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Being in the Driver’s Seat in ‘Self’ or ‘Indie’ Publishing by a Techie Lame-o! Oh my!

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Hi! I’ve had a few friends curious about self-publishing ask me what it’s like to publish a book independently, so I’d like to share some of my experiences with you today. 

Around September, 2012, I was fortunate enough to have a manuscript, The King’s Vampire, published with a small press, Soul Mate Publishing, which is growing by leaps and bounds since that time. It’s a great organization with a wonderful publisher, editors, and writers. They are all incredible people always willing to share their experiences and expertise. Many authors have popped over and taken a few minutes to talk about their latest releases on my webpage, or they let me share my information on their blogs. When I published via a small press, they took care of the book cover, the editing of the book, and all publishing aspects at their cost, not mine. It was like I was driving and the GPS was on, and mom or dad was paying for the gas.

My book was published in March, 2013, and, as anybody who knows me realizes, this was my dream come true. For those who check out the e-books on Kindle or Nook, competition is fierce! But still, for me it is so worth it when somebody reads my book and tells me how much they enjoyed it. Writers want to tell stories and love when readers ‘get’ what the story is really about. The experiences and expertise of those other authors really came into play once I was published.

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In January, 2014, I decided I would take my book, Tenth Degree to the Paranormal, and publish it as an ‘indie’ or an independently published book because it is clearly not a romance, but rather a paranormal suspense with romantic elements. I chose not to submit to Soul Mate Publishing because I felt it wasn’t the right fit for them. I researched several self-publishing companies out there, and there are a lot! After talking to the different companies, I decided on Amazon’s own Create-A-Space. Then came the hard part. When the money is coming out of your own pocket, you are paying for the gas, and the GPS is off, getting in that driver’s seat is really a tough decision to make.

I felt I just had to make the commitment because this book took a long time to come to fruition, and I wanted it published, even though it isn’t an easy fit for the romance genre. This next part of my article is difficult for me to discuss because, as a child, I was taught it’s incredibly rude to discuss money matters, mine or anyone else’s. But to me, this is the crux of indie publishing and what anyone who has ever considered it is wondering about.

All right, deep breath, and here goes.

Now we get to the techie lame-o part, because for those people out there with a reasonable grasp of technology, they would not have to spend as much money as I did. The biggest cost is the editing. I do  happen to know a few people on F.B. who would never need this service, and they probably conjugate verbs in their sleep, but that isn’t me. The editing cost me $1923, and that was actually a great price in comparison to other editing services I had looked at. I loved this editor and he totally seemed to ‘get’ what I wanted to do with the book. I have to admit, I self-edit about twenty times beforehand so my copy is pretty clean, but I still need an outside voice to tell me when I’ve gone astray and someone who will polish up my grammar. Next biggest cost was the cover, which was $699. This is where a techie person might have been able to do their own cover, but once again, not me. I did get to provide the concept for my cover and loved how it turned out. The other publishing stuff involved interior format, market copy, E-book format, and Library of Congress number. All these things probably could have been done by a more techie person who would have saved a chunk of money, but I needed to rely on the technical expertise of Create-a-Space. The softbound copy is print-on-demand, which means that anyone could go into a Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or even a library, and they could order the book. It would probably take two to three days to receive an ordered book. That part amazes me, because the quality of the books are quite good.

Total cost of creating the book was about $3,330. It would have been cheaper if I’d just had it published only in e-book form, but I wanted both e-book and softcover. Yikes! It adds up. Also, I ‘ve done some promo activities that have crept into the cost, making it closer to $4,000. Holy, moly guacamole! That’s one expensive vacation I didn’t go on. I like to pretend we went to Las Vegas for a week! But in spite of the cost, I have to say that I received a professional-looking product from Create-a-Space, and I’m very proud of the high quality of Tenth Degree of the Paranormal, both inside and out. Being a techie lame-o, I found the publishing team extremely helpful when I got confused. All I had to do was click on the message center that I wanted them to call me, and they were right there on the phone. Am I glad that I self-published Tenth Degree of the Paranormal? Yes, I am, and I appreciate the professional quality of the book.

There are so many things to learn about indie publishing, and I’m sort of creeping up to it on baby cat-like feet. Awesomegang is a group that connects readers and writers, and they have some very useful tips on getting your work ‘out there’. http://www.bookdaily.com/ is another site where people can read samples of books that are out there, as well as giving writers the opportunity to present sample chapters of their books. Another great site is Book Buzz, http://bookbuzz.net/blog/paranormal-suspense-tenth-degree-of-the-paranormal/ where several of you were kind enough to pop over and respond to my book. There are so many ways out there for indie writers and book lovers to make connections and support one another, and I’m just starting to figure it all out.

At this moment some of you may be asking me, are you insane, why are you doing this??? The only answer I can give you is that I’m a writer, and that’s who I am. Below is a post from a friend of mine, Nancee, who had just read my book, and this type of comment is one of the main reasons why I write. It is the reaction from readers that every writer loves to get. Thank you, Nan! After I read her statement, I truly felt in the driver’s seat with my book. 

OMG I JUST GOT DONE READING THE TENTH DEGREE OF PARANORMAL AND I WAS SPELL BOUND BY THIS BOOK. AMAZING JOB WRITING AND KEEPING ME ON THE EDGE. I THOUGHT I HAD SOME OF IT FIGURED OUT AND BAMM BRENDA THREW IN A CURVE BALL !! IT WAS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME.  CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE !!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TALENT WITH ME !!  I AM HONORED TO CALL  YOU MY FRIEND !!!! – See more at: http://brendastinnett.com/?p=1847#comments

And then there’s also that wonderful moment when my husband bought me two dozen roses and a bottle of wine to celebrate my having two books now out in softbound, as well as my e-books. I would not have been brave enough to put my work out there, without his supportive love. With all these wonderful people like my husband Steve, my daughter Tiff, and my friends Nancee and Linda encouraging and supporting me in my efforts, it makes me want to keep writing. While self-publishing may not be for everybody, it was worthwhile for me to get a book out there that was important to me, and especially, at a quality level I could be proud of.

I’d just like to also say thank you to all those other friends and family who have been so kind and willing to give a shout-out for me when I’ve needed it, and I do appreciate it. May you all have happiness and joy to the tenth degree! I hope that if you are thinking about indie publishing, my post has made some aspects of doing it yourself a little clearer. One thing for certain, there’s a lot to learn about self-publishing.

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I hope this explains some of what’s involved in self-publishing and what makes writing so important a part of my life. This was a deeply personal article for me to post, but I hope you enjoyed it and it clarified some questions you may have had. Thanks for stopping by. Below is my buy link and my contact information if you’d like to stop by.

Bren

Buy Link:  Amazon  http://amzn.to/1sBlyyu

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrendaStinnett

Web Page:  http://brendastinnett.com

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/brendastinnett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17883146-the-king-s-vampire?from_search=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Being in the Driver’s Seat in ‘Self’ or ‘Indie’ Publishing by a Techie Lame-o! Oh my!”

  1. Rosemarie Kelly-Cunningham says:

    Hi Brenda,
    What a work of love and determination with all that went into your newest book
    “Tenth Degree of the Paranormal” I applaud you for all that went into putting your
    book out there. I often wondered how you accomplished it all and your post about
    what it is like to be an independent author and all it took to put it together is just
    amazing. Now, I can’t wait to read your book! It will be hard to top your first book,
    The King’s Vampire, but like good wine, the taste improves with each book.
    Congratulations, Brenda you are one awesome lady. God bless you and your labor of love.
    Love the flowers and wine from Steve. Sooo sweet, just like you.

  2. brendastinnett says:

    Thanks so much, Rosemarie. Your support has always meant so much to me. It’s weird, even though we’ve never had that much face-to-face contact, you’re friendship has always been a very important part of my life. Thanks again for all the kind words. And when it comes to strong ladies, you’re always my hero! Love, Bren

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