Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Could I? Would I? Should I?

Self-publish, that is.

I'm a teacher by nature and profession, and I'm also a self-learner. Some of my ventures sounded far-fetched to my family, such as going to college at age 27. But I did, and found ways to do all the work, and still run a small home, see after two small children, and be the best wife I could be.

Then golf interested me. At age 40 I took up that crazy, maddening game. I am not an athlete at all, and always had an aversion to playing a game with a ball that was thrown at me, that I was supposed to catch, and that I was supposed to either run with or throw to someone else. In golf, the ball is stationary, and it sits there until I'm ready to hit it. A much more civilized kind of game.

Writing a fiction novel then interested me. At first, only the writing kept me enthralled. I didn't care if I followed proper procedure or not...I only had fun making up and writing the stories.

But as with most, if not all authors, there came a time when I looked around and noticed women like me were publishing books with beautiful covers, and selling them. My next goal was to entice a publisher to give me a contract.

With the first sold book, I caught on fire. Several novels and short stories later, I'm now falling under the spell of self-publishing. Never in a million years would I have thought to do this--I like having publishers. I LOVE my publishers.

Still, there's that same old challenge standing in my way, blocking all else except, "You, too, can self-publish."

And so, I'm hooked, caught up in the game, and trying to learn the ropes before I take the plunge.

Which story will I use first? I have two more manuscripts I pulled from publishers that are just sitting in my files. Use one of those?

Or will I write a new story, a virginal one, clean and pure, never touched by nor tainted by anyone else's hands?

The instructions from Amazon Kindle are waiting for me to read and study a little more.

A program to make a cover is part of the sticking point right now, but I have no doubt I will find something that suits me that I can conquer.

Now. I'm close to the starting block.

Stay tuned--I'll let you know how this turns out!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. Celia, I know how you feel. I was ill-treated by Kensington, but the staff and authors at The Wild Rose Press were/are super people. I loved them, but I make so much more money as a self-published author. While I'm not writing just for the money, that is how we keep score, right? You will find it far easier than you might imagine. If you need an editor, my eldest edits and formats and does covers. She did my new one for Snowfires, if you want to check. I have a long list of things I can share to get you started if you want to give self-publishing a try.

  2. Oh, that just scares me to death. You are a braver woman than I am, Celia. LOL I'm such a technophobe. Good luck with it and keep us posted, will you? I'm anxious to hear your progress!

  3. Celia, I just know you are going to do this and that you will succeed. I do hope you will continue to have books with some of the same publishers as I would miss you terribly.

  4. Caroline--I know you're having great success! I do not begrudge you all the help and support you get, but I have none of that. This is a do-it-yourself project all the way, or not at all.
    I do ask tons of questions, and your Hero will probably get an email from me eventually.Bless his heart, he must have the patiece of Job. You should consider keeping him.
    If I do this, as I said, I'll go it alone. The cover is the one thing that's throwing me, but I have avenues to figure that out. I'm not artistic, but I do like the idea of putting a cover together. We'll see.
    Where would I see your new cover for Snowfires? I would love to see it. Your daughter must be brilliant!
    Oh, I think most of us at our age are doing this for the score. We don't need money, but it is a way to validate ourselves as good authors. That's how I see it.
    I love your newest cover for Bluebonnet Bride.

  5. Hey, Cheryl--I'm not a techophobe, but I do fumble my way through a lot of things. Like making my was like walking through fog, and once in a while, I'd see a little light. That's how everything is with me.
    Remember, I'm not an athlete, but later in life I discovered I have a killer instinct. Give me something to learn and conquer, and give me enough time...I will do it. Stay tuned! You might want to try it, too.

  6. Linda--oh, yes, you know I will eventually. I wish I could say when. Right now, I have no idea what story I'd use as a trial run.
    You know I would never leave Rebecca...I may branch out some, but no, Rebecca is the main publisher for me.
    And truthfully, one who self-pubs completely loses a lot of contacts. I never want to lose any friends I've made. It's too hard to start over!
    Thanks for always standing beside me.

  7. Celia,

    Not only are all of us "works in progress" so is the publishing industry. I still see value in traditional publishing, but I'm also an indie author now. It was a scary terrifying leap into the unknown, but that's how I feel each time I sit down to to write a story. My philosophy is "what do I have to lose?" So I tried it with a previously published book or two or three. I don't want to burn any bridges in the publishing world, but I also didn't want to be left in the dust.

    If you do decide to test the waters, take your time and don't get in too big of a hurry. All of the steps are important.

    Wishing you all the best, whatever you decide!

  8. Either/or? Both is good. Self-publishing is easy and probably a good share of your friends already have self-pubbed a story or two. Besides, there's a whole community of self-pubbed authors, including some very well known names.

    Personally, I do both. My Hearts of Owyhee series is through a small press, Melange Publishing, and my novellas and short stories are self-pubbed.

  9. Maggie--I agree--don't burn any bridges. Plus, I like being associated with publishers.

    But I need something new once in a while to excite me, and right now, besides writing Texas Dreamer, it's fiddling around with the idea of self-publishing something. The money is not important, although as Caroline said, and I've heard Linda say it,'s a way to keep score. As in trying to lower your handicap in golf--mine was quite high at first, which I settled for at the time because I was learning. But later on, I analyzed my main problems and went about learning how to change those.
    I didn't like a big score, so I worked and get it as low as I could.Alas, though, some problems I could never I accepted them.
    Yes, it would not do to get in too big of a hurry. When I do this, you will know.

  10. Jacquie--oh, yes, I would stick with both. No way am I so gung-ho to go completely on my own. I enjoy the community of fellow authors with some publisher.
    I like the way you're doing it. That's a good plan to follow.
    Thanks for your input--I do appreciate it.

  11. You must post your progress, Celia. I am such a chicken, I can't imagine attempting such a venture. It seems complicated and so far above my techno abilities, but I see so many authors doing it now. I even see articles about it in RWA and Writer's Digest. It certainly gives you 100% control over your work and many of us have taken a hit from a publisher or an editor that made us wish we had more control.
    I wish you the best on this adventure.

  12. Sarah--yes, most make it sound easy, in fact I've heard that numerous times. Trust me, I don't think it's that easy, but it is doable.
    I'll do it when I get around to it. Me..I must study something a long time before launching off into the wild blue yonder.
    One thing I've discovered, that if directions are provided and they are clear, I can do it. I'm good at following directions. But when the directions aren't clear, and I have to seek and find, I'll still plod along until I get it figured out.
    The thing about SP is that some do it fast with little thought and end up with an amateurish looking book. Fortunately, the friends I know that have self pubbed do it the right way and I'm stunned by the professional look to their books. That's what I want.
    I wouldn't have considered this 6 months ago. But the more you know....etc.
    Thanks for your good wishes..We'll see how it turns out.

  13. Celia, I posted this link on the Sweethearts loop, but I'll place it here too, for anyone who's interested. It's a great article about self-publishing.

    I am on the other side of the divide from you. I'm totally self-pubbed but wondering if I should approach a small press like Wild Rose, Carina, etc. I submitted to the big boys years ago without success, went through two agents who did me no good, and finally gave up. Then, in 2010, a critique partner suggested I try self-publishing on Amazon. It took me months to learn the ropes and put my first book, Darlin' Druid, up on Ammy. But it did pretty well, even winning 2nd place in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards in 2011.

    If you want some tips on formatting for Kindle, I wrote a series of articles on the subject. You can find them on my blog: Look in the archives. I think the most recent versions date from late 2012 to early 2013.

  14. Lyn--There are some who went to self-pubbing first, then moved to a publisher. You might want to at least try it. Carina Press--wouldn't we all love to be there--I think--
    I do like the "validation" of a publisher, but many, like you, succeed without it. Me? I could never have launched off straight in Indie world.

    I read the article--interesting. I looked up the three authors and all seem to write YA, and very sexy YA, at that. And all three are doing great!

    I started in 2004 and got my first contract in 2007--with The Wild Rose Press. I targeted them--I studied all small presses which might take me,and put everything on a spread sheet. Okay, I have a science brain--not math--just a need to study the whole picture.
    TWRP turned out to be the best choice.
    Now...."at my age," and having books with five publishers, I'm not willing to go throught the submitting process ever again. My main publisher is an "independent publisher" and this is perfect for me.
    However, if there's something out there others are doing, yes, I want to try, too.
    When I get to the hard questions, I may be calling on you.

  15. Celia, you know I won't tell you it's easy, but it's easier than it used to be! I know when you decide to do it, you'll do well. :-)

  16. Thank you, EMK---I will take that as a compliment.

  17. Celia,

    Keep us posted. I'd love to hear all about your journey into self-publishing.

    I self-published a couple of my books I received my rights back. They're doing far better than they ever did with the publisher.

    Am I getting rich? No-- but it's a consistent paycheck every month. :)

  18. Karen--what you say is what I hear over and over. I'm older,retired, and don't need money--that comes with age, you see. But the checks--money--is a way to keep score.
    I'm very competitive in a subtle way...and if I play a game, I keep score.
    If I were doing this for a living? No way would it work. But doing it like you do? As a supplement to your job...and as a venture into the future...I do admire you so much. I could never do both. You're
    truly a wonder.
    One day, you will be even more glad you've been writing and getting published.

  19. I love self-publishing and just sorry I wasted time waiting to hear from an agent about my Amish romance. It's nice to make money instead of very little from publishers. And nice to have control over covers and etc. It is overwhelming at times but at least when I do promo or anything, I'm making 70% if book is over $2.99.