To (self-)publish or not to (self-)publish….

(Wikipedia photo)

I finally made it past the programs and other materials I’ve been working on all March. And I managed to squeak over the finish line in a class I took on self-publishing.

I’ve grown up imagining seeing my books on the library shelf. “The” library was always the one in my home town, the one where I spent a lot of my spare time as a kid, the one where I got my first job.

But my first full time job — at my hometown newspaper — conditioned me to expect to hear presses run minutes after the last story landed on the last page. Not an ideal expectation for someone seeking a traditional book publishing experience, where the day you type “the end” can be years before the day you open the box with the finished copies of the book from the publisher.

I know more than most, I suppose, about the printing process. I even took a printing class when I was in college. I loved setting type and working hand-fed presses. But that’s another story.

I’ve waited so long to devote time to writing fiction, that I have my doubts about being able to wait patiently for that traditional book publishing cycle. And I haven’t even looked for an agent yet (although I’ve had a couple encourage me to send them something when I finish the book).

So, the class in self-publishing was led by Jim Jackson, a past president and past member of the Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter. The Guppies are “the great unpublished,” although the name is a misnomer since many members stay in the chapter after they’re published, sharing what they’ve learned with the rest of us who haven’t reached that lofty stage yet.

Jim taught a great class on revisions last year. It was intense, but amazingly organized and detailed. I loved it.

When I heard he was teaching one on self-publishing, I new it, too, would be well-planned, well-researched and, well, amazing. I figured it would be the ideal way to get all the facts so I could make a good decision about whether to keep trying for a traditional contract or just go it alone.

I haven’t made my final decision yet, but I do feel well-prepared to make it in the next few months.

I’ll keep you posted.


Tips for self-publishing

Do you want to write to make money? Is writing your hobby? Or are you interested in publishing one book, perhaps a memoir to give to family members? If you’ve decided self-publishing is your best option, regardless of your long-term goals, consider these tips from Ryan Lanz.

How to Tell Which Self-Publishing Company is Right For You | A Writer’s Path.

Just smashing

Self-publishing used to be called “vanity press” because some people who couldn’t interest a traditional publisher were thought to be feeding their egos by paying to have their books printed. It’s still true that some people rush forward without editing or rewrites, but, more and more, independent authors do take care to put out their best work. Smashwords has helped a lot of people release their books. Here’s an interview with its founder.

London Book Fair 2015: Self-Publishing Smashes Through