Five years ago I was editing the first full book I'd ever finished - it was the 5th time I'd read through and edited it, and it seemed I had several more read-throughs to go before FINDING HOME would see publication - even after that I did 3 rounds of updates!
At the time, I thought all that editing would be the hardest part ... little did I realize all that being self-published included. But it is a decision I have never regretted, even if there is so much to do!
I tried the traditional-publishing route, but I hate hearing NO and I am so impatient, so it didn't take long for me to see that wasn't the road for me. I'd never dreamed big enough to think what I would do if I ever really wrote an entire book. Suddenly faced with endless possibilities, I struggled with where to begin. I've always had the mentality of 'go big or go home', so when I did look at publishers I looked at the top of the list - Harper Collins. I don't think my aim was too high, I think the issue was that when I was trying to get published, those big houses were having to change their ways to accommodate the 'fad' of e-books.
After waiting months to hear back from Harper Collins about if they were even interested in seeing my book, I was frustrated and discouraged. A clandestine lunch with a friend lead to her suggesting the new avenue of self-publishing. Honestly I didn't even know how regular publishing worked let alone self-publishing. I was a bit 'old school' and didn't want to look into e-books....I love real hardcover/paperback books - the feel, smell, sound of the pages turning.
When I finally got word back from HC to resubmit using their new online form, I second-guessed long enough to start looking into self-publishing. Within weeks I'd researched so much that there was no doubt what path I needed to take. I never did resubmit to Harper Collins, instead I took fate into my own hands. Yes, there are pros and cons to both, but for me the path was clear. I took one step, then another, and never looked back.
In the last five years, I've lost my prejudice against e-books, so much so that it's now the main way I promote my books. Not to bore you with math but here's a breakdown on why....My books list for roughly $10 in paperback...it costs around $5 to have the book printed (I design the cover and upload a PDF, they just print and paste it all together)...then if I sell the books through Amazon and they take their cut...by time it's all said and done my royalties are $2 on that $10 book.
Now, I can sell the e-book for $2.99 directly to Amazon, I simply upload the cover image and the document. Because my book is priced at that rate I receive 70% royalties, so I walk away with just over $2 for that $2.99 book. Doing the math alone e-books are more profitable. Not to mention the reader doesn't need to wait for the book to ship! In the end, selling those $2.99 books may seem small, but I know authors who sell their books for 99 cents (only making 35%) and profit hundreds of thousands of dollars!!!!
Self-publishing isn't just uploading the material and calling it done, oh no sir! Self-publishing also includes promoting/marketing/social media maintanance. Usually this is done here on the blog or over at my FACEBOOK page, but during the summer I try to promote at craft shows or outdoor festivals. However, that means ordering bulks stock of all my books, setting up the booth, manning the booth for hours/days in the elements, and hulling everything across the county/state/region. so yes, e-book promoting is a lot less heavy lifting as well! Amazon also has great tools where I can run sales for my books so that is helpful. There are also several companies that offer to promote books via Twitter/Facebook/Blog blasts that have shown a little promise.
Yes, self-publishing is a lot more work than I ever imagined, but the pride I get from seeing my dreams in print far outweigh any stresses that come with it. At times, the stresses do intimidate me and I find myself stalling in the writing of a new book. Or I start writing more than one book, I allow myself to get distracted by things that shouldn't hold so much of my attention, I don't allow that 'creative' side of my brain to open up. Oh I could go on and on in the ways I don't let myself fully live my dream....or at least I did.
Lately I have been much better on letting those scenes come to mind and getting them on paper. The books are starting to take shape in my mind and on the pages again. Even as the words show up, I see other areas fall into place. I see the book covers coming to completion, I'm making a list of promoters to help me take my books to a whole new level of readership. Slowly and surely, things still move forward. As much as I have stayed stuck, the universe keeps putting things in my path that show me writing is still the passion I need to follow. And follow it I shall...