Self Publishing 101
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
From Earth, my first self-published manuscript is out. I thought for those looking at following a similar route I could offer my insights on the process. In payment you could always buy my book. Or, if you already have, buy it again.
Okay, jokes aside.
First and foremost, you need to have written your manuscript. It needs to be as good as you can make it. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times already. It’s the same if you are self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route. Write your manuscript, edit it. Read it. Edit it. Get beta readers. Get feedback. Edit it again.
Once you’ve done all the above, you’ve invested significant time. Do you want to keep going? It’s about to start costing you significant time and money. You need a professional edit. Professional. It isn’t cheap. But you need it. Everyone needs it. If you want people to invest in your manuscript you need to invest in it.
For my first: From Earth, it cost me $4500.00 AUD for a copy edit of 119,000 words. I ended up spending over a thousand on top of this figure with my editor, but it was additional work I negotiated with him. If you want to check out his work you can find Adam Finlay at https://www.writefish.com.au/.
I didn’t choose Adam because he was the cheapest. He wasn’t. I didn’t choose Adam because he promised the world. He didn’t. I chose Adam because he spoke to me with the most candour. From the outset he was straight with me. It’s something you will have to make the call on yourself. The one thing I would insist on is not being cheap. Make sure who you choose is going to do a good job.
The process starts to blur here a little. You can do most of this yourself, but I elected to use a “self-publishing-publisher”. They are in the business of making money, much like a traditional publisher is. Their business is publishing whatever you hand them. A good one will guide you in the right direction and give you pointers. But if you hand them rubbish, they will publish rubbish. (You could say that about some traditional publishers too.) A self-publishing-publisher will however charge you for the service. A traditional publisher will not.
I chose to use Indiemosh publishing. I did my research and already had a good idea of the package I wanted before I contacted them. The package I ended up costing me $2300.00 AUD. Because I had a professional copy edit done previously, I was saved “at least $500.” All these figures will vary depending on your writing style, and most importantly, word count. That money got them to format my manuscript, do cover design (a bit more on that shortly.) ISBN, BIASC codes. They also steered me in the right direction in the way fonts, cover type, paper colour, plus a dozen more little things I would have otherwise overlooked. You can do all this yourself. But it will reduce the quality of the finished product. You are a writer, not a publisher.
I also had solicited an artist. My sister. @laurenbroughtonart, to illustrate my manuscript and do part of the cover. It cost around a $1000.00 AUD, heavily discounted. Family and all. I then spent $2400.00 AUD on a final proofread. Then it came down to how many copies I wanted in my hand when I officially became a published author. You don’t want the total figure, do you? It’s over ten thousand dollars. Just bite your lip. Bit hard, taste the blood and keep pushing forward. You’ve come this far. Look at all you have done. You wrote a book. You spent hours after work, smashing at your keyboard. You threw your heart and soul out to each beta reader. You showed it to your family. You wrote a book. Don’t stop now. You’ve come this far. Just keep pushing. Just keep writing.
Besides. The worst is yet to come. You have to market the damn thing.