Trends in Self-Publishing and Promotion
The era of the “Indie Author” has arrived. Technology has provided the tools for the masses to become instant independent authors: self-publishers. This is a good thing, for those of us fed up with the deadly treadmill of submitting one manuscript a year for an exclusive look by a publishing house likely to pick one manuscript out of a thousand to support. It’s not so good, for those of us seeking exposure and recognition for our masterpiece in competition with the rest of the indie publishing masses wading into the sea of self-publication. A few big names like Russell Blake can rake in profits by cranking out 25 titles in 30 months (literally), but for the rest of the crowd the book of their sweat and tears is closer to a used lottery ticket than a holy grail. Nevertheless, the hope lives on and creativity will find its just rewards, given persistence and a commitment to give our talent its best chance to shine. (Enter editor, takes bow.)
Beware vanity presses in the guise of bona fide publishers. An old and dear friend of mine approached me wanting to get her memoir edited before sending to a self-publishing house offering various packages covering all aspects of the editing, publishing, distribution and promotion. The price tag? Pushing $5000. Here was my response:
“My quick take on [XYZ] Press is that it’s not the best way to spend your money, and not the only solution to getting into print. It’s not that difficult to get essentially the same results for much less investment by going the route of Amazon Kindle (for ebook) and CreateSpace (for print).”
Once you have a finished product – that is, with the copyediting and proofreading already done – as a self-publishing author you have control over (and responsibility for) your book’s design. In the next section I outline the basic requirements of manuscript layout, formatting and book design, which depend on your choice of outlet.