Looking into the unknown of becoming Self-Published or Published
This is a question I get asked a lot by new writers. Which is best? Self-published or published? Ahhh! Which road do you go down?? After the twists and turns, reading blog after blog, watching 15 youtube videos and phoning anyone you know who writes, you still feel like you have no idea of which is the best!
I shall save you lots of time and get straight to the point. There is no need to write pages on this!
The honest answer is, it's such a personal choice, which I believe ultimately depends on you as an author, your personality, goals and vision.
I chose to become self-published because I knew I could make it happen. This sounds simple, but I had to learn how to navigate my way through the process, knowing very little at the outset.
I later had a meeting with the head editor at Scholastic Publishing in London. She said I was doing the work of 20 of their staff and I should continue as I was doing such a great job. That blew me away!
Whilst I was really flattered by her praise, in reality I felt like I was treading water, whilst bashing my head against the walls of the social media swirl, trying to understand the ever-changing environment of how to get the book seen once it has been published. Although I laughed at the time thinking, "seriously?", two years later and I am now seeing the fruitful reward of being self-published.
What I will say, is if you like a challenge and feel you have a voice to be heard without limitations, maybe self-publishing is for you. There is such freedom to being self-published and if you have a wonderful message to share, there is no better time to get it out there than now!
The DOs of Self Publishing!
DO get a professional editor to edit your work, not just a mate, unless they are a pro. It's worth the money.
DO find an editor that edits for your genre, for example, if you are writing children's books, find an editor that works on children's books. You'll see that all editors have their own style, so get the best match for you.
DO have contracts between you and the illustrators or anyone else who is involved with your project. It's wise to protect the interests of both parties. It doesn't have to be complicated but it does need to have the right level of details.
DO find an illustrator that catches your vision! This can be a really intimate part of working on the book, especially when it comes to explaining your vision. Pair yourself with someone you'd like to spend time with. You'll be spending hours today, esspically if you are thinking of doing picture books.
DO fork out on trademarking if you think your character is going to become something spectacular. If you have time, you can fill out the forms yourself using this link Gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply. If you fancy handing over the heavyweight lifting and feel you don't have the time to fill out the forms, this is the company I went with, The Trade Mark Helpline.
It was more expensive, but as it was my first publication, I felt it was the best choice.
DO give yourself some good deadlines to keep things moving forward.
DO leave the book for a few weeks without looking at it, more than once! Then pick it up again and see if you still feel the same way. If you do, take it to print, if you don't, go back and make changes.
DO test the market with a small amount of books to see how it sells in your area, as well as a couple of other towns or cities. Different areas sell better than others.
DO build a healthy relationship with your printers. Pay them a visit, see what other books they are printing. Are they the quality you would like. Choose your paper and card. Design it so when you hold it in your hand, you feel proud.
DO have fun doing it, otherwise what is the point! I've really enjoyed this process, I've learnt so much! But I now know when to give myself a pat on the back!
DON'T share with too many people. That can easily confuse you, which can start you on a rabbit trail of "was this even a good idea??".
DON'T give up! Think about this, it took Peppa pig 18 years to become what it is today!
DON'T think that this is an overnight thing! Take the ride of the journey with joy and a smile
DON'T worry, the worst thing that can happen is it doesn't sell very many copies.
No matter which road you choose, the best advice I can give you is stay patient, trust the journey, try not to take things personally, don't take offence and surround yourself with people that catch your vision. And if a publisher says it's not for them, bless them and move on to the next, you only need one to say yes!
I wish you all the luck and blessings on your writing journey and please feel free to comment or ask any questions. I will do my best to reply.
P.S. For your knowledge, my company Miss Wright Publishing Ltd are in the process of taking on new up and coming authors. SO please do send your manuscripts, either if they are child focused or have a beautiful moral!
Peace and love X