You live in a time when you have to choice to be anyone you'd like to be, anyone at all. We no longer require the jumps, hoops, and politics of other people's games to make our dreams become a reality. This is for publishing, both a curse and a blessing. In my opinion, it is better than it is detrimental.
While anyone can publish a book, with little skill or experience, leaving our market over saturated with low quality pieces of work, this is also our great opportunity. You don't need a lot of money or to hunt down all the literary agents and receive 19 rejection letters before your book hits the market. The barriers are gone. Anyone can publish a book.
I didn't want to self-publish. I believed for a while that it was less-than when compared to traditional publisher publishing. And so I started that route. That way, I could say that I had a publisher and I was a published Author WITH a publishing company. For some reason, I had fallen ill to the old stigma. So then, what changed?
I watched my money slip away to pay for middle man services, getting screwed over by an industry I didn't know well, doing all the work to build a name for myself, and arguing with myself over the validity of processes, payments, and control. Publishing quickly because too costly, with too many obstacles, and too little fun.
Eventually, I became fed up with someone else controlling my dreams, tried filing for an EIN at 11:15pm (they don't let you. my guess is that they're assuming you've been drinking and are acting on a whim and shouldn't be making IRS involved decisions. If that's all true, they were right. But I filed the next morning) and I opened my own publishing company: Dreambuilt Books.
But this isn't all about me. You're clearly thinking about publishing. And really, the longer I've been doing this whole published Author thing, the more I learn that so many people dream to do this. Like, more people than I could have guessed. So the big question you can here to find out is, what are the few things I should know about self-publishing?
1- You will need to research the sites for it, identify who fits you best. I started with CreateSpace but am switching to IngramSpark. My primary reason for starting with CS was the free title setup. My reason for switching is the lower expanded distribution price that I can offer to bookstores I'm trying to do business with. Know what your goal is and research the hell out of your options, there are so many!
2- It will still be a costly endeavor. To publish my children's books, I pay the following costs before it ever hits the market:
.... Illustrator Fees, Marketing Fees, ISBN, and Bar Code. The cheapest I've ever manage this is $325
After you get it to market, costs are incurred through events, supplies, hard copies, and marketing. Don't expect to get rich quick. To do that, go join a health supplement pyramid scheme.
3- If you're going solo for real, study up on how much you think you'll be spending and what liberties you want. You can write it all off as a Hobby Tax Write Off or you can go the route of an EIN and LLC formation and do a schedule C. Both have their benefits, but that's a whole separate entry. The idea is, identify your status your going to assume with the IRS
4- You are your only advocate, so be protective of your work, your money, and your reputation. Research your gigs, your partners and your processes. Market the image you want people to know and work at it daily. People aren't going to just find you; you have to build your audience and nourish your relationship with it.
5- You will need help. You can't do it all and you've assumed full responsibility for making every step happen. Lean on those who have done it. Take the support from family and friends and don't be prideful. It's a lot of work to make it all happen. It's doable, but made easier with support.
I know there is more, but that's for another day. Each can easily be broken down further and if you stick with me, I'll continue to hash it out with you. But the main take-aways are these:
Do your Research.
Advocate for you work.
Come prepared to work.
You can be a published Author.
I'm not here to tell you that you're guaranteed success, primarily because I'm still looking for mine, but also because your will to make your dreams your reality will drive you the most. But don't ever say it isn't possible. More than ever in our world, the barriers between you and this goal are nothing more than your own mindset.
So get to it.
Don't forget to follow the blog for updates as I keep learning. And follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter: @dreambuiltbooks