Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How I Fell Into Self Publishing or Blame It On The Titanic

I didn't actually set out to self publish. I had sold my first novella to Carina Press - a paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt - and was all caught up in the work of editing, learning the ropes of promo and getting better at navigating social media in late 2011, when I realized that 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. This become relevant because I had a completed science fiction adventure novel with romantic elements, which I'd set aside when Carina bought the Egyptian novella. And the book, WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM, was loosely based on Titanic, but set in the far future, in outer space.

Uh oh, sounds like a book that an author would definitely want to have out there in the world for Readers to discover during the 100th anniversary hoopla, doesn't it? Because the 101st anniversary of anything just doesn't command as much attention. At this point it was December 2011. There was literally no time  to submit the manuscript to anyone, not even Carina, much less to go through a publisher's editing and release process. So, self publishing is where I went!

I commissioned a cover from the wonderful Fiona Jayde, I had the book edited during January, formatted in late February and released in March of 2012. I put together my own small blog tour, did promo where I could, wrote LOTS of blogs about all aspects of Titanic...had terrific encouragement from Heather Massey at The Galaxy Express in particular, and along the way I discovered I really loved self publishing. I'm kind of a control freak by nature, I write fast and my Muse likes to pick and choose what stories to tell.

Don't get me wrong, I love Carina and they've been excellent to work with...but it's very satisfying to choose your own cover art and to get new books out on your schedule, rather than on the publisher's schedule.

PROs of self publishing in my opinion:

  • Total control of the book, from cover to edits to distribution
  • Ability to publish as often as I have a high quality product ready to offer the Readers. I'd hoped to get four books out this year (counting my second Carina book), only got three plus an audiobook of WRECK. I do have a day job. I learned a lot this year, about self publishing in general and about managing my "schedule of releases". Going to try for four new books released in 2014.
  • Advice and guidance from a wonderful community of other self published and/or hybrid authors. If you're even thinking of dipping a toe into self publishing, I recommend joining the Yahoo group established and moderated by Marie Force  - here's the link http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/selfpublish/info . She and many other authors share advice and information generously. I've learned SO much from the group...
  • Ability to write whatever story you want to tell (although you might not draw a large number of readers if no one else wanted to read the particular tale you've penned) and see it published.
  • It's a business. That works for me because I have a degree in business, plus years of experience in contracts, and all the many details of being your own publisher don't daunt me. But it is very different than having a publisher handling all the tracking, the copyrights, the ISBN's, formatting, uploading, pricing, Netgalley, pirates, whathaveyou. Some people love doing it all themselves, others not so much. The business deducts from your writing time...
  • I think there's a benefit to being part of a publisher's group of authors, especially if they cross promote each other or if the publisher does visible promo, or is well known. But that being said, you can find your own community in self publishing, as with the wonderful SFR Brigade we have here...
I'm sure others can add pros and cons to this list but those are at the top of my mind. I self published ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE, which also became an Amazon Best Seller in SFR, and the most recent paranormal, DANCER OF THE NILE. For now I'm firmly entrenched in the self publishing world and loving it. Never say never, I wouldn't mind being more of a hybrid author, but right now I'm concentrating on my own little "publishing empire" (don't I wish it was an empire LOL, more of a tenacious colony at the moment).

You can find me: Blog  @vscotttheauthor   Facebook

I'm happy to try to answer any questions about my experiences in self publishing and I'll check back on the comments after the day job!


  1. I'm a hybrid (traditionally pubbed and self-pubbed), too. I do like the control an author has with self-publishing. Best wishes.

  2. That's a great list of PROS and CONS. I like the idea of self publishing and control involved with that, but the marketing part is my problem. I've barely just started, though. :P

  3. Lots of great information. Thanks so much.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, glad we pretty much were in agreement about the control one has when self publishing and how nifty that is!

  5. Great list! I also love self-publishing. It's a lot of fun and perfect for a control freak like me ;) I'm also really excited to see the options expanding for self-published authors. There are more venues to choose from and more places we are welcome than a year ago. I can't wait to see what next year brings!


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