Deciding to self-publish my first novel “The Art of Love” wasn’t really a tough choice for me. Having seen the publishing world change so drastically over the past year or so, and self-publishing becoming a legitimate power player in the game instead of a sneered at side-show, I knew that I wanted to give it a go. It was as much an experiment as it was anything else.
The first thing I did was drag my friend Megan of Book Brats into the proceedings. She’s a book blogger and knows the industry better than anyone else I know. She helped me to organize myself and come up with a neat, structured plan of how to get things going. Without her, I would have ended up curled up in a ball rocking back and forth as I mumbled something about the world ending.
I would never dare to claim I’m an expert in this industry (holy crap I really am just a panicking amateur) so I feel odd offering any kind of advice. But there are some things you can do to make sure you get the most out of the experience.
If you’re going to self-publish your work, you need to put your back into it. It’s not as easy as writing a story then clicking a “publish” button. You need plans, promo, editing, formatting and a total lack of shame towards self-promotion. I would also suggest having some details on DMCA orders because piracy is an ass (within 24 hours of my book going live, someone had pirated it and over 300 people had illegally downloaded it. Don’t stand for it).
I don’t think you should have to pay tons of money to get your work out there – one of the things I love about self-publishing is that it frees up the market to everyone regardless of background – but that’s a decision every author has to make on their own. Do what’s right for you in terms of promo, be it giveaways, interviews, sneak peeks or something a little wilder. Don’t feel as if you need to go into debt to create your book.
I was really lucky to have great friends who can design covers, edit and format but not everyone is so fortunate. Editing is one area where you just can’t hope to get lucky. Being self-published is no excuse for sloppiness. You’re still asking people to pay for your work so don’t let bad spelling and grammar slip through the cracks. If you don’t want to pay for an editor (although honestly, I would really consider doing this) then get several brutally honest friends to look through it and spot all your errors. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is just what you need.
I could not have done any of this without bloggers and my blog-tour. I was so lucky to find a strong and varied group of blogs to take part in the tour, all of whom were extremely generous and honest, which I really appreciated. Without bloggers, we’re all nothing because they have more power than ever before thanks to self-publishing. Research different blogs and know your audience. But don’t try to interfere with their blogging processes. Just let them do their job. You don’t want to be that annoying author who won’t shut up. Then again, I may be that author and just not know it. Hmm…
Whatever happens with my book, I’m glad I self-published it. The experience was exhausting and I screamed at my computer more than once, but I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve learned a lot about myself and met a lot of great people. Even if my book never sells another copy, it’ll all have been worth it.
But seriously, you should read my book. By buying it legally at all good online retailers.
You can find Anne at her blog or on Twitter: @annewhitney_
(Available for $2.99)
Synopsis: Marina Phillips has spent her entire life as her father’s victim. But enough is enough. All it took was one moment of realization to send her fleeing across the country into the unknown of New York City with no plans and no money. A new life without the constant torture is all she wants, but what she finds waiting is something she never expected.
Fitz is New York’s premiere playboy artist. Sexy, tattooed, and coveted by women and men alike, his performances are heralded as the coming of a new god of modern art. But when Marina wanders into his show, she becomes the inadvertent piece he’s always waited for – a girl to sculpt, to change, and to craft in his own image.
She never expects to fall head over heels into the world of parties, drag queens, agents, and artists craving for her and her benefactor. She didn’t even expect to begin falling in love with someone like Fitz, the sexy, pretentious man of her nightmares.
Above all, Marina never expects her father to stage a cross-country mission to paint her as a kidnapped girl taken by a psychopath.