Georgie Binks is a successful journalist who took the plunge into self-publishing last year. She pointed out the work involved in publishing your own book:
“What I needed to get my head around was the fact that I was the publisher and had to do everything. So I got my own ISBN, hired two editors - actually worked with them over the years- and then hired a graphic designer to design my cover. From there I formatted the book, found a printer, Lightning Source, printed up 500 copies, organized my book launch and then organized book signings in Indigo and other book stores. That's all since last June. I also formatted it for Kobo and Kindle, made sure it was going to go up on Amazon, Indigo and Barnes Noble. Now that I know what I am doing I could do it all much faster.”
One question that many of our emerging and traditionally published writers had for Georgie during our event was, without that publisher behind us, how do we know when a book is ready for publication?
“My feeling is that a book is never ready,” Georgie wrote in her post, “but sooner or later you have to let it go. I review books for the Star and they are all professionally edited and published through traditional publishers and some of those could still use editing.”
Then comes promotion:
“Getting media attention is impossible … But many authors with traditional publishers have a difficult time getting any media attention. Tons of books come into the Toronto Star every week and only a handful are reviewed. The other challenge is that fiction writers have a heck of a time getting noticed these days at all. Publishers love someone with a 'platform' like say a Kevin O'Leary. They'll publish three of his books because he's on TV. Meanwhile Shakespeare never would have made it because no one knew who he was.”
Georgie points out that hand-to-hand sales are still so very important. “So far I have done 25 book signings at bookstores and sell between 15-24 books at a sitting. Selling directly to people works best for me.”
So why are so many authors choosing to self-publish these days? As Georgie said, “It is much more lucrative and you have all the control.”
For more on this topic, see Crystal Stranaghan's guest blog Self-Publishing 101.