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More Lessons from a Friend: My Experience So Far: Indie Publisher vs. Self-Publishing

More Lessons from a Friend: My Experience So Far: Indie Publisher vs. Self-Publishing

As I noted in our last post, Kathy Lynn Harris and I go way back. But I think it’s how we kept ourselves moving forward that really mattered; encouraging one another through the good times of our individual writing careers and regrettably — the bad. I’m celebrating right along with Kathy on the publication of her novel, Blue Straggler. Here she shares more of her experience finding an independent publisher for her novel after first striking out on her own. — Michelle Cameron, TWC Associate Director.

In my first guest post, I wrote about how the decision to self-publish eventually led to a publishing contract with a small, independent press. In fact, Blue Straggler was officially released this week in paperback! Exciting times for this writer who has waited more than 10 years for this moment.

Working with my publisher, 30 Day Books in Seattle, has been a wonderful experience so far. I’ve had input into the book cover (We decided to keep it the same as the ebook.), the contract and profit-sharing arrangement (a splendid 50/50 split), the release date (March 1), and our publicity plans. (Did I mention I need a clone?)

There have been a few factors that have taken some adjustment. First, I’ve had to relinquish a bit of control, and trust someone else to love my work as much as I do. That’s not as easy as it may sound when you’re a complete control freak like me.

For instance, while my publisher kindly consulted with me on the paperback’s pricing, it was ultimately not my decision, of course. The publisher knows how Amazon and traditional bookstores work — and understands the discounting process that will likely take place after the book is on the streets.

Also, with my ebook, I had complete control over proofing and making subsequent changes. Now, I have to trust that my publisher gets it right and that my changes are eventually made as I envisioned them.

My publisher is outstanding at publicity and promotional ideas – and has plenty of them! The plan includes everything from blog tours and media interviews, to book signings and social networking goals, to contacting reviewers and media and book discussion groups. It’s a great plan, and I’m sure it’ll generate a large amount of buzz on a small budget. But a majority of the publicity work requires a close-knit relationship between me and my laptop. I’ve had to learn to break down our substantial promotional plan into smaller chunks, so that I don’t get overwhelmed with all that is expected of me.

The publisher also hopes to “brand” me, building a certain image of who I am as an author, which I know is great business sense. But it’s difficult for someone like me, a feisty Texas girl at heart, who would really rather hide away in my log cabin in the mountains and not actually have any attention focused on me.

A commenter on my last post asked if I’d seek out self-publishing again. The short answer is yes, absolutely. I felt freedom, pride and accomplishment from my self-published ebook.

But the long answer is that having an indie publisher believe in and back my work still carries a certain legitimacy that self-publishing does not have, at least not yet. Bookstores and libraries are more open to purchasing copies. The publisher has contacts and channels I do not. They know how to get my book into distribution processes that I had no idea even existed as a self-published author.

And in the end, all of that will hopefully move the book-sale meter a good deal farther than I could have alone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave other questions about self-publishing or working with an indie publisher? Post them here, or please feel free to contact me at kathy [at] kathylynnharris.com.

Read more from Kathy on her blog. Add Blue Straggler to your Goodreads Shelf. Follow Kathy on Twitter (@KathyLynnHarris) and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BlueStragglerFiction.

Blue Straggler is available for purchase via Amazon:

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