Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Self Publishing in New Zealand - To Self Pub or not to Self Pub? Part One

So, I started writing about research last time and it turned into a drawn out warning about scams.
So, this time I'm going to talk about how to do research on more exciting things.

Most of you are probably a crack hand at internet searches so I'll skip that and go straight to my number one resource at the moment. Internet writers' forums. In particular, the forums at Absolute Write.
There are other forums for writers, some of them catering more specifically to a particular community (like the Kindle boards for example) but the Water Cooler at Absolute Write is one of the largest and longest running, as well as just being a nice place to hang out. If they don't already have your question answered somewhere, they will bend over backwards to help you (and you should return the favour).

It offers an enormous resource to anyone who is interested in any aspect of writing. If you are just starting out, there is plenty of encouragement available for the asking. There are also several very good tutorials available, for example Learn Writing with Uncle Jim.

But you aren't just thinking about writing if you're looking at this blog entry, are you?
Because if you are, stop reading and start writing.
It's all too easy to justify researching all day, and put off the actual writing until tomorrow (I know, I'm definitely guilty of this). Being a writer means writing.
It means writing right now.

The one caveat I would add here is that if you are planning on writing a non-fiction book of some kind, my very basic understanding of that is that you generally pitch it to the publishers before you write it. So, if you aren't completely set on self publishing (and there's no reason you should be) you might want to research that process before setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). 

If you've finished, or almost finished your novel/book of short stories/poetry manuscript/whatever and you're starting to think about what to do with it now that you're done, feel free to research your little heart out.
The first thing on your mind will likely be, how can I get this out there for people to read it?

And that is the question, isn't it. I assume you are reading this blog entry because you're interested in self publishing. You've seen all the success stories that have hit the news lately, perhaps. You've heard about the higher royalties, the greater control self pubbers have over the publishing process.
You've, perhaps, realized what a long shot it is to get something published with trade publishers. It's not a matter of sending off your baby once or twice and waiting for the millions to flood in. It can, and probably will, take years from the moment you lay down your pen after writing "The End" to the point that you hold a newly printed book in your hands. Years and possibly hundreds of painful rejections.

Self publishing can be done in a matter of minutes. No rejections necessary. You write, "The End", you upload, and that's it, you're published.
No. Bad writer. Put your itchy trigger finger away.

It's tough, I know. You're excited about your story (or poems, or whatever). You want to share it with the world and you want to do it now. But the second you upload your book to the Kindle or anywhere else, it is considered published and your first rights are gone (don't know what first rights are? Research it).
Maybe that is what you will eventually decide to do. But you owe it to the story to do your research first on what is the best option for you and your manuscript.

Now, while you are researching, bear in mind, there are a lot of people out there who are very upset over the choice to self-publish. Whether because they can't see why anyone wouldn't or they can't see why anyone would. Don't become one of these people.
There are positives and negatives for both sides. Find them. Consider them without emotion.
Don't be swayed by the lists of popular authors who have self published their way to success. Not only are those lists often bogus, they brush over the fact that most of those authors happily continue to stay with their publishing houses once they have them. There must be something to being associated with those houses. It's not an evil conspiracy (on either side).

So, that's your task. Research whether or not you should be self publishing at all. In my opinion, in most cases, there is no right or wrong answer.
In the next post, I will tell you all about why I've chosen to self publish this particular book and how I arrived at that decision.

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