Still sorting through the uncharted waters of the book world, there are still so many things that I still have yet to learn, and things I am coming to learn each day. Everything is a challenge, but one that continues to excite and push me to become more educated within the field.
When I decided to self-publish, the thought never crossed my mind that the title “self-published author” would present itself to some as such a large scarlet letter on my garments. I perceived it as more of an experience, and quite the cool one might I add. The thought of creating something, then bringing it to life in the physical form as something that I could proudly add to my bookshelf was too irresistible to resist. This project started nine years ago – three out of the nine were what I like to call the “dark years” where I wrote absolutely nothing. I’d brainstormed, obsessed, nit-picked and practically drove myself nuts with this. It consumed me, springing ideas into my mind at random hours of the day and night. I’d invested so much of my time and heart into it. Why not see it through to completion? I must confess that fear held me back more than I would have liked it to, but the positive feedback I received from friends was too strong to ignore.
I’ve never been the type to do something with a dip-my-foot-in attitude. It’s always been go big or go home. I decided to put everything I had into it and if I was destined for failure, I could always say that I at least tried. So I set off full speed ahead, researching everything that self-publishing had to offer, and came up with the following pros and cons.
I had the freedom to have full reign on the formatting, graphics, size, fonts, everything! The graphic artist in me was literally salivating at the mouth.
With the site I had in mind (lulu.com), I had access to a wide distribution channel of popular book sites and retailers.
I could customize my distribution and choose which sites I wanted out of the list provided.
I could set my own pricing. Sure, there would be commissions that would have to be paid out, but it wasn’t so bad.
I could be in control of all marketing.
Should I decide to do a paperback, a print-on-demand option was provided to me.
The list seemed pretty legit. So, I had to weigh out what in my mind was the only major con: marketing. There was no help. It was all me. If I wanted the Oleah Chronicles to gain momentum, get followers, sales, etc., I had to be the one to do it. Lucky for me, I’ve been in the advertising and marketing industry for more than ten years. It was a challenge I accepted with open arms.
It’s been about four years now that the Oleah Chronicles went live and the thing I’ve come to discover more and more is that there is still this stigma that tends to associate itself with self-published authors. A good amount of book bloggers, reviewers and even some other authors don’t take you or your work seriously. You are a pariah. Ouch! There have been countless times I’ve gone to submit my story on various sites and within their policies lie that one dreadful – and usually bolded – statement.
Cue in dramatic music please! * WE DO NOT ACCEPT SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS! *
Womp, womp! It’s understandable to a certain degree I suppose. There are many who enter into this world with the intention to get rich, become the next big thing! If Paris Hilton could release a book, why couldn’t they, right? Well, already being a minority, I can relate to the stereotypes that tend to associate with a group based on a bunch of bad apples. However, these closed doors actually drive me to push that much harder. This industry is not for the faint-hearted, but for those that are willing to put in the work – for a while … a long while – in order to see the fruits of their labour blossom.
For any writers/authors out there looking to self-publish I say this to you. Don’t give up. Do your homework and make sure you’re ready for a long-distance run. We all would love overnight success, but the reality is that if you want something, you have to go out and get it. If this is your passion, your drive, the very reason your heart beats, then don’t give up. There are so many helpful support groups out there for emerging writers and authors as well as so many informative reads that can help make the transition more fluid.
In the words of Maya Angelou: “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
You got this.