After all the research and indecision I chose to go with Amazon for my first book. The Obeahman’s Dagger went live on Kindle books yesterday evening, June 14, 2015. The most important considerations were the simplicity of the process and the flexibility it offered.
As far as I can tell e-book sales are primary market for the genre but a print edition will expand the market in some very obvious ways. There are still some holdouts who will not read an e-book; bookstores are still doing business selling print book (real books?); people still crowd libraries and consume the books they shelve and then, there is the matter of holding my book, in my hands, and marveling at its existence.
Amazon’s CreateSpace was a big factor in my decision because it offered print-on-demand alongside the Kindle e-book and again, with a fairly simple and painless publishing process. I thought of my venture as a two-step operation with the publication of the e-book as step one.
Some backstory: I’ve always maintained an opposition to self-publishing, a position that was rooted in my view of the antediluvian vanity presses. With the invention of e-publishing I reconsidered that assessment; self-publishing has morphed into a new protocol for achieving authorship.
Now, instead of spending years knocking on doors, you spend months swimming in the gestational swamp of e-books while the agents and publishers watch and wait. There are some important differences between this and the old system, mostly involving the way the money is generated and distributed. But for the writer, everything works out pretty much the same as it always did.
Less than 1% of self-published writers make a professional, six-figure income. Eighty percent will earn about $1K/year. I’m thinking that’s slightly better than the old days, when the losers got absolutely nothing; now you’ll at least get some loose change for all your blood-sweat-and-tears work.
That’s how I think of what I’m doing – the idea here is to not spend a dime on the publishing process. That principle is foundational to my method of self-publishing. It’s risky business and it requires a lot of hard work.
For example, I could not afford to hire a professional artist for my cover so I put it together myself, using free software and images that I produced myself, or found in the public domain. I’m sorta proud of how that turned out, but I’m not a graphic artist and the learning curve was steep, just in the technical aspects. (Comments solicited – tough, fair and objective please.)
The biggest risk was my decision to not pay for editorial services. Against all advice, I relied on the skill and objectivity of myself and my three young children to read the manuscript and correct typos and grammar. We’ll see how that works out, though I’ve hedged my bet a bit. Here’s how.
That first step I talked about as part of my two-step process, well that’s where I’m putting my manuscript out for public comment. Once it’s through that stage, I can make any corrections and adjustments before entering the second phase – the print edition, with CreateSpace.
I imagine that I’m being pretty clever here but as the old folks say, “Monkey don’t see his own tail.” Maybe I’ll end up with bullet fragments in my foot.