Saturday, October 27, 2012

Self-Publishing: A Growing Trend

I follow Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers' Marketplace blog, which recently posted about triple-digit growth in self-publishing since 2007.

Check out the full article here.

Two initial thoughts crossed my mind as I saw the statistics.

Go Self-Publishing!
Cleary, more people are breaking away from traditional publishing options and doing it themselves. (Interestingly, CreateSpace claimed the top spot for self-published print media at 58,412 titles in 2011.)
I found these statistics encouraging. More and more, I am becoming a fan of people brave enough to break away from “the way we’ve always done things” into being more independent and personally responsible for pursuing their dreams. Traditional publishing houses have made themselves virtually inaccessible to upstarting authors, using screening services to find book proposals they find interesting.
Granted, these services, such as Christian Manuscript Submissions and the Writer’s Edge, can be helpful in providing advice and exposure to aspiring authors (and a select few do have their books discovered through these services). Before self-publishing my first book, I submitted a proposal to Writer’s Edge and did not find the exercise a waste of my time.
However, that’s not my point. My point is that statistics like these show people have discovered that they can get published on their own – instead of waiting and hoping that the traditional publishing community will take notice of their work.
More Competition
I believe competition is healthy and necessary in any field. It helps screen out the poor performers and forces thought-leaders to work harder to stand out from the crowd.
Therein also lies the challenge of self-publishing. You may have something brilliant to say, but how do you differentiate yourself when hundreds, if not thousands, of people are shouting to get noticed?
I don’t pretend to have the answer to that question, but I think Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-Conformity) is right when he says that you must first clearly identify your cause and your intended audience – and then give them a reason to care and a reward for caring.
How we accomplish that is for each one of us to decide.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Amazon's CreateSpace: A Flexible Self-Publishing Solution

When I self-published Wings of the Dawn Book 1, I worked with Xulon Press, a Christian Self-Publishing Company. If you're considering self-publishing for the first time, I would recommend including Xulon in your list of publishing options. Xulon provides clearly defined services (based on your budget and expectations) and structures the process for you from beginning to end.

As I finalized my second book, I considered publishing with Xulon again but decided to try something different. With the experience of my first book in my back pocket, I wanted to see if I could self-publish at a reduced cost and with greater flexibility.
By flexibility, I mean more control – and ultimately, more responsibility – for my interior and cover design. With Xulon, I purchased their plan, shared some design ideas, and their graphic artists created my cover for me. Granted, I've received some great feedback on my first cover but knew that my second was going to require a great deal more customization.
A friend of mine is a graphic artist, and the two of us worked together to make my cover vision a reality. Yes, there is a story behind my second book’s cover, which I’ll share with you another time.
I heard about Amazon’s CreateSpace publishing services through a Facebook friend and started researching it in detail after she shared her positive experience.  CreateSpace offers a variety of self-publishing options (which at first can seem overwhelming but ultimately lets you pick and choose exactly what you want).
For example, CreateSpace offers the following options for self-publishing books. (Note that they also have resources for musicians and other artists as well.)
·         Publishing Solutions (packaged plans)
·         Editing (if you need professional proofreading services)
·         Layout & Design (for interior and cover services)
·         Marketing
The Layout & Design option essentially lets you create your own custom plan, which is what I wanted. For my interior, I selected the Author’s Advantage Book Interior, which involved uploading my manuscript and selecting basic formatting preferences. Then, with the help of my graphic artist, I submitted my cover PDF.

Last weekend, I uploaded some edits and as of today, am waiting to receive my second hard copy proof in the mail. Once approved, Wings of the Dawn Book 2, Secrets Beyond Lake Winona’s Shore will become available on (likely later this month or next).

What about you? Have you self-published in the past, and if so, what programs have you used? Or, if you’re looking to self-publish for the first time, what is most important to you as you look for the right program?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book 2: Coming Soon!

I apologize in advance for neglecting my blog.

But I do have a good excuse, well, as good an excuse as any. The second book in my Wings of the Dawn series, Secrets Beyond Lake Winona's Shore, is in the final proofing stage; and if all goes as planned, will be available for sale on either later this month or early next.

For the last several weeks, I have spent most of my spare time proofreading and proofreading and proofreading.

But that's not what readers care about, so I'll get off my "I've been working really hard" soapbox.

What is book 2 about?

Abby has just ended her summer internship with her detective Uncle Rick Benton - the job that got off to such a rough start in book 1. She's looking ahead to her freshman year of college when her brothers and their friends Matt and Andrew Baxter surprise Abby and the Marshall sisters with plans for a week's vacation on Lake Winona in the lakes region of New Hampshire.

Yet she no sooner arrives in New Hampshire than her uncle leaves her an unsettling voicemail, and Abby is torn between telling the truth about his suspicions to her brothers and friends - and not wanting to worry them.

She stumbles upon a mysterious old letter and suddenly finds herself face to face with her nemesis Neil DeWitt, entangled in a mystery surrounding a Cold War diary, a missing dossier and a kidnapped treasure hunter.

Can Abby solve the scrambled clues before time runs out? Beyond that, can she find the courage to confront her dilemmas and begin to forgive the one who has wronged her? What weighs in the balance is worth more than even the secrets that lie somewhere beyond Lake Winona's shore.

How did I go about self-publishing book 2?

We'll talk about that in another post.