One Author’s Thoughts on Self-Publishing
I am particularly proud to welcome Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban as a guest to Birth of a Novel.
Carmen was born in Galicia (Northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where she finished her Ph.D. in Biology. Always a passionate reader, she started writing after moving to Pennsylvania and graduating from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her first novel, Two Moon Princess (Tanglewood Press) a coming of age story in a parallel medieval Spain, was a finalist for the 2015 Latino Books into Movies Awards. She is also the author of the paranormal romance, Immortal Love. Today (July 25, 2016) is the release date of her latest novel, The King in the Stone.
She has some interesting thoughts to share on the state of publishing today.
Thank you, Sandy and good morning all,
For many reasons, some of which I explain below, almost ten years separate the publication of my YA fantasy, Two Moon Princess in 2007 and the launching of its sequel, The King in the Stone, this July.
Writing is a lonely and difficult endeavor. Publishing, a long and windy road. That’s why I am so glad to have friends like Sandy, who have listened to my multiple ramblings and encouraged me along the way. Thank you so much, Sandy for being my inspiration, and also for giving me the opportunity to post here today.
My Reasons to Self-publishing:
If you have a book ready for publication and are tired of the wall of silence that swallows your queries, you may want to take control and self-publish your work.
You will not be alone.
As more and more writers, from first timers to bestselling authors, choose this path, the stigma once attached to this process has all but disappeared. To be a self-published writer, Indie author by other name, is now ‘cool’.
The reasons for this revolution in the publishing industry are many, but, I believe, the advent of the ebook was the determining factor for its success. Authors don’t need to print physical books and store them in their houses anymore, plus, publishing platforms (such as Kindle Direct Publishing, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) have made the process so simple, anybody can do it.
People write for many reasons. But I can only think of two reasons why they would wish to publish their work: validation and money.
Only new writers may be naïve enough to believe that a Traditional Publishing House will help them achieve both.
A quick look at the best seller lists will confirm my claim that not all books published by a Traditional Publishing House are well written. Publishing is a business, books are products. It’s their marketability, not their quality the decisive factor on whether a book will be published. Getting published traditionally per se will not give your book a quality seal of approval.
As for the money, apart from the millionaire deals we read about in the news, most advances are small and most books never sell enough for the author’s royalties to kick on, so that the advance is what most writers will ever receive.
Self publishing, on the other hand, can also provide praise and validation to an author (think letter from fans, reader’s reviews …), and a way to make money. Self-published authors don’t receive advances and must invest on an editor/proofreader and book designer to get their book ready, but the percent they get per book sold is higher.
Every author’s journey to publication is different. Mine started the old-fashioned way. I published my first young adult fantasy, Two Moon Princess, with Tanglewood Press, a traditional publisher, in 2007.
Two years later, Tanglewood Press agreed to publish my second novel, The King in the Stone, but, eventually, the deal fell through. At the time I had an agent, Ginger Knowlton, VP at Curtis Brown, who sent my manuscript to the main publishing houses. Although many editors wrote positive comments about my manuscript, they all agree they couldn’t publish it because it was a sequel.
So, in a way, the decision to self publish The King in the Stone was made for me. But as I did my homework and learned more and more abut the process, I came to appreciate its many advantages, especially the total freedom it allows. I believe Tanglewood Press’s choice of cover and its decision to market Two Moon Princess as a middle grade title, against my wishes, had a lot to do with its missing its target audience. This time, as a self-published author, I’ve had total control to create my own title, cover design, and book trailer.
Another great advantage of self-publishing is that the time lapse between the moment your book is finished (final draft + professional editing & proofreading) and the launching date is much shorter.
To give you an idea:
I had been querying for over a year by the time, Tanglewood Press signed Two Moon Princess. It took another year and a half for the book to be available.
On the other hand, only seven months have passed between my decision to self-publish The King in the Stone and its launching date of July 25.
There is a third alternative to get your manuscript published. I am referring to the many small epublishers that have appeared in the last few years. I call them epublishers because, although they also publish print on demand books, their main revenue comes from ebooks sales.
I used an epublisher for my paranormal romance, Immortal Love, the story of my adventures looking for an agent. But although my experience was positive in many ways, the fact that these epublishers don’t give an advance and take a high percent of every sale, doesn’t make them, in my opinion, a profitable choice for authors.
Right now, for me, and, alas, for thousands of other writers, self-publishing is, by far, the better choice.
Thanks, Carmen, for sharing your experience with us.
Links to Carmen’s books:
Two Moon Princess – http://amzn.to/2a40p3t
Immortal Love – http://amzn.to/2a5RVmo
The King in the Stone – http://amzn.to/2aEhQ6M