Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Self-Published on Purpose

                       Self publishing in not for the faint of heart.
   I have self published my work for many years;
       my lithographs,

                                               my greeting cards,


 and when I wrote and illustrated my first book in 2006, it seemed only natural for me to self publish it as well. After doing our research on the subject, we, (James and I ), determined that after all the work I had put into my book project, I was not about to settle for a profit of $1 per book, a possible change of my book title and the loss of independence  that Self-publishing  allows. Besides, I am very stubborn. I can't believe we've been selling our books for nearly 8 years now; it seems like only yesterday I was doing my first book signing at a local bookstore where only 4 people showed up! Fortunately, that has changed a bit.

  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!


  1. It does sound like a great commitment and hard work,yet it sounds like you do what you love and your life is more of what you like it to be. Not everyone can say that. What beautiful creations all your hard work and talent brings forth .

  2. Dear Jeri - I think it is amazing not only all you do to write and illustrate your books but the work that goes into this independent publishing. I just can imagine how nerve wracking it would be while you make certain all is well. Thanks for sharing more of your process. Have a delightful day - I will be looking up hoping all goes well.

  3. Jeri and James, I am so excited for you both. What more can I say.....
    Looking forward to seeing you both at The Country Living Faire this weekend. Bring warm clothes, fall has arrived in Atlanta,
    Lvu Deborah Rogers Mercy

    1. See you Deborah! I have my leggings packed!

  4. What a great post about your independent publishing. It is good that you love what you are doing, and choose to do it your way.

    Your work is so lovely and intricate and your stories delightful.

    Happy Autumn ~ FlowerLady

  5. How nerve wracking and splendid all in one swoop. You are amazing and so, so fortunate to have a man who is right there with you in the good of life. Blessings on you and your work......Oma Linda

  6. Having worked for both a big publisher and also a small local independent, I take my hat off to you. Publishing is a massive job, picture book publishing even more so. I love the commitment to quality you have. Good luck with the new book.

  7. oh my goodness Jeri!
    That sounds like SO much work and attention to detail. It is wonderful that your husband is part of your team.
    50,000 books!!!! YOu must need a huge storage for them. I am simply amazed at the attention and time you pour into your products!
    I wish you happiness with your final product!

    1. Tammy, we never have 50.000 at once. We've sold most of those. We try to keep 5000 books in our "warehouse"

    2. ahhhh, 5000 is still a lot of books! but not as many as 50,000!
      i am so in awe of you and how you run your art business!

  8. I'm making my Christmas list...

  9. Hi Jeri,
    Thank you so much for sharing this process... Now I am TIRED! Work, work, work, and more work.. An enormous amount of work! I take my hat off to you..

    And there is dear little Dimity! Oh I can't wait for the books to arrive. I must purchase as soon as they are available.

    You are my favorite children's book Author and Illustrator of this day... I can't tell you how many times I have sat down in the evening with your books and lost all track of time... and I LOVED the DVD... Your voices just made my heart smile.
    Take care Jeri.

  10. Well Jeri, you just made my head explode. I was in awe before, but self-publishing your work too? Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

  11. Great post and news! Congratulations!
    The audio narration is free with the purchase of the book?

    1. Yes! We put a CD in my second book, but we think, with technology changing constantly, this would be more appropriate. I will have free narration downloads for all the books.

  12. I AM FINALLY HERE! WHEW.......what a Monday so far!

    Oh Jeri, you have been a trooper, a real trooper because I can sniff out the difficulty of self-publishing from my cushy seat of DREAMS....you are right; self-publishing as well as the conventional way is not for the faint of heart. I always wanted to publish (and still hope to publish at least ONE POEM - no art) but the whole process is painstakingly difficult. But you have made many wise choices, and I ALSO agree that there are so many mediocre and bad published works out there in art, storybooks AND poetry, making one wonder, HOW and WHY?

    The trick is never stopping and learning what you really want to do. You have obviously found what you want to continue, you are diligent and look at the results! JOY, SATISFACTION on your part and ours! BRAVO MY FRIEND, and.....thank you for walking through falling gold to come visit me, and give that HAMISH a big, fat squeeze for me! tehehehehheheheheh

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

  13. I so admire your talent, your courage, and your commitment to hard work and excellence. My hat comes off to you! Can't wait to order your book!

  14. Oh Jeri , dear heart, at last, at last, No. 3~ and what a road was tread to reach
    its culmination. I marvel at the self-publish saga and am convinced you are on a
    spiritual mission to bring such joy and wonder to our lives. Only a pure heart could continue to produce such magic in light of the struggle toward perfection,
    and grateful we are that you have followed your calling so selflessly. Bless your
    generous heart. The Grands will have a wonder-filled Christmas sitting by the
    fireside and following Mamsey Bear on her enchanted adventure....I am already
    "in stitches" awaiting the event. Bless you, bless you.
    Our Mary Gentility

  15. Picture me across the country, miles of desert and farmlands and rivers between us, jumping up and down, dancing a little victory jig in my studio and shouting to you, "YES!!! You did it!!!" I am wishing you so much success with this latest effort, blessings overflowing and a sense of accomplishment that gives your heart wings.

    I can not wait to order my own autographed copy. From your friend who knows first hand how much goes into a project like this, HURRAH!!! Let the celebrations begin! The hard part is done, now to release it soon to your adoring fans.

    I think I need to start a Jeri Fan Club!

  16. 50,000 books in total!!! Wow Jeri. That is an amazing achievement. Congratulations, I hope that your new book turns out exactly the way you want it to be after all those hours of work.

  17. jeri that is very interesting to hear about self publishing. Your books are beautiful and I don't blame you for wanting to have as much control as you can. Congrats again! Hugs

  18. Wpw Jeri - that sounds like a lot of work but I'll be looking for your next post about buying one. Congratulations!

  19. This is timely for me, because I have been getting suggestions (and some pressure) to do a book and I really have no knowledge about it the process after and how hard that all must be. I'm so glad your next books are on their way though! As always, I LOVE your work!

  20. so excited! I can't wait to read the book!!

  21. Wow, Jeri...I could not have imagined that self-publishing is such a painstaking process. Having seeing one of your gorgeous books (at Anita's), it is clear that the quality is the best of the best. And sometimes freedom, with all of the sacrifices, is priceless. I am positive that if you were to pitch to mainstream publishers, they would pounce at the opportunity to represent your work.
    I cannot wait until the pre-order! You are brilliant.
    Blessings and wishes for a beautiful weekend,
    - Irina

  22. Congratulations Jeri ... you must be so thrilled that all the hard work is over and now you will have your gorgeous books out there soon.
    Well done for such beautiful work.
    Enjoy the weekend

  23. Sir William here.... Rat's you say? No problem, I brought my cage...

    Jeri, I had a feeling the material might be difficult to find... Of course if you did not need it, it would be everywhere right? Sorry you are having a hard time locating it.

    I hope you show went well this past weekend... At least I thought you had another show... Enjoy your week.

  24. I felt like I was reading a post I would write Jeri. I too self publish on purpose. I can't wait to order my copy. My Christmas present to myself. :)


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