And so I needed to become educated on what self-publishing was all about.
One of my resources, the owner of the book store on Martha’s Vineyard, Dawn Braasch, had advised me not to go the self-publishing route if I could help it, and her words had stuck with me. But that was over a year ago and, as I was soon to learn, the publishing industry in general has changed considerably, and the entire concept of self-publishing has taken hold for both new authors, as well as for previously published authors. I searched the internet and I read article upon article and downloaded tons of information. There was so much to learn and so much information out there. However, the most important thing that a self-published author must understand is what “self-publishing” really means, and one should not to be diverted by the myriad of companies who want your business and want to do it all for you and get you published–for a price. I did learn that difference and I quickly understood that it would take a huge investment of time (and some money) to accomplish what I wanted to, in the way that I wanted to. As a result of my research I found Brian Judd and SPANNet. I joined and I started getting his emails and his book marketing newsletter. I was becoming educated.
When my manuscript was finished (although I kept editing all the time), and I thought that I was ready to publish, I knew that I needed a cover. I have a wonderful nephew, Matt Migdal, who is adept at creating websites and so much else, and who, I felt, would be able to help me come up with a suitable cover using photographs, etc. We exchanged a few emails, but the timing was wrong for him and I was losing time. I joined one of Brian Judd’s webinar which was all about book cover design. I was introduced to Michelle DeFillipo of 1106 Design in Phoenix, Arizona. The webinar was extremely informative to me and I came to understand the importance of a great cover created by a professional designer. I communicated with Michelle and soon I made the decision to contract with her for several things. She has written a very fine little book about self-publishing, which became very instrumental to me in making my decision as to just what tasks I would have 1106 Design help me with. Ultimately I settled on: cover design, interior layout, proof reading, and ebook conversion. All of that cost me about $3000, but the handholding and the help along the way was exceptional. She led me through the process of establishing my publishing company as an LLC in the state of Florida; establishing an account with CreateSpace (in order to appear on Amazon); establishing an account with Lightning Source, a Print on Demand (POD) company, from which I will order books as needed. There is quite a lot to it and the uninitiated must guard against being swayed by the companies that tell you that you can do it all yourself (with a little help from them.) You really need to do it ALL yourself.
As I began this process–learning every day–and got started, first with the cover design and then followed by the other tasks, I continued to become informed through the internet and investigating other sites. We sent Michelle a package of photos and they provided us with a proof of their cover design. We loved it! We showed it to several friends and they loved it too. We were on our way.
The process has been a long one with lots of stops and starts and time lapses that were unavoidable. Shortly after we had gotten started on the project of getting my memoir to publication, I learned that my ex-husband was in final stage liver disease, and my daughter became his chief caregiver. She learned that his life expectancy was going to be relatively short and in December she asked me to fly up to Providence, RI, to be with her for a few days to provide the support she needed then and would need in the following months. I made three trips up north and stayed with her for eleven days in February until he passed away. It was sad and hard for everyone. I tried to stay focused on my book, but it sort of took a back seat for a while.
Then we started moving quickly with the interior layout, proofing, etc. and at that point I found another resource that became my bible–Guy Kawasaki’s book “APE–Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.” There it was in one place–everything that I had learned on my own from hundreds of resources–in a single publication. I wholeheartedly recommend it. And, everyone following this path to self-publication must learn that you have to become a publisher and entrepreneur in the final analysis, if you truly want to become successful. The writing, or the author part, is the easiest! It’s the “what happens now?” after the book is published that makes it all worth it.
After lots of angst and back and forths, endless proofreading, my memoir is a real book. It is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle version and we are starting the very arduous process of marketing it. Everything that I have done in preparation for that; i.e. my FaceBook book page, my blog, my posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, building websites, joining self-publishing and writing groups, etc., is paying off, in that I have established a framework to continue with my marketing. Press releases and reaching out to many other channels will soon follow. It is a full time job!
It has been fun. It has been rewarding. And it has given me a new career path. The feedback we continue to get is so positive and we are beginning to sell books!
So for anyone who has the inclination, I say, “Go for it!” It’s an interesting journey.