Self publishing: the next level

When I decided to self-publish, I was excited to share the chapbook, Into the Light, with everyone I knew. The thing was that I felt incredibly paralyzed with the idea of approaching my friends to ask if they would be interested in it.

I asked some friends, and they were so gracious. I think that most were expecting a print copy. So, I had to figure out what that would entail. I found out that there are online outlets that print only the number of copies that you have orders for, so there is no extra inventory laying around for curious cats to examine. (I mean literal flesh and claw cats.) My design with perfect binding came out to $10.16 (my cost) to create the print book. There were less expensive options, but I liked the hardcover.

So now I have to follow up and finish the design of the print version because the formatting will be different than the eBook. A traditional publisher would have done all this for the book. I am excited because I am learning so much about what it’s all about.

I want to do illustrations for the book’s inside pages and as long as they are black and white, it will not add to the cost of the book. Now, I am a decent sketcher, but am not a professional artist. Some people would hire someone to do this. Luckily, I have a very close friend who has graciously accepted my invitation to do the art.

For marketing, I am to reach out to reviewers and present my book to them for, yep, you guessed it, a review. There are organizations out there like BookSirens and Goodreads that will charge a writer a fee to get honest reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads. I elected to approach literary journals with my project. Just personal preference. So, now I compile a list, design my promotional material and send out the packets. Many journals and literary magazines have an online presence, so there might not be a lot of paper to be mailed. Just in case, there is a post office nearby and I have a small PO BOX.

This is a lesson for me. There are so many great people in the industry making it possible for poets and writers to get their manuscripts out into their readers hands. I always knew that it took a whole mess of people to put together a book. This experience left me with admiration for the people outside the industry, too. You know the ones. The family member who listens to the poet’s work. The college professor who reads it and shares admiration. The wonderful person at the post office who weighs the letters and makes one laugh as you affix the stamp. Oh, and all those zany people online whom you never see in person but assure you that the special hyperlink will work as you intended. Then, there are the readers who call and say, “Congratulations.”

I hope that those who read the chapbook really enjoy the poems. I read them and enjoy the language. They remind me of those people whom I dearly love who inspired the poems and that is really wonderful.

More later! Let’s write more beautiful books!

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