I’m Done! Now What?: Self-Publishing
Well, yippee for me–I finally finished editing that one novel. Now it’s on to the next step: publication. I’ve identified three different routes writers can take when it comes to publication, and I will cover the others in the next couple posts. Today, however, I’m going to focus on the one I have the most experience with and the one I’m choosing to do right now with this novel (Mostly Human).
Some writers cringe at the thought of lowering themselves to that level, but other writers swear by it, and it has come a long way in the past few years. Thanks to the Internet, there are now many different options available for helping you get your book to print, step by step. I’ve been self-publishing books for several years now and have found it not only fun, but encouraging–there’s nothing like holding a hard copy of your own book to prove to yourself that yes, you can write, and you are a writer.
Sorry, but self-publishing won’t make you the next J. K. Rowling. Just saying.
On my resources page you can see several self-publishing options that I’ve listed for reference. I’ve used both Lulu and Createspace, and I must recommend the latter because of both its simplicity and the quality of the results. Before I jump right in, there are some things about self-publishing that you should know before making the decision to self-publish by yourself. First, your book will not sell unless you’re advertising it. Just making it available won’t go anywhere, so don’t expect to become a rich and famous author because of your new book.
Another thing you should know is that self-publishing can be a long and complicated process. Even with the simplified process that Createspace has, you will have to fit your book to the correct precincts and edit your cover to perfection. After you submit, Amazon will review it for a day and then send it back to you with revisions. It can be frustrating and often takes longer than anticipated, but the reward will be worth the wait in the end.
That being said, here’s what I’ve learned from the process and what you can expect. You will be walked through every step of the way, so there’s no need to worry about using any fancy software or needing specific computer skills. Just fill out the forms, write your description, design your cover, and upload your file and it will be good to go. The cover-creator available is an especially nice surprise: even without any artistic skills, there are many different cover designs to choose from and many different ways to personalize them. Your book will look unique and professional, and you can be sure that it will look fabulous on your shelf.
It is a good idea to order a proof copy for yourself to review before making it available to order. Createspace has digital proofs available so you don’t need to worry about costs, though if you can afford a hard copy, you probably should get it. There are often mistakes in the layout and odd typos that you wouldn’t catch while scanning through a pdf or Word document.
You won’t get a free copy of your book (unless you won NaNoWriMo and earned some as a result). Fortunately, you do have a say on your pricing and can buy a book at a low cost. When it arrives and you see your own name printed on the cover, you will feel a euphoria at the beauty of your perfect book… and it will be well worth all the time and effort you put into it.
Stay tuned for my next couple articles on getting actually-seriously-published-for-real and on publication by winning competitions. There are lots of ways to go about getting your book out there!