April 30th I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I took a Writers’ League of Texas (WLT) class on self-publishing. Titled “Author to Entrepreneur: A Roadmap to Effective Self-Publishing,” the class was taught by Danielle H. Acee of The Authors’ Assistant, a company that offers to writers a variety of services, including editing, publishing assistance and comprehensive marketing.
As many of you know by now, I’ve written a novel. Two, actually, although the second is still in the revision phase. (See my Works page for more information.) I’d tried several traditional publishers (two quite large companies and several small presses) for the first one, The Space Between, without success. A few compliments from the small presses were all I had to show for my efforts. With each year that passed I grew more certain that I was spending too much time trying to entice publishers to sign me. Life is short, and tailoring submissions to fit each publisher’s unique (and I don’t use that word carelessly) requirements is a long process. What takes even longer is waiting weeks—or months, or until the end of time as we know it—for a response. After much self-examination, I finally made the decision to self-publish, and soon after, WLT announced the class.
I think I may’ve been the first person to sign up. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to whip out my credit card. The class title spoke to me. For starters I liked the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, making a business out of writing my books. It makes more bearable the hours spent writing alone, long into the silent vacuum of a grey afternoon. Also, the notion of having a roadmap to guide me in the process was comforting. But the words that really hooked me were “Effective Self-Publishing.” Practically anyone who wants to can self-publish, whether they run to Kinko’s and print out a few copies of a memoir to give to family members, or whether they do something more elaborate—a handsome print-on-demand volume, say. But spending more money won’t necessarily result in a better product. You have to spend it on the right things. I didn’t know what those things were, but I do now.
That’s not to say the class was all cheeriness and fun. Danielle didn’t sugarcoat the difficulties. She made it clear there’s much work to do in all stages of the self-publishing process, and that the work doesn’t stop once the book is on the market. In some ways her talk was discouraging. I was pretty disheartened to leave with the realization that writing the books is the easy part.
But after mulling it over for a day I started book 1 back through the revision process again. It’s now done, and I have an appointment to meet with Danielle next week. She generously offered all the attendees that day a free 30-minute consultation, and I’m taking her up on it. We’ll talk a bit about my project, and I’ll learn more about what The Authors’ Assistant can offer. I can’t wait.
I’ve done the easy part; now I need to tackle the hard part. The internet is littered with the bodies (whether virtual or physical) of fallen books that sold maybe a handful of copies and then died. To be truly effective in the marketplace, I’ll need professional help. (Probably to talk me out of writing books in the first place. Pfft. As if that were possible.) So here goes. I’m coming to the hard part. Stay with me . . .
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