Q&A: Self-Publishing

Dear Self-Publishers,

I was wondering how you all went about getting yourselves published? Did you go directly to self-publishing or did you try the more traditional way of Publishing? Or was it a little bit of both? Who did you find did the best job for you? Who was the most affordable? Who would you warn people away from?

Kind regards

3 Comments

  1. I found out about self-publishing through a friend who said she published a book. I checked out the website from the logo on the book cover and realized I could also publish books. This was back in 2002. I thought it was neat that I could finally get those old manuscripts that I had printed out and put in a binder and put them into a book I could hold. So it was a way for me to have my story in book form. That is how it started. I never once thought of showing my books to anyone else.

    I used iUniverse from 2002 to 2007. Then they moved to Indiana from where they used to be (due to the AuthorHouse buying it) and from there, the quality of their customer service went way downhill. I’d recommend avoiding them at all costs.

    Then I published my first romance back in December 2007 through Outskirts Press. They were good and still are, as far as I know. I published four books through them, and it was their Marketing Coach program that got me to dream of expanding and reaching an audience with books that I was truly passionate about. You see, when I wrote fantasy and teen suspense, I liked the books but wasn’t excited about them. I began writing romance and felt passionate about writing. That was when I had to write. Outskirts isn’t cheap. I averaged $1000 on each book.

    In late 2008, I realized I couldn’t keep publishing through Outskirts because of the expense, so I looked for ways to do this cheaper. I found out about Lulu and checked it out, but someone told me CreateSpace was much better so I went with that instead. I now go through both. I also use Kindle on Amazon and Smashwords. These cost nothing to use. CreateSpace just requires you to pay for a proof copy of the book. So this is definitely a lot more affordable than when I used to do.

    As far as quality and timing, I’d pick CreateSpace for paperbacks. Lulu is more expensive (by about $5 to $10). Lulu also does not include Amazon distribution, and as much as people want to hate Amazon for their “monopoly” strategies, if it weren’t for Amazon, I wouldn’t be making any profit from writing.

    So I spent about $10,000 from 2002 to 2007 and never made anything. I spend about $60 per paperback through CreateSpace and nothing on Kindle and make money. To me, this is a no brainer. Even if you don’t plan to sell anything, at least make it easy on your wallet.

    1. Yeah all that $$$ is part of why I never considered self publishing before! Someday I’m hoping to manage the 40$ pro account or whatever they call it, though, LOL!

      Like you, I have a Kindle version, but it is not doing so well (Maybe lack of advertising? It doesn’t seem to be linked to my paperback version, I need to mail them about that…) and I’m on Smashwords too, but same thing there until I made a temp freebie download code, LOL! That’s gotten some downloads, but no idea if they read it or liked it or hated it or what!

  2. I’d heard of self publishing before, I couldn’t say where, exactly, and that it took a lot of money because you paid to have the books made and then you sold them yourself. I’m not going to lie, it was nothing I ever looked into or even considered because I was brainwashed that it’s something that “vain, impatient people with no talent do just so they can see their name on a book”. (We’ve all heard this a thousand times!)

    Then, I had a friend on MySpace, Stevie Rey, who “wrote” The Hillbilly Bible (he “translated the book of John into “Hillbilly speak”. I just love this!) He started originally looking for agents, but then he announced on his blog one day that he was going to self publish it through LuLu. I assumed that meant the old style pay a fortune method, but as I know his finances sit in the red where mine do, I couldn’t figure out how he was doing it. So, I went and looked at LuLu and that’s how I found the amazing POD world. I made myself an account, originally to buy and rate his book. Then I toyed briefly with the idea of making and selling my own manga comics (they are way too time consuming to do very many pages a month and not get paid!), and so I tried making some test projects on LuLu, but abandoned it eventually.

    Fast forward, my friend Dan and I start discussing the idea of my self publishing. By this time, I’d been in forums and groups and had discovered that a lot of authors that I considered to be “real” writers were *gasp* self published and that it wasn’t this horrible thing. I was planning on using LuLu, simply because I was familiar with it and a couple people I knew were happy with it. I won’t lie, originally when I started considering self publishing it was just because I couldn’t find an agent, but then when I started really looking into it, it started to make more and more sense. And soon, it had nothing to do with whether I could find an agent or not, in fact I stopped querying them altogether, it was because it made it *MY* book.

    I ended up at Create Space – honestly – because I read a comparison on Arpil Hamilton’s blog and because i found a free ebook with step by step directions for how to publish with Create Space. (yeah, I make impulse decisions sometimes) I think I made the right choice for me, though 🙂

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