Friday, February 4, 2011

The Perks and Perils of Self-Publishing


Author Olivia Rodan Jacobs returns as a guest blogger to share her publishing experience with Outskirts Press.  Welcome back Olivia!

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The Perks and Perils of Self-Publishing

The manuscript was complete. It was time to think about publishing, but there were challenges. My first draft had been a simple mystery. The finished product brought up controversy. I’d added factual information that gave the thriller depth and intensity, but the page count had burgeoned. The book wasn’t sexy enough for some publishers but might be considered harsh by others. And I was a first-time author.
What should I do? I would never self-publish. Pay all that money, and then what? Give a few books to friends and let the rest sit in a box in my garage? (I’d heard such tales.)
A neighbor urged me to look into Amazon’s connection with self-publishing. I ordered SELL YOUR BOOK on Amazon, by Brent Sampson. I researched self-publishers and was impressed by the POD or print-on-demand approach.
One company stood out in my research, both for professionalism and fair pricing. So I entered a relationship with Outskirts Press (www.outskirtspress.com) and submitted my manuscript to Outskirts’ review committee. A positive response included the comment, “Reads like a movie.” I was pleased. It also stated, “Needs cutting.” Hmm, maybe 480 pages was too long.
The process of revising included shifting the order of some sections. Then I proofread, spell-checked, proofread again. Outskirts offers editing services, but I was watching my pennies.
The galley stage is a “last chance” to catch errors previously missed. I saw a few typos and entered them in the edit sheet. Outskirts also offers a proof-book, as more errors might be more caught in that form. Again watching my pennies, I declined. The first five books were sent to me as a publisher courtesy. You guessed it—I immediately spotted more typos. Then my daughter suggested I add a simple map. More changes. More charges. My own fault.
The book was ready. Outskirts Press sent out press releases. And then a friend suggested a change in the appearance of the title—putting Jerusalem 3000 in italics and THE POISONER’S AGENDA in all caps to better reflect the content of the book. It was a good suggestion. Outskirts helped me make the change. Throughout the whole process, both the copy and image editors at Outskirts displayed a professionalism, patience and courtesy that was impressive.
I was a published author! But since information had been released before I decided on a cover change, the wrong image showed up on some catalog pages, and since the book was already published, these corrections became my responsibility. (I’m still working on this!)
The perks of self-publishing? No one told me what to write. I worked with fantastic professionals at Outskirts Press. The book came to print in a matter of weeks, not years. But the perils? I made mistakes. I added improvements late. Don’t let your own “rush to print” pressure you. Your book will hit the market.
Ah, but that’s the next question, how to market it? Outskirts offers a lot of help in marketing, emailing many tips. I’m also gleaning a lot from Vonnie at Ink Slinger's Whimsey. What an adventure!

Olivia Rodan Jacobs, author of Jerusalem 3000, THE POISONER’S AGENDA
www.thepoisonersagenda.com Reviews on www.writersinthesky.com and www.amazon.com.


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