My friend Russell Smith (http://www.russellsmith.ca/) suggested that I 'blog' the experience of the self-publishing process. I'll try not to be tedious with my postings. Bear with me. I'm making this up and learning as I go. Every day I find out something new and exciting about the possibilities ahead... I'm still a muddle when it comes to sorting through the heaps of information. Hopefully along the way, my experience may help any of my other writer friends who want to follow the same route.
The one vital thing is to make sure your book is ready. I've read some self-published stuff over the years, and the authors had done themselves a disservice by putting their work out there in poor condition. Re-write. Tweak. Edit. Take some writing courses. Get some 'friendly readers' to give you their opinions-- and not just your Mom! (Although my Mom liked my book. A lot.) Join a writers' group. If there aren't any in your area, why not start one? The local library may be a good place to post and find other authors. If all else fails, there are a number of on-line writers' circles. Google is your friend.
I was blessed with excellent editorial support: 'Base Spirits' has been professionally edited by Heather Sangster at Strong Finish:
Happily, the substantive/line edit was a birthday gift from one of my friends who believed in me and my project. At the time, I was given a choice of either a really good office chair or the professional editorial service. Needless to say, I still get a sore ass from my work chair, but my manuscript is in great shape! If you can afford a pro editor, I say it is well worth it. Even if you plan on going the traditional route of agents and bricks-and-mortar publishers, you owe it to yourself to offer up the best book you can. These are busy, harried people and you need to grab their attention with polished writing.
Likewise, the readers of e-books and indie-published work deserve the very best, too. There is a LOT of crap out there in the virtual world. Why insult your potential fans with sloppy editing or ugly cover designs?
This much I know: I am aiming for publication in September 2011. I've been in touch over the past few weeks with formatters and a cover designer, and this is our collective plan. I realize that there are step-by-step instructions on sites like Smashwords and Amazon to walk me through the process of interior formatting and designing a cover for free; but I have decided that if I am going to do this, then I want 'Base Spirits' to not only read well, but look damned spiffy and professional.
Once I get into the back-and-forth with the formatter and the designer, I'll let you know how it works.
Until we meet again...