Self-publishing my novels has been a learning experience for me, and I will admidt an expensive one. Between my two books, “Forever Avalon” and “The Dark Tides,” I’ve put out a little over $10,000 in publishing, travel expenses, setting up book signings, a publicist and more. To some people, that’s probably right up there with people spending thousands of dollars on extreme Christmas decorations or collecting Ty Beanie Babies.
I have to admidt, it wasn’t an easy decision for me either. As much as I love writing, I know that publishing these books has to be beneficial for me and my family, not just a boost for my ego. I honestly believed that my stories about the world of Forever Avalon can and would bring that financial success to me. That’s why I decided to self-publish.
When I first started the process of finding someone to publish my book, it was a completely different story. I honestly thought that once someone read my manuscript, I would get that call, sign with an agent and be able to retire, spending my days writing about the things I love. However, that wasn’t how it happened. Rejection letter after rejection letter showed me I had a lot to learn. If I wanted to see my story in print, I’d have to pay for it myself.
So what did I learn from this experience? First and foremost, be prepared for the expense of self-publishing. If it’s something you truly believe in and want to pursue, be prepared for the cost. There are a lot of little expenses you don’t realize once you start down that road. I’m talking travel expenses, book signings, advertising and publicity, not to mention editorial changes and corrections. In the end, they all add up.
Second, don’t rely on spellcheck when editing your book. Most self-publishers don’t edit your novel unless you pay per word. I missed so many errors in my first book I had them pull it to make the corrections before re-issuing it. This then falls back to the extra costs I talked about before. When you’re doing this on your own, you’re not going to catch every mistake, so make sure you have an extra set of eyes looking over your manuscript.
Third, pick a good publisher. There are many companies out there for self publishing, but the best ones are associated with big name publishers and offer a large variety of services, not just formatting your manuscript and slapping a cover on it. Do your research and you can find the publisher that fits you best.
Number four, patience is a must in self-publishing. I found myself checking numbers and sales each and every day. You can’t delude yourself into thinking that your book will be an overnight success, selling millions of copies in the first month. You’re one book in a world where thousands of books are published each and every year. You have to find your niche and hope they like it.
Last but not least, never give up on yourself or your book. Being a writer isn’t easy and, for those of us working hard at our craft, it takes a lot of dedication and practice, practice, practice. Keep writing and believe in yourself and your novel. As my wife always tells me, “Put your faith in God and the rest will fall into place.”
Faith and family, that’s what it’s all about.