“Self-publishing is really about believing in the words you’ve put together, no matter what an agent or editor is saying.”
Deanna Roy is teaching a class for the Writers’ League called “Succeeding in the Current Self-Publishing Market.” This class will give writers a better understanding of what the self-publishing market has to offer, to help them make a better decision about whether or not self-publishing might be the right track for them.
Scribe: What is one of the best benefits of going the route of self-publishing? One of the greatest challenges?
Deanna Roy: Biggest benefit: Your success is completely on your shoulders. Greatest challenge: Your success is completely on your shoulders.
Self-publishing is really about believing in the words you’ve put together, no matter what an agent or editor is saying. Are they right that your book is not marketable? Maybe. But most likely they are only right that your book is not marketable by them.
Scribe: One appeal of the self-publishing route is the assumed quicker turnaround than the traditional publishing route. Is there any truth in this, or any unintended consequences that people often overlook?
DR: This made me giggle a little. Traditional: 18 months average. Self-publishing: 12 hours average.
The beauty of traditional publishing is that the system is all in place. Acquisitions, legal, editorial, then placement in a catalog and orders by bookstores. It’s a system that does what it needs to do for print. Ebooks are a bonus.
Self-publishing is really about preparing for an online digital market. Paperbacks are a bonus.
So if your book is written and edited right now, could you be selling it by this time tomorrow? You bet. Upload your Microsoft Word doc to Amazon, let it convert it, and go. (Sometimes it goes live within an hour.)
These days, I do about six months of marketing prior to the release of anything big. But I have done fast turnarounds if the market demands it. The fastest I’ve gone from “Readers want a sequel?” to “Here are buy links!” was seven weeks. Was it a terrible book? Maybe. It sold about 20,000 copies and has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. That’s good enough for me.
Scribe: In the spirit of supporting local authors and businesses, do independent bookstores play a significant role in the process of establishing self-published authors?
DR: Independent bookstores have evolved a little to help with local self-published authors who want to do book signings or have books in stock. They have consignment agreements and group signing events. It definitely happens. But self-publishing is really about digital books. That’s where we have taken publishing by storm. We market directly to our readers through online platforms using primarily email lists, social media, and virtual reader groups.
Scribe: What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to self-publish their work?
DR: PLEASE watch out for scams. With the rise of self-publishing, the opportunists have set up shop. They want you to think this is so hard that unless you want to “spend all your time formatting your book,” you should pay them to prepare your book for the market or (EEK!) let them upload it for you.
Learn what you need to know before handing your book baby over to anyone. Take the time you might have spent researching agents or querying publishers to instead figure out the steps you need to take to get it into the hands of readers yourself. The more you know, the more you maximize the return on your investment of time and creative energy (Your success is completely on your shoulders!)
Click here to register for Deanna’s class.
Click here for our current online class schedule.
About the Instructor
Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of women’s fiction, college romance, and middle grade books under three pen names. She is a regular speaker and instructor for authors who choose the self-publishing route for their books.