Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Excerpts and Thoughts on Becoming a Self Published Author

 I stumbled across this blog post and because I liked it, I’m throwing out excerpts. You can read the whole thing here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/03/25-steps-to-becoming-a-self-published-author/

 Forget “indie.” Forget “DIY.” Just be an author when you’re being an author. Just be a publisher when you’re being a publisher. (Or, go with a term I quite like, “author-publisher.”) People ask you what you do, you write books. People ask who you’re published with, give them the name of your one-man publishing company. Or say, “I did that myself,” and if they look at you funny, pee on their shoes and smash gum in their hair. This isn’t because of shame over the term. It’s because the term is increasingly meaningless. Anybody who asks is probably inside publishing somehow anyway, because most readers just plain don’t care who publishes someone, whether it’s you, a Random Penguin, or some magic coyote hobo.

 You’re not just an author. You’re not just a “self”-publisher. You’re a publisher from bottom to top, from feet to forehead, to eyebrows. Being a publisher means being a business. A small business of one.

Be a fountain, not a drain. Other authors have made a different choice and that does not make them wrong. It does not make them better or worse. Their choices do not invalidate yours. This is not a contest over who got it right or whose bitterness is the strongest. This is about doing what’s right for you and your story.

 One of the limitations of traditional is that it just plain can’t do some things. Traditional is a big rock. A big rock can’t move. A big rock cannot dance. But that means you are afforded a chance to put riskier material into the world. Unusual genre mixes. Formats that trad won’t touch. Why play it safe?

Eschew perfection. Perfection is a meaningless and impossible ideal. It’s a bullseye the size of a fly’s eye. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Being a publisher is not the same thing as being a good publisher. You’re in the middle of the hill, not the top. This is when a whole new spate of work begins. You’re in for a long haul, here — but that’s a good thing. Traditional publishing often relies on the short shock of a release day supernova to get word out. A book drops from the sky. Lands on shelves. Has a flurry of promotion and then, sometimes, you know, it’s onto the next one with the author left behind. Good publishers – including author-publishers — realize that this is a long con, not a short game. You don’t have to sell the lion’s share in that first week. You sell a little here, a little there, and then you build on that every week forward.                                            

 Your job is to figure out how to be the shiny pearl in a pool full of poop because, trust me, a lot of what else is out there is a steaming heap of ordure. Cream floats in a cup of coffee but this is a pile and it’s easy to get buried underneath it. Stand out. Be the best version of yourself. Try lots of things. Don’t be a jerk. Your marketing efforts should be beautiful music that draws me nearer, not a hammer that clubs me where I stand.

 You will need versatility. You are not the clunky slug-ass oil tanker that is a Big Six Publisher. You are the little guy — the zippy coke-fueled wave-cutting speedboat that can make sharp corners and course correct in the wink of a sphincter. Book not selling? Change your cover. Your price point. Your book description. Your marketing tactics. Do a new dance.

 Write, edit, publish, market. Keep doing it. The more you do this, the more you have a chance of connecting with the readers who will support you and your storytelling career. Throw more pebbles: ripples into other ripples. Keep doing it. Stay positive. Stay awesome.

You’re in control, now.

 Kristy’s thoughts:

For selfish reasons, I hope traditional publishing thrives. It’s competition and competition is good. Without competition Amazon's 70% royalty becomes 10%. I’m sad to see bookstores dying. I worry about libraries. I spent years volunteering in the schools as the library mom—I hope there will always be libraries, story hours and library moms.

Hallelujah that I live in a day and age where I can publish my work, mingle with friends and never have to leave my bedroom or put on pants. Although I love getting notes from readers who value my work, I’m grateful that my stories don’t have to please anyone, other than myself.

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