Self-Publishing Advice from the experience of my first book
I had the wonderful opportunity to guest lecture at Emerson College this week on the subject of “Self-publishing”. It caused a bit of retrospection, it being a full year now since I published Blue Ice.
My most important self-publishing advice, the elephant in the room, as voiced by one of the students: “If you had it to do again, would you self-publish, or go with a traditional publisher?”
That really gets right to the core of the matter. Personally, if there were a publisher who was willing to offer an acceptable deal, I’d definitely go with them. Two words: “Marketing Budget” strike true with me. I don’t miss having to deal with an agent, having to respond to publishers, etc. and wonder if anything was going to happen. I do miss having someone who will actually handle the marketing. Someone who can run ads, etc.
As a new writer, the first and most important task is to get your name and your book out there. To build readers, to find a market. Who better to do that than a marketing department.
That said, I can’t imagine myself hat in hand trying to find an agent at this point. Maybe if one came after me…
Some other general advice that may or not be of use to you if you do choose to self-publish:
- Find an editor you can work with and hang on to them. Pay them well, they’re an important team member.
- Hire a real professional copy editor.
- Find the best graphic designer you can and pay for your cover design. REALLY – books are judged by their covers, and you’re not going to get anyone to read your book if you’ve got a crappy cover.
- Seriously consider putting your book into the Kindle Select program – it will make it available for free reading to Kindle Prime users, and you’ll still get paid $2.99. More eyeballs is a good thing.