Self-Publishing Using Amazon's CreateSpace
Self Publishing Anyone?
When someone says that they are a freelance writer, and that they are working towards publishing a book, what does that tell you? Most people know that I write, but most people have not gone too far into what I do beyond hubpages. I have been with hubpages for less time than my writing blog-- which I am pleased to say will be up and running for three years in July. I also self-publish books.
This blog has been around to the point that many have suggested that I go and self-publish my blog as a book. I suppose I could do that one day, but I can say this I have had many and varied adventures in the publishing industry. Some are rather, sad and some are rather funny.
In fact, I have self-published a book, it is no longer available, and I've recently gone back and read it... as some person who would like to think I am a writer wants me to self-publish it again. Still in my self-publishing adventures, I am going to give a few pointers.
A File? What The Heck?
When one wants to self-publish my one suggestion is go out and buy several hundred file folders. Yes, several hundred, that or lose your mind trying to find a new print out for your soon to be self-published book.
Have files of places you have contact for publishing your book. have files for your edits, and have files for brain storms you have at 3 in the morning. (note: self-published books are best done if you write during the day, better still in the morning.)
The reason I have files is that otherwise I could argue I have binders full of edits and information. I try to edit my chapters beforehand. I also have an editor to do this, and they are very good at what they do, they allow me to improve my writing.
I would say that files are also good for organization, and I have found this has helped me in my goal to self-publish another book this year. My editor must love me-- or at least might think I am organized.
It has made a huge time saving difference as I label my file according to date so it look something like this: MMDDYYY. This is a simple way to know which edits I have done recently, or which plans I will follow. The one with the most recent date is looked at.
What About Making Money By Publishing a Book?
Don't be fooled into "marketing." The biggest mistake I made was spending a lot on marketing a poorly written book. Okay, it was paid for, but the point is that most people would have sooner read something better than that! (I mentioned a person's name five or six times... in one paragraph.) They did pay good money for a book which most of our budget was spent on creating bookmarks, and posters and postcards.
This is fun, but does not help the process of publishing a book. The key to note was we got an "editor" who worked for free and who pretty much used a spell check. The point is that without a good editor you will find yourself not only getting bad reviews but less sales.
Fortunately I refused to go to a vanity press (think AthourHouse or IUniverse), but I did use a local printer for purposes of binding the book. These days I use CreateSpace, but still this is all a learning curve.
Personally, this time around I am working with a professional editor, and paying money for them to make my book better, and helping me learn from my mistakes. Publishing a book is easy but I would say I am prouder of this book because of my choice to spend my money on an editor. My editor is key to publishing more books and seeing more success.
As for marketing, well it is needed, but I have found that I can print out some pretty good bookmarks and posters myself for less expense. The key to this self-publishing adventure is that I know what works in terms of marketing and that really means having a great book with a decant cover. Most of this new book is non-fiction so a cover can be put together on the computer and downloaded from there.
Help From Friends.. And Other Adventures
I love my friends, I love my family. There is one thing I do not love: their help. I mean of course you need readers, but for heavens sake do not go with a family member. I faced that challenge.
In fact it was while writing this book I found out that my mother, my mother!, of all people had wanted to write when she was younger. This explained a lot of her very critical eyes. She was almost toxic. I have learned to listen to somethings she says, but I also have learned that it is perhaps best not to show her my writing until I am done and my editor has edited my work.
As for my friends, they are either too busy to read and offer suggestions in a reasonable time frame, or they are writing book of their own. This means that really I am self-publishing my work.
As for my ISBN, for some of my work, and I use CreateSpace, I use their ISBN and for other I use my own. This is important in some ways, but not as important as other things in my mind. I live in Canada so to get an ISBN you have to jump trough more "hoops" to get a prefix, and a number, but in the end it is worth it.
My friends are in debate of Kindle or paper-bound, and if I listened to too much of that, I would never get my book published! In my mindI would say that you will need to have both options and not only one. Some people love reading their e-books, whereas others are die hard paper-bound books.
Will You Consider Self-Publishing a Book?
So would i only self-publish books? Should you self-publish a book?
I don't know I am not one to say I will traditionally publish or self-publish- or at least only use one to publish a book. I think I will try to do both in the end, I believe I do have a long writing career ahead of me. It is important to at least try do both things. I also believe that self-publishing does have a place in this world.
If you have a niche market, where you might not see many sales, then having a self-published book might be the way to go, you can get more people reading it and more people wanting to read it than making money much later with the traditionally publishing means-- if they take that book at all.
So do traditional publishers. That being said, if you look around, there are more bankruptcies there, and there is more of a chance that it will take a long time to get things done with a traditional publisher. It is not a free place anymore, as many authors have said that they are paying out of pocket for certain items (a hotel room or food on a book tour or an extra editor.)
Self-publishing and traditional publishing are not so different when a writer thinks about it. An author needs to be actively involved in the process for both types or their book will fail. Having learned a few lessons, I know that it does mean you spend you money wisely. It is after all an adventure.