Entering the Arena of Self-Publishing

I’m taking the plunge.

After months of dithering between here and there, this and that, trying to correlate the reams of publishing information bouncing around the internetz, I am going to self-publish a volume of my short works, a combination of published and unpublished stories. I have Joseph Paul Haines to thank for the kick in the pants — and fabulous support for my inane questions about the process — since he blazed the trail with the release of his own collection. I must credit MeiLin Miranda too, for sparking off the idea in my head that there could be a place for such a volume.

I’m still in the early stages, and I will blog about my experiences with self-publishing as it happens. I know I whine a lot about conquering another learning curve (doesn’t it seem as if your head will explode at some point??) but as I’ve stated before, a writer doesn’t “just” write anymore — if they ever did. Time to man up (or woman up, if you want to be politically correct) and take it head-on. Whiners belowdeck.

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So, for me (and your mileage may vary if you decide to accept this mission) the beginning of the self-publishing process was to talk to Joe and pick his brain, since he had just completed his own mission. He made it sound quite easy, and thus encouraged, I went on to do my own due diligence. Don’t get me wrong — I know Joe would never steer me wrong and I hold him in very high respect. That being said, it’s up to ME to do my own research, and that I did.

Joe recommended CreateSpace, so I not only looked at the company’s website, I Googled reviews. I re-read some of MeiLin’s experience with them, and found that in spite of a small snafu, she was very pleased with the quality and customer service of CreateSpace, and the other reviews I read reflected that opinion.

I signed up for a free account. To be honest, I found their interface a bit confusing at first — yeah, a learning curve — but eventually I figured out how to get around. What I wanted to do was study the submission requirements and make sure I got it right the first time around. This is all before I started to put the collection together, understand — I felt like if I had the basic requirements down, that would save me time later when I was putting the masterpiece in order.

What is confusing me at the present moment is margins and terms like “bleed” (which sounds ominous), but those are little things I can ask more experienced writers. (Yes, Joe, you’re on deck. Heh.)

Now, on to the fun part. And believe me when I tell you I say that facetiously. Choosing the material. Plus, although I try to stay organized, I have pieces saved in several different folders, on flash drives, and I even went digging in GMail to find others. I’ve visited websites in which my stuff has been published, and had to re-type one that had been published in print which of course, I didn’t save anywhere else. *sigh* Lesson learned. I finally got it all in one place.

Actually, it’s not choosing the material that’s a brain fryer as much as the line-up. Most of my short work (but not all) is flash. I love flash. I’ve written a lot of flash. Tweaking my stockpile into a cohesive flow is a challenge. Plus, I became easily distracted walking through the beginnings of my writing career and remembering how, when, and why I wrote what I did. It was fun, but draining.

So, I tweaked and copy and pasted and dithered. I asked for the opinion of a trusted friend about the line-up, made a few more adjustments, and moved on to write the Author’s Obligatory Acknowledgments, a Table of Contents, and Author’s After Words. It’s starting to shape up to resemble a book! Yay!

Next stop is the book cover — I’m waiting on a specially commissioned photograph to reflect the material within, which should be here tomorrow. I will forward it to a very dear friend who has offered to Photoshop it into a cover, and in the meantime I will tweak and adjust some more.

And that, my poppets, is where I am in the process so far. Joe was right — it has been easy up to this point, but then we move on to the uploading and waiting for a proof. I will certainly keep you updated on the progress.

I hope to have “Not Nice and Other Understatements” available in the next couple of weeks, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise. Wish me luck :)

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9 thoughts on “Entering the Arena of Self-Publishing

  1. Thanks :) I’ll take all the good wishes I can get. I’m hoping by chronicling the process it will help others who might be considering the same thing but have hesitated for varying reasons. For real, if I can pull this off, anyone can.

    Yeah, that aroma? That’s my brain cells on fire. Heh! Thanks for popping by :)

  2. Cool, Netta! Funny, before I came here (right before) and read this post, I was thinking about the short story collection I have up on CreateSpace. I stopped working on it because I was stuck on the last story. But I think I found the plot solution just a few mins ago. I’m going to get back to work on it.

    Is it the Athena novel? Are you finished with it? Or are you going to do a short story collection?

    Do tell!

  3. This is a collection of my shorts. Some have been published and some haven’t. It’ll be nice to have them all in one place.

    Still working on “Athena’s Promise”. Not sure if I’m going to self-pub that or work on a traditional deal. A lot depends on how this little volume works out.

    It’s been interesting so far!

    • Oh, I’ll be pinging you all right :) It’s quite an undertaking, and I have to give you major props, Lynn. You did a fabulous job, and I can’t WAIT to get my copy !!! So excited :) I’ll email you.

  4. There are two good books to aid in your research on self publishing companies. The first is a book titles “The Fine Print of Self Publishing” by mark levine. He rates the contracts and services of 45 self publishing companies. The fourth edition is due out soon.

    The other book is “Top Self Publishing Firms 2010” by Stacie Vander Pol. It also compares and rates self publishing companies.

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