I’m Not In It for the Money – This could be said for my blog, which I have no intention of trying to monetize, but also for my book – also titled Retirement Transition.
Since my book is a passion project, I did the self-publishing approach. I don’t believe that my book will make me a ton of money. I don’t even believe I’ll recoup the cost of self-publishing, although some recoup of the money outlay would be nice. Others put their passion dollars into lessons, entrance fees, or specialty equipment; I put mine in self-publishing.
With self-publishing, you can publish anything you want – a memoir, an inspirational A to Z compilation, short stories, or a series of your blog posts. On the plus side of self-publishing, there are no rejection letters. Using a publishing press that specializes in self-publishing gives you someone to walk you through the details. On the negative side, no big promotions and no huge sales are expected. And you pay for every element.
I do know there are cheaper, more do-it-yourself options out there. But I wanted someone to walk me through what was needed; and I wanted a real in-print book, not just an e-book. So this was my route to publication. This blog post is not details about the writing of my book; it is about my process of self-publishing:
- Writing and editing are different stages. I wrote most of the content over about a nine-month period of time. There was back and forth with some of my blog posts; some early posts were lifted from early book content and some later blog posts ended up as book content. But then it took 2 years to edit and get the courage to publish.
- Get a friend who is really good with grammar, logic flow, and basic editing knowledge to do a first cut edit, hopefully as a favor! Ask for real feedback, and improve your manuscript based on it. Professional editing costs a lot of money. It’s worth it for a round 2, but get a round 1 editing done first, even if you think you’re a good writer. Most “professional books” have 5-6 rounds of editing input! I am also a perfectionist and I edited my book myself multiple times before anyone else saw it. With 2 other edit eyes, I know it will not be perfect (there will be a typo somewhere I am sure!), but I felt it was enough.
- I went the small self-publishing company route. As I’ve said, there are cheaper approaches, but being my first time, it was helpful to have someone walk me through the steps. I looked into 4 different self-publishers: one recommended to me, one came up tops in a Google search, and two were presses that had published similar books to mine that I liked.
- I “interviewed” and got quotes from 2 different self-publishing companies, making sure I was comparing apples-to-apples in what was included. I went with my gut at the end of it (choosing Mill City), as I believe either would have been OK.
- In my “silver level publishing package” I received front & back cover design, content formatting, typesetting, ISBN/Copy write registration, and 2 years print-on-demand order on-line (via Amazon, B&N) plus e-book (Kindle & Nook). I added in an editing round.
- The project manager throughout the publishing process was amazingly responsive. The marketing project manager not so much, so far. I also did not have any marketing in the package, so now have to think about that aspect (and additional costs).
- In most cases I went with the “default” or recommended options – book size, paper color, text format, retail price. I had input on every step, and needed to give final approval on cover design, typesetting, etc. I wasn’t super picky on cover design (I wanted simple), but had to do 3 rounds of typesetting input to get the text consistent throughout the book. The press I went with uses the Chicago Manual of Style, which is not how Microsoft Word does text formatting, so at first spacing looked a bit inconsistent, mostly because my content was non-fiction with paragraph headers, examples, and worksheets.
- Some things that ”went wrong”? I had to create back-cover content at the last minute because I didn’t think about it. There were more rounds of typesetting than I expected because I needed to learn how I wanted elements to look consistently throughout the book and how to provide the typesetters with the graphics. I got a wrong proof-copy (weird) and had to wait another 2 weeks to see my book in print (just frustrating).
- I had crafted my writing in book-format (downloaded from Amazon self-publishing) so chapters, index, appendix, etc. were all accounted for. I did not include an acknowledgement or dedication; I did include an author page. It is about choices the whole time, so have a vision of how you want it to look!
I’m not sure if it took longer or shorter than expected. I had a completed manuscript when I connected with a self-publisher. The manuscript was a work in progress for almost 3 years, although many times it sat for months with nothing happening! But the process with the publisher was about 3 months total, from signed contract to book in hand. They lead me through every step and I felt that alone was worth the cost!
Would I do it again? If I had another (great) book idea, yes, I would. And I might still go with the same publishing press as their production staff was good.
It is also pretty cool to say, “I am a published author.”
And even though I’m not in it for the money, here is a blatant self-promotion… My book is now available on-line at Amazon.com (or https://amazon.com/dp/1545656371/) and also on-line at Barnes & Noble.
Photo: my book cover 🙂