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Kevin G Hare

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The Ability to Self-Publish

Seeing my writing in print was largely my drive for writing my book, Anderoth’ Dragon.  Fame and fortune, rags to riches – that was what it was all about for me. Then reality gave me a swift kick in the a$$. Poor editing, a weak story and transparent characters lead to an embarrassment and an unforgettable tweak in my learning curve.

I self –published through Trafford (Vancouver, B.C.), opted for their best marketing plan which included 40 copies for me personally, 4 posters for book-signings, 250 postcards and 250 bookmarks.  Also included were listings on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google.  Cost to me? About $2500 for Trafford and $500 to an editor who felt overwhelmed with the project, didn’t finish it but was still happy to take my money.  The retail price of the book was $20 and I think I still managed to sell about 100 of them to friends and family.

Self-publishing does work; don’t get discouraged.  I know another author in my hometown who used a local printer to put her book together and makes a comfortable living touring Canada to promote it.  Hers was non-fiction as mine was fantasy fiction;  I don’t think fiction is any harder to sell than non-fiction, it’s all about marketing to the right market.

 

Setting objectives

The reality of it is to attempt a marketing plan similar to the big players.  Plan where you can market and start advertising long before the projected due date; post flyers, sign up for some discussion forums, talk to people, get the word out any creative way you can think of.  Build a website, print some business cards, get involved in some discussion forums long before the book is released. The idea is to build up steam and awareness of your book so people can anticipate its release.  The internet is a great and cost effective medium for this type of promoting.  Nothing Binding (http://www.nothingbinding.com) was designed for just that purpose.  It is a place for new and established writers to mingle online and discuss their projects. Self-publishing houses like Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com), and Createspace (https://www.createspace.com) also have discussion boards on all things writing by people like you and me. There are also sites that will display your book like The SPAI Group (Self-Published Author Initiative) at http://spaigroup.com, Bookdoggie at http://www.bookdoggie.com, The Bogie Files at http://www.thebogiefiles.com, or fReado at http://www.freado.com.

That brings me to stage two of Anderoth’s Dragon. After doing some homework and some research, I rewrote it.  I made it bigger, I made it better and those who have read it are pleased.  I built and posted it on my own website and posted it on every discussion board and social networking I am involved with. I have also been asked about a sequel and to a new writer, that’s a great compliment!

On both versions, I did the whole book; 3D rendering programs, post-work done in Photoshop, Microsoft Word for the typing. I did the cover design, the layout for the book, the synopsis, the illustrations (on version 1), the works.  I saved everything as a .pdf and shipped it away to be printed.  Not everyone can do this but I have a good Dell computer and the programs to do the work – if I owned a press I probably would have done that too!

Again I self-published the new version, but this time I went with through Lulu.com and chose a package that best suited what I wanted.  No fancy marketing this time save for the time I spent on discussion boards and no added items like bookmarks and postcards.  The cost to me? $0.00.  I had a friend do the proofreading for me and she was happy to get a free, signed copy for her efforts.  The retail price of the book? $16.33 (originally) and I fit in a preview sample of my next book at the end.  That’s marketing - if I can sell enough copies, but that’s coming.  I am happy with that.  I am also much happier with this version of the book.

There are other companies out there like Xlibris who offer reasonably priced packages to print your book.  Look around to find a package that’s right for you and in your budget.  Unless you have the pocket cash to mass market and make a big hoopla about your book – you won’t be looking at fame and fortune any time soon.  A chance reading by an editor or producer would surely help but that which can happen to anyone, won’t happen to everyone.

I admit I will self-publish again.  For many of us no-name writers, it is a way for us to see our work in print.  If it doesn’t make us rich, it will make us happy.  And it gives us the control the publishing houses want to keep for themselves – the story, the characters, the movie rights or the action figure sales.      

Hmm – action figures...

Sometimes it’s not about writing the next bestseller, it’s using our home pc’s and laptops and all the programs they have to offer to create something that at least our friends and family can cherish.  It’s about seeing something through from start to finish and getting it out to the masses – even if it maintains a few imperfections.