, “Shifting into Purer Consciousness”

 

How I Published My Book

by Yvonne Perry

When choosing a publishing method, there are three basic options these days. The conventional route is to go through one of the “Big 6” book publishers, which includes Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, and Simon & Schuster. An author must query, many times using the services of a literary agent (who takes a percentage of the advance), and present a detailed overview of the book along with a bio on the author, some sample chapters, and a full-scale marketing plan to demonstrate probability of books sales.

Even though you may eventually get an advance up front, you are expected to use this money to market your own book. Yes, that’s right! Unless you are Dan Brown, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, or some celebrity who already has notoriety that insures your book will sell, you (the author) are responsible for marketing your own book. So why query and query just to receive rejection letters (if you get a response at all), give up rights to your material, and wait for years to be published just so you can share your royalties with a publisher who will not help you sell the book? And, if the book doesn’t sell, depending upon the terms of the contract, the publisher may have the right to demand the return of a portion of the advance.

The advantage to using this publishing method is that it gets the book into Ingram and other catalogues that bookstores buy from, but with bricks and mortar bookstores closing their doors due to people buying books online, this isn’t enough of a reason for me to choose conventional publishing. Especially when this distribution channel is available through self-publishing via Lightning Source (LS) and many on-demand publishing companies.

Thanks to CreateSpace and Lulu.com, it is easier than ever to bring a book to market. And, it doesn’t cost a thing to do so—unless you opt for some of the advanced services such as editing, interior layout, custom cover design (most have free templates), expanded distribution channels, or marketing assistance these companies offer. This type of self-publishing is known as publishing on demand.

The thing I don’t like about LS is that they charge $50 for each revision you upload during the setup process. That’s why I published through CreateSpace (CS)—they do not charge for re-uploads.

The first time I uploaded my book and had a printed copy mailed to me, the layout was totally wrong because the fonts were too small and I had set the margins for an 8.5” x 11” book instead of the intended 6” x 9” size. I would have paid $50 to discover that mistake with LS.

A month later I had finished writing the book, reformatted the margins, font, headers, etc., and uploaded the book to check the layout. I knew this would not be the final version: I was still using one of CS’s cover templates because I didn’t have my artwork ready for the custom cover at that time. That was my second upload.

Once the reviews and endorsements started coming in, I added them to the manuscript. The book had also been through a first round of edits, so I uploaded the revised manuscript again along with the custom cover designed by Rick Chappell. I was still awaiting the photographer to do a high-resolution photo of Vickie B. Major’s artwork for the cover, but at least I could see what the cover design looked like on the actual book. Colors on the screen can be very different from what prints on paper. That was my third upload.

I used that printed copy to record the MP3 audio version of my book and proofread the manuscript—I catch more typos reading a book in print than on the screen. Thus, there were more changes to the final copy that I uploaded with the completed cover once I got the hi-res photo. That was the fourth upload and the book was ready for the market. You can see how expensive these re-uploads could be with LS.

I didn’t want to CS to get my ISBN because whoever holds the ISBN is technically the owner of the work. Instead, I got my own ISBN through RR Bowker  and used a free online service to create the scanable barcode. I could have gotten expanded distribution to libraries and bookstores had I allowed CS to issue my ISBN. Since I want this distribution channel, I published with Lightning Source after I had my final copy perfected and knew I wouldn’t need to make changes to the files. So the book is technically double published. There is a small fee to publish with LS and there is an annual fee to keep the book listed in Ingram’s catalogue.

A totally self-published book means you do not use a publish-on-demand service. Instead, you find your own printer and become a publisher. It used to be that anyone who self-published a book was responsible for distribution; so, whenever a book sold, the author had to pack the book, address the package, and ship it from the large quantity of stock kept in a min-warehouse or basement/garage at home. If the book was selling well, an author could spend hours each week packing books and taking them to the post office. Things have changed and now an author can publish directly through Lightning Source (LS).

With so many options, you can make an informed choice about your publishing method. Cheers to becoming a published author.

Yesterday, Yvonne’s virtual book tour stopped at Carl Bozeman’s blog- Spiritual Intuition. Tomorrow, June 26th, the tour will be at Karen Gonzalez’s blog- Folkart Press. You are invited to visit that site to learn more about the spiritual transition we are currently in. See the full tour schedule at http://dld.bz/byrF7.

And join us back here the week of July 9th for our next intriguing post. In the meantime, please join the discussion on independent and self-publishing. We’re all in this creative journey together, and can all learn from one another’s experiences. I thank Yvonne for so generously sharing hers.

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