Sunday, 27 November 2011

(Self) Publishing S.S.

"An author can now go from manuscript to book in a matter of minutes — easily and more  lucratively than has hitherto been possible"

As someone who's interested in writing my own novels (hopefully, one day), I've done my fair share of digging up helpful information on self-publishing, which is the way of the future (pretty much). What was once seen as a vain thing to do is slowly being classified as a smart thing to do. 

Anytime you get in bed with Mr. Big-Publisher-Man, you get perks - that is, if they even call you back or like your work - but there are also serious downfalls, such as giving up control of your work. They can decide to change the title, edit it down, take characters out etc. and while they might know what's best for you in some cases, they don't know what's best for you always.

Fun Home was first published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2006, which struck me as odd, seeing as how they are a publisher of mostly educational textbooks, instructional works and reference materials and was ranked the 10th worst place to work in America, according to a survey in 2009**

Lulu.comBob Young, the founder and CEO of Lulu - whose raison d'etre is to "turn authors into publishers" - is just one of the many people whose taken advantage - or helped us - by letting authors publish their own works. Others include Blurb, Smashwords, Amazon etc. 

In a 2010 article, Young let it slip that "in August Lulu will partner with a Mississauga [Ontario] printing company to establish a Canadian footprint." Pretty cool stuff!

All this said, self-publishing isn’t just about paying someone to print your book. If you want to find a readership, you have to hustle hardcore; you have to consider that you must market the hell out of it, get it into bookstores, try to get people to buy it, get it reviewed etc. The time and money it takes getting it in people's hands is almost as much or more than the time and money it takes to write it. It takes a certain person to do it successfully, but it can be worth the work if you want the book to be 100% yours; you idea, your design etc. 

One of the people I follow - mostly because her Excel spreadsheet has done wonder to help me - is Jenny Blake. Her spreadsheet called 'The Ultimate Book Marketing' can be found here which goes through the process of what to do with your new piece of writing, from marketing to promotion to social media etc. Pretty helpful stuff!

Makes me wonder what Alison's novel would have looked/been like if she could have had 100% say in it. Maybe the original title was "I'm a Dyke and my Father Committed Suicide Because of it" for all we know! (PS; that's a joke).

- Sabrina

"A Spreadsheet for the Self-Published." The Domino Project. Amazon. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <>.

"List of Top U.S. Places to Work: Survey| Reuters." Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | 16 Dec. 2009. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <>.

"Self-publishing: Doing It Yourself & Doing It Better | Afterword | Arts | National Post."National Post | Canadian News, Financial News and Opinion. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <>.

1 comment:

  1. Sabrina,

    Interesting information. I knew of but I didn't know the founder/CEO of it was Bob Young, the same guy who owns the CFL team of The Ti-Cats in Hamilton where I live.

    Indeed it is often as much effort to market your product as it is to create it, or sometimes more. I'm marketing my music, not my book but there are definite similarities. And of course both of us will soon be faced with the task of marketing ourselves as illustrators.

    There's a whole list here of successful self-publishing authors:

    Perhaps you will stumble upon a useful tip from someone in the list.