We’re back! How many times have you heard that, lately? It is finally time to revive and reinvigorate the workshop on Self-publishing. I’ve done it as a solo (Modern Self-Publishing), as part of a trio (Madrona Workshop Troupe), and as a synopsis with Don Scoby thanks to various branches of the Sno-Isle Library System. The world has provided stories, opportunities, time, and inspiration to many people over the last few years. Challenges create stories. Fortunately, it is now possible to turn those stories into books. Readers may thank you. Historians and future librarians may too.
Don and I have decided to present the longer version as a one-day seminar/workshop, From Inspiration to Publication. Ten hours, yes, ten hours (yay! or aargh!) describing the self-publishing process from managing your manuscript through to publication and a bit beyond. We recorded the short version back in 2019. Remember 2019? Does that seem like a different era? A story written then would probably be different from the same story told now.
While this is a bit of self-promotion (understatement), it is also an example of the basis of this blog, my book on personal finance, Dream Invest Live, which is informally described as personal finance for frugal folk. Self-publishing can create passive income, with a bit of work and luck; but self-publishing is also frugal in the way it manages that more precious resource: time.
Listen to the stories of authors whose work was turned down dozens or hundreds of times. Impressive. But. Each attempt takes time to meet the submission guidelines and criteria for each agent or publisher. Do they want a chapter or a shorter excerpt? What do they want in terms of competitive positioning? Describe your social media platform, and provide traffic analytics. Who are you and why should they work with you? Multiply that time commitment by the number of submissions you expect to make.
Those are all valid questions for an agent or publisher to ask because they are running a business and they have a need to know. You spend time finding out who to contact, prepare your submission, they get around to reading it (from their probably overwhelming stack of other submissions), you wait for the response, and eventually you might get around to negotiating how to proceed. Or, more likely, you get yet another rejection letter to add to your stack.
Self-publishing can skip much of that and speed through the rest. You know who you are. You probably already know about at least some of the competition. You’re presenting it to yourself, probably inside your head, so there’s no need for reformatting. Some writers can finish writing their next book in the time it takes the traditional industry to find the right home for your work.
Write it and publish it and you’ll get direct feedback from readers about whether it is good enough, or what you should do different next time, or both.
Writing can be tough. Self-publishing can be a lot of work. Editing, cover design, marketing, distribution, every aspect of the business becomes your responsibility to manage yourself or to delegate. Don’t be surprised if you can’t do it all. Learning to ask for help is its own lesson.
That’s one reason the previous events were so well attended. Hearing about the entire process helps point out where you’ve already got the skills, which ones you need to develop, which ones you hire out, and which ones you might ignore. (I’ve given up on page numbering. Shudder.)
If you haven’t read the fine print in the graphic above, the event will happen on October 15th from 9AM to 9PM at the Coupeville Rec Hall on Whidbey Island. It was going to be a two-day event, but a slot wasn’t available and we didn’t want to wait until after #NaNoWriMo was over. There will be breaks (duh) and it will be in downtown Coupeville, which can be quite sweet.
Apologies for the short notice, but if you hadn’t noticed, life is speeding along, trying to play catchup from the last few years.
A poster or flyer can’t answer every question so we encourage you to contact us via email
(Tom firstname.lastname@example.org, Don BiscottiDon.com). We can trade phone calls after that.
This is going to be an in-person event, no zooming or streaming or recording so people can ask questions without divulging anything about their work-in-progress except to the others in the room. A group session reveals questions you didn’t think to ask. An in-person event allows you to meet other writers.
Other writers are one of the most powerful resources for self-published writers. They may have other opinions, which can be insightful. They can also be a support group. Friends and family may help you through other challenges but they may not understand the emotional hit or lift from an online review or a typo discovered too late (e.g. scold and scald don’t mean the same thing. Oops.) Bring business cards or at least some way to contact each other.
Browse Don’s web site to get some background on him and his work; and I highly encourage following him on Twitter (@WIBakingCo) to see how he does what he does. I’m on Twitter, too (@tetrimbath), and I’ll also point out my list of self-published books on my main blog site, as well as my Amazon Author page.
This won’t be academic. We’ll be pulling from our experiences with various publishers, ebooks vs paperbacks vs hardbacks, and talk about the other opportunities becoming an author can create.
Hopefully this will help you with your project.