Self-Publishing vs. Publishing – Ellen Cardona
Writers are often faced with the decision now to self-publish or land an agent, who finds a publisher, or just find a publisher on their own. For my book, Brownie Fix, I landed a publisher, which turned into a complete nightmare.
You know those red flags that you hear about when divorced people talk about their former spouses, well think of the relationship between a writer and a publisher as a marriage. Oh boy, did I have red flags. Oh yeah, I ignored them.
I’m pretty loyal, and I tried to stay loyal and in the writer/publisher relationship even when the publisher started to take over the book and insert her voice in every single page. I remember she told that my book was her baby. Red Flag.
What she didn’t know was that when she took over my book and when I basically became her copy editor, correcting her grammar mistakes, I finally got pushed to the point of developing a backbone. I took back my voice and deleted the majority of her stuff. Out of complete rage, I was driven to make my book better. I noticed that I had dropped some strings and connected them, and I changed some scenes to bring the book into focus. Out of complete rage, I became a better writer.
She backed off, and I thought all would be well. It was the calm before the storm.
What I didn’t know was that she didn’t have a clue on how to publish a book, soft copy and ebook. She was basically using the same tools as any self-published writer would use. I remained loyal and tried to send her articles after articles on how to format the soft copy and how to format ebooks, but in the process, I started learning how to publish, and she didn’t.
The end result was that I let her go and self-published Brownie Fix. The first draft that was released had typographical errors, which completely shocked me. It was because two people had been writing Brownie Fix, and I had spent most of my time trying to get rid of the publisher’s voice that I did not see the errors. I finally found a very good copy editor.
The hardest part of self-publishing is the marketing. I had to learn marketing. I established a blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, website, but that was not enough. That’s only the tip of iceberg. As a writer, you have to sell yourself and get out there. You have to put yourself out there for appearances with book clubs, social clubs, and anywhere you can sell your book. It’s been a learning process, a huge learning process.
For my next book, Raven’s Return, I’m on the shelf on whether I want to self-publish again. I already have a cover artist, a copy editor, and publishing tools, plus I have an online presence and an audience. What’s putting me on the shelf is the marketing.
If I do decide to go the traditional route with an agent and a publisher, then I won’t ignore the red flags because I won’t be desperate for a publisher. I know that I’ll be all right self-publishing, too.
Raven’s Return is due out in the fall, which means December for me because I’m always two months behind me deadline. I’ll be finishing up my edits by the end of July and forwarding the manuscript to my copy editor and test readers, while the artwork is being completed.
I guess I’ll have to make a decision at that time what route to choose. Whatever way I go, I’m wiser with all the lessons I’ve learned. That’s good. I’ll take it.