Back before Curious Corvid existed, I decided to self-publish. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where to even start. It was an exciting, fast paced action story – or at least that is how it felt.
Now that I have come out the other side and turned it into a full-fledged business, I am not too proud to say I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, most because I just didn’t know any better. Research is important and as you go, you will see that every self-published person has their own personal preference. It’s a matter of taking what you do know, navigating what you don’t know and kind of blending it all together into something that works for your journey.
In the spirit of community and personal growth, I would like to share with you some things I have learned in my writing journey. I am still learning and probably always will be, but that’s the beauty of it all. Things will never get old!
“Write for the right reasons – ie yourself.” - Kerry Wilkinson
Before self-publishing, I did investigate traditional publishing. That is what writers do, yes? We, emblazoned with the fire of a pen (or handy cell phone notepad), write a piece so stirring that it will melt a hole in the publisher’s desk.
Or at least, that is how I felt. My first run in with a publishing company was a vanity press. I would have been sucked in had it not been for a lengthy article on pending lawsuits I stumbled across on Google. Vanity presses are not created equal but a key tell of a vanity press is ‘packages’ you are required to buy in order to publish your book.
These can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Vanity presses offer special marketing and expertise that make it sound like a real steal. But there are some downsides.
Many writers starting out cannot afford that kind of investment. In traditional publishing, the company invests in your book upfront without a cost to the author and that is why you receive royalties. Depending on what you are writing, it can take the author a long time to make back their initial investment making it harder to keep publishing books.
Vanity presses may not always specialize in a genre or theme. This means that they likely publish a huge variety of books making it harder for you to reach your target audience. I’ve seen some vanity presses that publish everything from cookbooks to fantasy fiction!
Always be thorough in your research for publishers. Vanity or not, presses are not created equal and they should have the goods to back up their promises. Your press should reflect your aesthetic or genre and be as passionate about your project as you are.
“For a long time now, self-publishing has been dismissed as an act of vanity – mainly by frightened executives in publishing houses, who hold up terrible examples of self-published works and say ‘See? This is why we exist.’” - Hugh Howey
As for tr