Yes, it’s been a while, but now that I’m back I have news.
I mentioned last time that I’ve been looking increasingly at the idea of self-publishing. There are advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional publishing, so I had to do a bit of homework.
The advantages with signing on with an established publisher are that they do the brunt of the legwork and they know the ins and outs of the industry. Also they don’t cost anything upfront: because they take a chunk out of your royalties it is in their interest to see that your book sells. Great! Trouble for us newbies is getting one to read your manuscript in the first place. You can send out query after query and wait months before you hear from anyone, if you hear at all.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and know about as much about the publishing business as you do about, say, string theory, when you finally decide on forging your own path, the learning curve looks like K2.
This is where assisted self-publishing comes in. There are a number of companies that do this; I signed on with a company called Tellwell. You pay upfront for a package: the extent of the services depends on how much you can afford. The package I agreed to includes editing, design, marketing, distribution, even a web site, as well as a very limited print run (essentially for personal use). Most importantly, the self-published author retains the rights to full royalties and editorial freedom. Ideal for control freaks like yours truly.
Plus, the turn-around time is a matter of a few months, versus many months or even years with a conventional publisher.
Of course I still had a manuscript that was, shall we say, cumbersome. Back when I first started this blog and said (unequivocally, or so I thought) that the manuscript was finally done, I had a work that approached 160,000 words; that’s 644 pages, double-spaced. “Done”? HA! Sounds funny now. Just the editing costs alone for a work that size would have been through the roof. I had to bring it down to something more manageable before entertaining any thoughts of submitting. A word count was agreed upon with Tellwell and I went back to the cutting room: 30,000 words, 87 pages, and god knows how many reviews later, I have a final manuscript.
So now I have my very own project manager at Tellwell who’s asking me to decide on things like trim size, interior colour options, cover finishing, and other things like hardcover options (if I want a dust jacket, f’rinstance). My book also has an ISBN: this shit just got real.
All that’s left is to submit the manuscript. It goes out this week!!!