Part of me feels that Raven should be writing this post, since she’s the one with self publishing experience to talk about, but since that’s what I plan to do too….
This conference is run by Troubador, traditional publisher with a self publishing imprint known as Matador. Both are cool. I went last year and fully intend to go again next year, if not for the sessions, then for the chance to talk to other authors. I think that was the most valuable thing this year. That, and confirmation that what I’ve been doing to date is ‘correct’ insofar as anything like self publishing, so much in flux, can be ‘correct.’
Work successfully with bookshops and libraries to sell your book.
First session of the day for me and a real eye opener. It’s not impossible to get self published books into brick and mortar stores, but it is bloody hard work. Without the backing of people who know the industry and already have the contacts, ie a self publishing provider (*ahem* Matador) then it’s harder still. Lots of leg work, lots of agony and, unless sales are awesome, probably not even worth it.
Libraries though. I’m in the lucky position that the speaker for this section (Maggie Boyd) is actually working with Leicestershire libraries. So it’s all incredibly relevant to me. But libraries are in a very bad way; funding cut year after year, no staff and very little time or space to give to helping out local authors. They want to, of course they want to (!) but their hands are very often tied.
How to work successfully with an editor.
This session was INCREDIBLY helpful for me. And terrifying. Given by a member of the literary consultancy Cornerstones, I found the idea of paying for consulting advice (structural editing, basically) to be a really attractive one. What I didn’t like was the price. But you get what you pay for and the level of feedback they provide is such that I really do believe it to be worth every penny.
But terrifying… it brought back to me all those fears about ‘Will SORB ever be good enough?’ ‘How do I know when it’s ready?’ ‘Have I shown enough rather than telling?’ ‘Is the plot boring?’ ‘Is the structure of the whole piece sound?’
All those things I was already worried about now brought back to me tenfold.
They cynic in me says they did their job right, because now I want to buy their services. -_- The other, more practical and pragmatic part of me says there’s no reason why I can’t release a perfectly good novel without forking out in excess of £600 for editing.
But it’s a confidence issue because, at the end of the day, it all boils down to one question:
Do I believe in my writing and my ability enough to put my work out there, doing the best I possibly can with the resources (money) I have available to me?
Creating and marketing your ebook.
Funny, but there was nothing in this session that I didn’t already know. And I know it by reading your blog posts, newsletters and tweets. Everything they taught or talked about is stuff that’s readily available within the writing community because you guys are all so awesome and willing to share.
So I want to thank you all for that. ^_^
If ‘the folk of the industry’ are giving the same advice as you fine people (outsource what you don’t have the skills to do yourself, make sure you edit your words, get a decent cover, proofread over and over, don’t skimp on formatting, don’t spam people, build relationships with readers, be real and honest) then we’re all in a pretty positive position.
Using your existing author website to the full.
Again, a session useful in confirming things I already know. And also wonderful for helping reassure me that holding back from setting the solo site to live isn’t a bad thing. I want it to be as good as it can be, meaning that my branding and my media needs to be complete. Rushing it won’t help me. Nor Raven.
This blog is healthy and ticking along nicely, so why rush and half kill myself with worrying when the time isn’t right? There’s no harm in waiting. In fact it’s better to wait until everything is ready and there are no holes to fall into it.
So that’s it. My second self publishing conference. Sorry it was such a quick run through (and so personalised, rather than general to subject matter), but I want to keep these posts from spilling beyond 500 words. Hmm… yeah… I’ll let you know how I do with that. 😉