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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guest Post by Author Patti Larsen on Self Publishing

So many aspiring authors ask themselves if the self-publishing is a way to go to start their writing career. While I don't have any opinion or great knowledge on this subject, my friend and author, Patti Larsen, has a little experience with self-publishing because she has been there and done that. So, I asked her to do a guest post and share some of her experience with me and my blog readers. If you want to find more information on Patti or her books, please visit her blog and her books.


The Great Experiment by Patti Larsen


I’ve fumbled around in the publishing world for years, trying to understand the ins and outs of the industry and process. This is the first time I was willing to do my homework and test out all of the options.


So, while I waited on several novels to be picked up, I decided to try self-publishing. I’m the type of person who wants to know how everything works from the inside out and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to do so. I had two books that made the rounds with agents. I knew despite the rejections that both were well written and had great merit. They presented the prefect opportunity for my experiment.


My experience broke down into the following:


Pros: I got to do it all myself. This was a heck of a great time, I have to say. I used Lulu.com as my POD (print on demand) publisher as well as Smashwords to distribute through as ebooks. Both are fantastic resources if you decide to self-publish. Neither charges fees, unless you decide you want to pay for one of their editing or design packages (Lulu only) and you get to set your own price. They provide ISPN numbers (think barcodes) for your work.You have total control over your content. I designed both covers myself by purchasing (for cheap) stock photos online and using a very simple graphics program to fancy it up. Once everything was ready, I downloaded, checked the copy for format errors and had it for sale all in one day.


Cons: I had to do it all myself. It’s a lot of prep. I highly recommend you have your work professionally edited (which costs money) to assure you’re putting out the best possible product. And the formatting for some of the readers (Kindle, Nook, iPad) is tricky and needs a great deal of patience. If you’re not creative artistically you may want to have someone do your cover and interior design. Plus, you’re on your own for marketing. Mind you, not many publishers are able to afford much marketing anyway, but you are just another pretty face in a vast ocean of pretty faces (there are about 175,000 books published EVERY YEAR), without only your name behind you.


Since my experiment, I’ve sold two books to traditional publishers—one a small press and the other a digital press focused on ebooks. In my experience, I prefer the traditional publishing model. I enjoyed my foray into self-publishing and learned a great deal, but I found I was spending more time designing, formatting, marketing and networking than I was writing. And while I know I’ll still be doing some of the above no matter what, having a publisher to edit and package my work takes some of the pressure off.


Will I ever self-publish again? Of course I will. But for now, I’m enjoying this new experience of having some of the work done for me.


Although I have so many questions about self-publishing, I didn't want to get in too deep here. There are great websites and forums out there that are very informative and educational. I just wanted to hear someone's actual experience with it and their opinions on the subject. I hope you found this post did just that. Patti's a great writer and mentor. You can follow her on twitter.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me! It's a hard decision all writers should take a look at--and everyone should try at least once. It certainly gives you an appreciation for the publishing process-and I failed to mention the print versions from Lulu are fantastic.

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