Monday, January 20, 2014


It's the aim of most writers to have a book or two out there. To breathe in deep and let readers read their words. And there are many different routes to achieve it. My first foray into self-publishing came about after I had already had two books published by different publishers - so far in my career I've been published by three publishers, but I must say that my favorite way to go is to self-publish.
I know a lot of authors who are traditionally published, and may be thinking that self-publishing isn't for them, but if you have a manuscript ready to go, I think everyone should consider it. Publishing both traditionally and self-published (becoming a hybrid author) is a good way to go.

Here are some things you need:

1. A completed, polished manuscript. This needs to be your very best work.
2. A good editor. My advice in finding the perfect editor for your work is to consider firstly whether your audience is US or UK based, and if you are going to write in UK or US English. If you are traditionally published, and love your editor, first find out if your editor also freelances - might she take on private clients? If not, can she/he recommend someone to you? Finding an editor who 'gets you' and that you can work well with is key.
3. A cover designer. I have used four different cover designers and have also designed covers myself. There are a great variety of cover designers out there, at all price ranges. You can have a cover specifically designed, or buy a 'premade' cover where the designer alters the name and title to fit. Most premade designers remove the cover from sale once it has been sold.A great premade cover site is Go On Write which is updated very regularly and has some great covers at very attractive prices.

Questions and thoughts:
"I don't want to have to do publicity, I have no idea where to start with that. If I'm traditionally published, then my publisher will do that for me."
The above is a bit of a misconception. All authors need to promote their own work, and end up doing so, both trad or indie, so this isn't an issue.

"Self-published is not as good quality as traditionally published."
I strongly disagree. If you write a good book, employ a professional editor, and a good designer it can be impossible for the reader to know if your book has been produced by a publisher or has been self published.

"But I don't know anything about self-publishing."
If self-publishing is a mystery to you, then the answer is to become informed. Start by reading Catherine Ryan Howard's blog, JA Konrath's blog, and see how you get on. There's a wealth of information out there, and you owe it to yourself to investigate.

1. Royalty rates - 70% of cover if you price your book at 2.99-9.99.
2. Payment - There is a 60 day lead time on Amazon payments, but they pay monthly.
3. Scheduling releases - instead of waiting for a slot for a book to be released by a publisher, you can release when a book is ready. This can be a huge advantage for writers who write fast and have manuscripts backing up in a publishers' system.
4. Control. You choose the cover, release date, price, promo etc. You can experiment with all of these, and if something isn't working - fix it.

So if you are a writer who has been thinking about self-publishing, I strongly encourage you to make 2014 the year that you investigate it in more detail, learn all you can about it, and dive in!


Amalie Berlin said...

I would add one thing: Know the difference between a content editor and a copy editor. I just read a self-published book that I could tell had been line/copy edited, had a cover designed by a cover artist, and? Was a desperately bad read. The author needed a content editor.

(Actually, I've already read another book since then but I still have book hangover from that first book, and not in the good way... I like book hangover when it's associated with a book you love, but when it's the opposite, it's really rather unpleasant!)

Romy Sommer said...

Too true, Amalie. I've read one or two of those - great concept, technically okay, but needing work on things like character arcs and development which can leave the reader feeling terribly unsatisfied.

But I've also read some amazing self-pubbed books so I'll definitely agree that the lack-of-quality stigma in self-publishing is no longer an issue.

Momma was thinking.. said...

I will pass on your wise wisdom to our readers! At indieBRAG we only work with self-published books- trying to shine a light on books that deserve attention. We do tell those about to publish a book that they only get one chance to make a good first impression. It is important to have your book thoroughly edited if you want it to be respected. Self-publishing is no longer a road you take because your book is not good enough for a traditional publisher. Now it is a very smart option.