May 28, 2018

Self-Publishing Expert Needed

My novel group has made it to the halfway point of our sixth-month time frame, and the first member has finished their first draft. I had been hoping that I would be the first one to pen The End, but I haven’t been keeping up a fast pace like I had originally expected. Instead, I’m a little under halfway done. Even though publishing is a business, the act of writing is still a creative endeavor, and I’ve learned that nothing good comes from trying to force it.

Regardless of the progress—or lack thereof—for my current work-in-progress, I offered to do a workshop on self-publishing for any of the members of our writing group who would be interested. I’m not the only one in our group who has self-published, but so far, I’m the most prolific. And since I’ve successfully gotten books onto Amazon and even sold a bunch, I feel like I’m qualified to give a lecture on the business of self-publishing.

I immediately dove in and put together some notes and made slides on what I would want to cover. However, I quickly came to the realization that I couldn’t cover everything, and a lot of people attending the workshop would know little to nothing about indie publishing. Heck, right now, most of us are in the drafting phase of our novels.

Another local writing group held a similar event recently, and although I didn’t attend, I was able to dig up an outline of the material that was covered. After reading just the first few paragraphs, which included gems like you have to purchase an ISBN which are only available on the Bowker website (just get a free one through Createspace) and start saving money now for a print run (with print-on-demand, there’s no upfront cost), I tossed it aside and declared I could do better.

I’m not entirely sure what the scope of my workshop will be. At first, I thought I would cover everything. But as I’ve come up with more and more items that should be included, I’ve had to narrow the focus a bit. Especially for someone new to publishing, the nuanced details on formatting an ebook might be best saved for a later date. Same with the elements of effective cover design and what should be included on an author website. But there are a lot of things that I don’t want to cut, including marketing and producing a paperback, which I won’t be able to go over in great detail.

Since I also considered traditionally publishing and spent some time querying agents and publishers, some of the writers have asked that I talk about both forms of publishing. I would love to do that and come off as a knowledgeable bad-ass, but then my little workshop would morph from a couple hours to an entire day or even a series. And since I have kids and writing stuff to do, I’m not willing to take on that big of a time commitment. Not yet. Unless I get paid...

The workshop hasn’t happened yet, but I’m flattered to be hailed as a publishing expert, even if it’s just in my local writing club. I do feel like I already have a lot of expertise to offer, although I haven’t reached ‘quit your day-job’ status.

As soon as I have all the materials ready, I’ll make sure to share them all on here. I also have a number of other resources which you can find here.

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