Monday, September 13, 2010

#1 Be Not Afraid

So I’ve decided to do a little fly-by-night, seat-of-my-pants list of stuff I feel people interested in self publishing should know. I’ll do them one at a time and try to keep them short. The point is to illustrate that it’s not as scary as you might think and it can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be.

First, I’ll do an about me in a nutshell. I write for several publishers, including Excessica. When I found Excessica I wondered how in the hell anyone was making any money if Selena was giving the writers their money. Allllllll their money. But slowly I followed along and saw the genius of what she was doing. Excessica went from that weird little publisher that I wrote for, to that stupendously brilliant publisher run by that phenomenally smart woman. My only question when the company moved to 10% off the top was ‘what took you so long?’

Somewhere in there, I decided to try my hand at self pubbing my own shorts here and there. Mostly reprints from one of my favorite places Ruthie’s Club (now defunct). Then later I got super brave and I tried my hand at a short antho. Now, what was once terrifying to me is not a huge deal.

The most important thing to remember is to not panic. Be not afraid! Yes, you will screw up. Yes, you will have to learn as you go. But if you are in this industry, you can’t jump overboard at one mistake. There will be typos, bad blurbage and questionable covers (dear lordy, yes). There will be things that do not upload properly or missing prices or instructions you do not understand at first. The thought of reading a style guide (a la Smashwords) will seem super daunting. But do. Not. Panic.

The bottom line is this: ask questions. You can Google things, buy short guides to self publishing, follow blogs such as this one. You can ask other writers and you can ask on group lists found on Yahoo! and various chat groups. But the most important of all is you can ask the vendors where you will be listing your work. You see that section labeled Help or Contact us? Click it! Ask them if you don’t understand or something won’t work. Because if you make money on their site, they make money. And it is in their best interest to aide you in getting your work up properly.

Of course, that’s assuming you’ve even gotten to the uploading stage. We haven’t even talked about the other stuff like naming your press, covers, editing, anthologies. But we will. Soon.

For now, start saying it: Om…om…There is nothing to fear. All you need is the willingness to learn and not give up. That’s step one. Intent.


1 comment:

  1. Funny, my husband made that same comment about the 10% - "What took you so long?!" I guess I really put my money where my mouth is when it comes to wanting authors to have as much of the profit from their work as humanly possible. THEY'RE they artists, after all. :)

    Great post, Sommer - it's really not as daunting or hard as it seems!