Self publishing in not for the faint of heart.
I have self published my work for many years;
When you self publish, you become, in essence and in reality: a "publishing company". We are Ochre Moon Press and are responsible for the writing, illustration, editing, layout, the acquiring of a GREAT book manufacturer AND forking over the dough to bring all to fruition; as well as the book promotion, advertising, sales and distribution.
Finishing the writing and artwork for a book is a big deal.. but it is hardly the end of the line. After putting away the paints and brushes, the next step is scanning all the illustrations and then color correcting all the art once it has been scanned; because the computer will change the colors you so painstakingly applied stroke by stroke with a paintbrush.. There will be at least 2 weeks of editing and rewrites and more editing on your manuscript. You must acquire ISBN numbers, bar-codes, copyright and Library of Congress information IF you wish to sell your books to Libraries and Bookstores. When you think all has been tweaked to perfection, the gathered files are sent to a trusted layout person (you have hired), who also requires your direction and will, hopefully, pick up on any mistakes you've missed, which will need to be corrected again and again. (We are lucky to have an excellent layout guy who fixes my miscalculations and boo boos.) Then all his corrected files will go to the Book manufacturer, who sends you blue-lines and proofs and once again you see that your colors ( that you painstakingly applied, stroke by stroke with a paintbrush) have once again Mysteriously changed ... this process requires nerves of steel and a good deal of patience from the artist...me.
Not until your are ready to accept the final proofs and you give the thumbs up to the printers, do the presses roll. You say a prayer that all goes well at press. Then the big day arrives as Fed Ex pulls into your drive with 5 advance copies of YOUR book. This part always drives me nuts.. what if I don't like them? What if the colors are all screwed up? What if I made a major grammatical error? What if, what if? what if???!! I grit my teeth and open the package. I'd better like it, because they've already printed 3000 to 5000 copies. Hopefully I will say,"Oh thank God! my book is beautiful!" I will dearly love it and hug it to my chest. I will walk on clouds all day long and gleefully head off to the bank to transfer the BALANCE DUE on books which will be shipped from Hong Kong to our "doorstep". Our 3000 books must travel in a cargo ship to a port in L.A .where they are loaded into a truck to make the trip cross country to a little loading dock at our local COOP in Tennessee. So we wait a bit longer and cross fingers that the ship doesn't sink and the trucker is a teetotaler and a safe driver.
(Dimity crosses her tiny pink fingers, too, as she is anxious to see herself immortalized in print)
This latest truck-load will make 50,000 books that we have printed thus far. It's a long process, a lot of stress and a lot of money and there are times we contemplate just chucking all the extra work and going with a mainstream publisher.. then I think again. I am free to work at my own pace, I am free of deadlines and pressure to "hurry it up!" I am free to choose the size, the style, the paper, the length, the title and the subject of my books. I have years of experience in selling my own work and a professional attitude toward independent publishing . I like that.
As one book reviewer told me, "Self published books are the worst of the worst and the best of the best". (I was relieved that he liked my books....whew!) It's true that many self-published books are less than perfect, but I've seen countless mediocre books put out by Traditional publishers and been bewildered at why they were printed at all. There has been, in the past, a disagreeable rift amongst Mainstream Versus INDEPENDENT publishing, usually on the side of those who publish in the traditional way. Realize, that MANY who self publish do so by CHOICE and not because they couldn't get a heads-up from a traditional publisher. Where there once was a stigma attached to self-publishing, there is now a more generous view. I know of several mainstream published authors who have now chosen to go independent. As things now stand, we prefer to Self-publish on Purpose... although it is more aptly described as "Independent Publishing".. because that is exactly what it is!
Just as soon as I receive those 5 advance copies, and I can tell you that "all is well", I will begin to take pre-orders on my website. I will provide a link from this blog. We expect our full load of books to arrive in late November, in time for Christmas.
Then I will have cause to celebrate! Hurray for books!