The road to self-publication has been quite a journey.
Ten years ago, self-publishing was equated with literary losers … writers who were not talented enough to secure a contract with a publisher. Times have changed. With the monopolization and consolidation of the publishing industry, an intense focus on the bottom line, and few slots for new authors, the industry has changed. Many mid-list authors found themselves without publishers. Authors have also learned that publishers have done little to forward their careers. Only the top 10% of famous authors were provided promotion and advertising.
When at Crimson Romance, I learned that all marketing and promotion fell on the author, while lack of sales were our fault. Yet, I had little input on book covers, editing was haphazard, and copyrights not secured. Getting the rights back to my books, gave me control. Being a bit of a control freak, I determined that self-publishing was the only way to go.
My first “idea to publication” project was my novel, “A Kiss in the Rain.” As a dance instructor and writing instructor through the Special Studies Department at the Chautauqua Institution (CHQ) in New York state, I had years of ideas.
“A Kiss in the Rain” is a romantic suspense novel, about an F.B.I. special agent seeking to stop a serial killer, a “black widow” stalking the Institution’s grounds. While in pursuit, he reconnects with his childhood love.
I self-published this novel. There was a learning curve, but it paid off. While on the grounds at CHQ, I promoted my novel. The book store ordered copies, and agreed to display my advertising cards. A display was featured in the store. The book actually sold. I was asked to do a book signing at the book store’s famous “Author’s Alcove.” This was a huge honor, as famous authors, celebrities and amphitheater speakers held signings there. The event was even promoted with a front-page interview in the Chautauquan Daily newspaper.
People actually showed up for the signing. A group of my CHQ PEO sisters even lent their support. I sold over 30 copies of my book. After, the book store manager came out to shake my hand. He told me that I sold more books than most amphitheater speakers.
This experience gave me the confidence to pursue self-publishing as my sole road to publication. I have even taught classes in self-publishing, as an instructor at CHQ, at the local library system and through a local arts organization. Though I have had requests from editors and agents for my work, I decided to continue self-publishing.
Is it lucrative? Only time will tell.