With the release of From the Loft, I have self-published four works. Each provided lessons that have helped improve the process, beginning with the writing and travelling the entire road to marketing. I still have much to learn, but I am in a position now to relay knowledge gained to aspiring indie publishers. After all, to learn and to share are two reasons why I entered the indie writing realm.
At a recent display / signing at the #FranklinArtScene in @DwtnFranklinTN, a man probably about ten years younger than I paused at the book display table, picked up a copy of one of my novels, scanned it, and proceeded to ask about the plot. Excited at a possible sale, I proudly recited the same story summary I have said many times before. My anticipation of financial gain muted as I realized from his change in facial contour that the genre, or perhaps just my representation of such, did not appeal to his taste. Yet he continued to ask more questions, not about the content but rather the creation of the work. With a bit of my ego restored, I relayed my journey from the beginning of the self-publishing process. After a few more minutes of pleasant conversation, he thanked me and wished me luck.
The book remained, my financial stature did not change, yet I, and I hope he, gained from the conversation. Perhaps he was one like many of us who has the dream of writing a novel, who has a burning story within that he wants to express, and that I might have ignited a spark in him to drive forward. I remember when that happened to me. Several years earlier a colleague casually remarked at a social event that the company he worked for, Ingram, was about to launch a major upgrade to their indie author publishing service, Ingram Spark. I too had the dream of becoming a published novelist, having penned an 80,000 work of beauty (to me). However, the traditional path of query letters to publishers and agents had produced little response. I saw Ingram Spark as a possible venue for realizing my dream.
Self-publishing is not easy, particularly when one performs all of the actions. Just creating an eBook file, for example, can cause frustration (see my earlier post PlayOrder does not equal 1-Huh?). Roadblocks are (hopefully) eventually conquered, and with each another tidbit is learned. When I advise other aspiring indie authors, I stress that often the writing is the easiest component of book creation. I think that often such revelation is disappointing, until I point out that there are services that will do all of the post-writing work (editing, cover design, ISBN procurement, and so on). The disappointed look returns when I mention the estimated costs of such services.
Nothing in life is free, and if it is cheap, usually the product will also not meet quality expectations – you really do get what you pay for. I never discourage anyone from paying for services for economics, but for me I maintain complete control over the entire process because I strive to put forth finished products that are 100% my creation. I believe that some other indie writers feel the same, but do not know where to begin. Such is the primary reason I blog about my lessons learned and offer individualized indie publishing consulting services.
As with writing, my motivation is not monetary. I want to pass on the limited but growing knowledge I’ve gained, to pay it forward in a way. I gain great satisfaction in the hopes that perhaps I can help another achieve their dream of publishing a book. Perhaps someday in the near future the man who asked me a few questions at the art scene will join me again, but on the other side of the table, proudly displaying his creation.