I then had six books published by Musa and their thorough editing helped me develop as a writer. With the advent of Amazon Kindle it became increasingly obvious that self-publishing, or indie publishing/author publishing as it’s called nowadays, was the way forward.
I had several books that an agent had failed to place (I left the agency several years ago) and these were ideal for putting up as e-books. Unfortunately I knew very little about formatting and cover design, but decided to go ahead anyway. Although The Duke’s Reform had eleven thousand free download, it also garnered many highly critical reviews.
This was a hard way to learn the lesson that putting up a book that hasn’t been proofread, and doesn’t have a professional cover, is a big mistake. I immediately took it down and went through it several times and put it back as error free as I could manage, but the damage was done. The first thing any author-publisher must do is buy in the professional services that a traditional publisher would provide you as part of the deal.
I had a long backlist which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons I’ve become so successful. One of the drawbacks of being an author publisher is that you don’t have the credentials that a traditional publisher has. There are over three million books on Amazon and being visible is almost impossible for a new writer unless they can put up several books at once.
I continued to put up the books that had been edited by my publishers believing that giving them a quick read through would be sufficient. You would be staggered to know how many errors there were in these traditionally published books that had been through at least two edits and proof reads. The last Christian Cameron book that I read had so many typos I stopped counting after twenty. Fortunately for Cameron he is such a fantastically good storyteller the errors didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I now employ a line editor and proof reader – but even so far too many mistakes were getting through. I use voice recognition software and this, although a terrific tool for busy writers, adds mistakes that a typist would never have. For the last four books my proof reader has completed one read on hard copy, and then, when I have corrected the text, she reads it again on a Kindle. This is the best way to pick up the majority of slips. I would recommend to any author publisher that they read the manuscript on their Kindle before they publish.
I joined The Alliance of Independent Authors, ALLi, and through them discovered Jane Dixon-Smith who is now my cover designer. You will see from the covers I’ve included in this post just how good she is. It’s worth the money getting a professional designer – when I had the covers of the first six books changed my sales doubled overnight.
Another major benefit of being an author publisher is that you can produce your own box sets. I am also part of a group of five Regency writers and we have published a box set - Regency Quintet – Valentine Edition. This has proved very popular and was a worthwhile enterprise and we are about to publish our second box set, Regency Quintet – Summer Edition which will be available at the beginning of June. This is something that would never have happened if I’d stayed with traditional publishing. I would recommend being part of a multi-author box set as an excellent, and inexpensive, way of gaining new readers.
I think the advantages of going it alone far outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, some agents and traditional publishers consider author publishing is little better than vanity publishing. However, this is slowly changing and many professional associations are now recognising that its sales that count. How can one dismiss an author publisher who has sold a hundred thousand books as not being of equal worth as somebody who sells a handful of books with a traditional publisher?
What I love about being an author publisher is that I write and publish as many books as I want. I have absolute control over the content, covers and the price. I write five new titles a year and sell all of these to large print so that they appear in UK libraries. If I was contracted to a mainstream publisher I would have little control over the cover design, and no control at all over the publication date. They would also not want more than two books a year at the most.
I write because I have to--it’s what I am--but knowing that thousands of people are reading and enjoying my books every month is what makes it all worthwhile.
Are you an author publisher? How do you like it? If not, would you like to self-publish your books? Why/Why not?
She has over twenty five Regency romantic adventures published plus one Jane Austen re-telling and one YA romantic fantasy.
Three of her books currently available on Amazon:
HOW 2 B AN AUTHOR PUBLISHER (SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR) by @fenellawriter http://goo.gl/3IGKuR #theartistunleashed #writetip #pubtip #selfpub