Busting 3 Self-Publishing Myths

I am pleased and excited to be presenting to you a friend and author, Sharon Wildwind. Sharon is the Calgary author of Dreams that Blister Sleep: A Nurse in Vietnam, and the Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Vietnam Veterans Mystery Series. 

Sharon also teaches writing workshops and provides on-line writing consults.

 It’s no longer a question of if a writer will self-publish, but when in their career will they self-publish. Unfortunately, too many writers come to self-publishing believing three big myths. Sharon is going to bust those myths, and offer some realistic hope instead. 

Contact Sharon Wildwind through

Self-publishing myths and realities

 Myths of self-publishing:

  • Self-publishing is better than traditional publishing.
  • Self-publishing is a do-it-yourself activity.
  • A major publisher is likely to pick up a self-published book.

Reality #1: Self-publishing is different from traditional publishing

Publishing is a long-term game that requires talent, hard work, and a touch of obsessive compulsiveness. Writing is an art; publishing, no matter how it’s done, is a business.

There is no better or worse comparison between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Each has it’s merits and downfalls. What’s most important is that we, as authors, keep ourselves up to date on what’s happening in self publishing. The site I’ve found most helpful is the blog curation site Alltop. [http://alltop.com/] Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Alltop and set up a free account.
  2. Blogs can be searched by topic or alphabetically. I recommend checking out Publishing. There will be tons of blogs about self-publishing and digital publishing.
  3. Pick a few blogs to audition and move them into your My Alltop page.
  4. Follow those blogs for a couple of weeks. Delete the ones that you’re not finding helpful and replace them with other blogs to audition.
  5. Repeat until you’ve built a key list of 3 to 5 blogs that will help you keep up to date on what you want to know about publishing.

 Reality #2: Self-Publishing is not Do-it-yourself Publishing

When we choose to self publish, we are going head to head with the big boys and girls. Everything about our book has to be professional. Do-it-ourselves editing, graphic design, formatting, publishing, and distribution will not keep us in the game.

  • We need beta readers.
  • We need to hire professional editors; graphic designers to create our covers; and formatters, who make the book look good in a variety of formats.
  • We need help planning and carrying out our marketing campaign, focusing heavily on the professional use of social media.
  • Plan to spend $5,000 to $20,000 per self-published book for all the paid services.

~ Jodi McIssac, When Words Collide, Calgary, 2014 August and Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welsh, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. Nononina Press. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-98852-310-4.

 Reality #3: Becoming a Best Seller

Legend #1: The Shack

William P. Young wrote The Shack as a family Christmas gift. When every publisher turned Young down, he formed a publishing company. Word-of-mouth and a web site turned the book into a New York Times best-seller.

The omitted details:

  • A co-publisher maxed out 12 personal credit cards to fund the company.
  • The company depended heavily on hundreds of churches and Christian-oriented radio, websites, and blogs to do free publicity and hand-selling.

Legend #2: The Lace Reader

Brunonia Barry self-published The Lace Reader, which became a local success story in Salem, Massachusetts, where Barry lived and the setting for the book. It got rave reviews in major publications, and  picked it up.

The omitted details:

  • She took eight years to write the book, including professional editing, and focus groups to guide what should be in the book.
  • She had a 20 year history in theater and as a script doctor in Hollywood. Used her Hollywood connections to generate interest.
  • Her husband’s day job was helped people start their own businesses.
  • The start-up cost for their publishing company was $50,000.
  • The company hired a copy editor, jacket designer, and book publicist.

Legend #3: Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. L. James wrote fan fiction based on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. She later pulled the book from the Twilight fan site, rewrote the story, substituting her own characters, and published as an e-book and print on demand in 2011. The next year Vintage Books acquired the rights and the book became the hottest best seller of the decade.

The omitted details

  • Her husband was a successful UK screenwriter. He critiqued everything she wrote.
  • She was a television producer for the UK company Shooting Stars.
  • The fan fic posting on the Twilight web site garnered 37,000 reader reviews and comments. This is a case of being in the right place at the right time. She was able to tie into an established, highly successful web site, that had a readily available audience. Even before she published she had built a fan base of over 30,000 people.
  • She hired Valerie Hoskins, a reputable literary agency in the UK, to negotiate all publishing deals.

Hope for our publishing futures

Should we self-publish? Absolutely. The publishing world has tipped. It is no longer a question if an author should self-publish, but when she will do so. As smart business people who know our books deserve the best, it’s up to us to know as much as we can about self-publishing and to leave the myths behind, substituting a good knowledge base and a desire to profit all we can from what’s already arrived in publishing.

Diaries Can Be a Wonderful Resource for Authors

20140923_234604942_iOSMore than 10 years ago my aunt promised me her diaries when she died. Two years ago she passed away and I got all her precious little diaries – eight in total. They date back to 1968 up to 2005.

My aunt was the youngest of five children, and she was the last to die. She outlived her brother and three sisters, and before she died at the age of 91 she had managed to share much of her life stories with me.

Diaries are a wonderful resource when writing your novel. Sometimes it is the smallest fact that can add that spark of life to your story. In my aunts diaries I love reading about how she is always gardening and cooking and baking, and I have been able to add that bit of authenticity to my story as well in my characters love of gardening and her kitchen.

 

 

 

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