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Different Roads To Publication: Self-publishing

The first part in our Different Roads to Publication series touches on a very hot topic in today's writing world: self-publishing. With the growing popularity of e-books and print on demand packages, some writers are foregoing the traditional route by taking their career into their own hands. But what does it take to be successful with self-publishing? Is it the right move for you? Those are questions each writer ultimately must decide for themselves. But if you've ever wondered what self-publishing entails, we've got Rebecca Rogers here to give us an inside look!

What made you decide on the self-publishing route?

After two years of searching for an agent, and receiving a few close calls (to no benefit), I almost gave up on the idea of anyone ever reading my work.

Almost.

When I noticed a couple of my fellow writers had taken the self-publishing route, it was like a light bulb began to glow over my head. Why can’t I self-publish? Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be? Am I really ready to fling my work into the worldwide nether to get torn to bits by readers?

The answer was yes, I am ready.

Even though many readers may hate my stories, be disgusted with my writing, or even tell me I should just give up, I don’t do it for them; I do it for me. And I’m very, very proud of my characters and stories. So proud, in fact, that I’m more than happy to share with people from one corner of the globe to the other. ;)

Tell us a little about the process. How do you turn
your document into something ready and available for your readers?

A few months ago, if you had asked this question, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I had absolutely no idea how much time goes into creating a book for the general public. (Hint: It’s a lot.)

First and foremost would be the formatting. I convert my Word documents to HTML and then upload them onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the e-readers (Kindle and NOOK). The actual paperback copies available on Amazon use .pdf files, and are uploaded in the same way. I’m able to choose what price I want to sell my books (I like to keep them cheap!) and what the target audience is. Also, I need a blurb and a cover. Definitely these last two, as they are what readers look for most.

I know a lot of fellow indie authors who employ graphic designers to create their covers, but I design my own. I’m already in school for graphic design and have the tools at my fingertips (mainly Photoshop). Plus, my artistic side absolutely loves this. For me, it’s an escape, and I’m all about escapes (reading, writing, gaming).

Once these tasks are complete, the process of approving the documents and launching them online takes between 24-48 hours; longer for Amazon, though, who also has Amazon UK and Amazon Germany. Voila! My book is available for the world to read. Now, I have to sit back. Relax. Think happy thoughts. Oh, and have chocolate ready. :)


From your experience, what would you consider the pros and the cons of self-publishing?

There are a lot more pros than cons, in my opinion. You’re able to control everything—your royalties, what your book looks like, how much promoting is involved. You don’t have to be pressured by deadlines, or worry whether your story will change drastically in the hands of your agent and/or editor (I know some people who fret over this). You’re pretty much free to do what you want, how you want.

One of the main cons is how people view you as a self-published author. I know a lot of people tend to look down upon those who don’t follow the traditional route, and they go into reading an indie book with the idea that it totally sucks. While there can be spelling/grammar errors (this happens with traditional publishers, too), I think the main thing is to read with an open mind, and for the story. With all books, not just indies. I’ve read both sides, and both have books I’m not fond of. But both also have books I absolutely adore. Personally, I treat all books as equals. They’re all out there for one purpose and one only: To entertain readers.


In the end, I believe you have to listen to your heart. Mine chose to travel this road in hopes that, eventually, I’ll be playing with the big dogs and have a book (or ten) published the traditional way. But right now I’m having too much fun!

Rebecca's books, Silver Moon and Under the Stars are available in paperback or kindle format on Amazon.com.

Thanks Rebecca!

Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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18 comments:

  1. I'm a new self-publisher, and control is the biggest plus for me. Because I feel more in control of the process, I have a lot less anxiety about my books being out there in the world than I did when my agent was subbing my work to editors.

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  2. This was a really interesting interview. I was wondering how that process was like. Not that I'm a writer but I was curious.






    - MARY [ ANXIRIUM | GIVEAWAY ]

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  3. A very interesting entry! Thanks Rebecca! (I've seen a lot of authors who consider themselves artists and design their own covers with varying success, but yours truly look nice. ;) )

    I've not even finished my novel and never tried sending any manuscript to a publisher yet, but I'm already thinking about self-publishing. In my case, I want to write romance in French, a genre which doesn't exist in the francophone publishing world. So it's not like there are many other choices anyway... If you want to change things, sometimes you've got to take chances!

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  4. BIG THANKS to Amanda and the YA Highway crew for this interview. You guys ROCK! :D <33

    Robyn - I like the control aspect, too. Mainly because it's stress-free as far as deadlines go. I like having the ability to write at my leisure. :)

    Mary - I always wondered what it was like, as well. Before April of this year, I knew nothing about how it worked. It has definitely been an eye-opener.

    asiamorela - Thank you for your kind words! :) If I spent so much time writing a book, why not go the extra mile to make the cover look great, right? ;) And I agree with you about taking chances. Sometimes you just never know what'll happen until you try.

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  5. Great interview! I'm always interested to hear feedback from self-published authors as to what their experience has been like. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  6. I'm self-published too and I love the control you have. I didn't know you could put self-pubbed paperbacks on Amazon, mine are just Kindle - I'll have to do that! This was helpful to read, thank you, because it can feel a bit lonely.

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  7. Thanks, Ava! :)

    A.J. - I publish my paperbacks through CreateSpace, as it's partnered with Amazon. Makes it easier if you already publish for Kindle. :)

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  8. Power to the people, Becca! Good things in store for you, I'm sure of it.

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  9. YAYAYAYAYAY BECCA!!! hugs and kisses and BIG BIG congrats to you. You are a brave, brave woman and it has paid off for you! woot!

    xoxo

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  10. Thanks so much, Marilee! :D

    Awww thanks, Mel! :) *hugs*

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  11. I checked out your books on Amazon and they sound really good. Are they available for download on the Nook?

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  12. Thanks, June! Yes, they are both available for Nook. :)

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  13. This is awesome! I've just finished my first MS and the publishing process seems so daunting and constricted. I'm so eager to explore this avenue! :)

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  14. I always give this advice to those self-publishing: hire a freelance editor as part of your process. So many writers are completely unaware of the errors that lurk in their novels. Formatting is excellent, but professional editing shouldn't be skipped.

    Some readers won't care about errors, while others will turn the book away immediately at the hint of sloppiness, just like an acquisitions editor would.

    I give this advice not only as a copy editor, but as one of those readers. Like I said, though, many writers are simply unaware that their work needs to be polished. My advice is to contact a few freelancers and ask them for free samples. That'll allow you to gauge whether you should *really* seek editing or whether a knowledgeable friend can just read through your book for basic proofreading.

    Anyway, now that I'm done admonishing, I really like those covers. ;) Also, I wonder if I can spin this comment into a blog post. Ha!

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  15. As a YA writer about to publish their adult novel, I applaud Becca's courage and her ability to make her dreams come true!! The times, they are a changin'!!

    Go Bex!!

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  16. I am still at a cross road. I have a completed book and Im torn. The control is what is selling me the most on self publishing.

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  17. andimjulie - It's a fun avenue to explore. ;)

    Lauren - Thanks for the cover love! :D I think the pros vs. cons of using a freelance editor would make a great blog post! I'm lucky enough to have beta readers who won't hesitate to rip my manuscripts apart.

    Krista - *welcomes adult manuscript with open arms into Self-Publishing World* :)

    Read my books - Control is the best aspect, in my opinion, of self-publishing. I would research both sides (traditional and self-pub) before making a decision, though. It can be a tough call to make. I know a lot of people who like to query their books and then, if that doesn't work out, they self-pub.

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  18. I love this post! I found a kindred spirit in this author, writing, reading, Photoshop and gaming. I'm a closet geek. I used a POD company (Infinity Publishing) to publish my book. The Elementals: Fire. I knew nothing about writing when I started this crazy project, but have since learned a lot from my editor. I created, with the help of both my editor and the cover designer at Infinity Publishing, my own cover. I had so much fun doing so. You are so right about the stigma of Self publishing. I think if you sufficiently edit and work with a cover designer, you can create a work every bit as professional as a traditional publishing house. Thank you so much for this post!

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Item Reviewed: Different Roads To Publication: Self-publishing Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah