Gearing up for self publishing my novel

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Starting to get ready now for the publishing push. The manuscript is ready. Cover is ready. Blurb and metadata ready. It’s an exciting time! But I’m still very nervous. And I’ll tell you why:

There’s still a stigma, I feel, attached to self-publishing. Perhaps that’s because people have a limited view of what self-publishing means. Talking to colleagues and friends over the years, there’s a definite sense that Amazon’s approach (in particular) to eBook publishing has encouraged the market to fill with junk. By transitive property, it is understood that anyone unable or unwilling to find a traditional publisher is therefore part of that junkyard.

But that opinion is a little unfair — or, maybe, is just the result of a misunderstanding. Self-publishing doesn’t automatically mean “uploading a hastily generated PDF and clicking ‘Go’”. It really isn’t — I promise!

Self-publishing ought to mean the same as traditional publishing. Make sure you have a good product; make sure it’s something people want; make sure they get to see it. By self-publishing, all you’re doing is taking care of those things yourself. That’s it!

That said, of course there are trade-offs — most of them are predicated on finances. You are unlikely to be as good at the elements of publishing as a professional would be in each area. You are unlikely to be instantly excellent at typesetting, or proofreading. But this is where people who hear the term “self-publishing” go wrong — the publisher rarely does those things themselves, either. The publisher tends to hire folk — from the same pool of professionals as are available to any self-publisher. As a self-published writer, you need to be prepared to pay for these things, or do a damn good job at them yourself. If you rush through or ignore any stage of preparation, then you’ll have a rushed product.

I’ve paid for profesional services during the creation of Given Time. It has, I admit, been expensive for someone who doesn’t have a lot of disposable income. But I’m hoping that the money spent this time around will mean two things:

  1. I have a great product.
  2. Next book down the line I’ll be handing across a better product to begin with, and reduce the cost that way.

I’m hopeful that with Given Time I can now deal with the rest of the self-publishing duties by myself. Cover design and marketing are all things I’ve dealt with during my day job, and I’m hoping to have a decent crack at them. I make no bones about the fact that a professional would be a better job than I will. But it’s a question of price versus value. I believe, at this point, that my best will be just about good enough to raise my efforts beyond the “junk” that I earlier mentioned.

So, I am excited. But also nervous. The feeling in my bones is that I’ll manage to do things reasonably well. And, for all that, it may all make no difference to have successful the book is. What I have to cling to is the knowledge that I have done my best.

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