Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Self-Publishing

I'm taking a break from Mr. Maass for this post—maybe a little longer—to update you on the agony and ecstasy of my self-publishing saga.

First, the agony, which is completely self-inflicted.

It was probably stupid to set the goal of releasing four novels at once. Yes, three of them have been previously published, but that doesn't exclude the need for a little tweaking here and there. In fact, it was shocking just how much tweaking my out-of-print novels needed and how many copy edit mistakes I found. (I’m quite sure—well, I’m almost sure—that these errors were made after I’d made corrections on the galleys.)

I have one more book in the series to finish tidying up. I’m pleased to say that the third novel needs less work than the first.  I am capable of growth, and I find that comforting.

Furthermore, formatting books for ebook publishing is TEDIOUS and fussy work. Instructions at Amazon contradict themselves, so you must use trial and error to complete the task. Besides, they speak in printer-ese. Bleed? Thanks for asking. Yes, I think I will.

I’ve watched all sorts of videos on YouTube that show how easy formatting is, but they’re lying. Will I do this again? Probably, but only one book at a time. And I will hire someone to do the formatting.
Let’s slip a little ecstasy in here before I make someone cry.

Writing as a self-published author is heaven for the perfectionist writer. Bonnie exhorted us all to slow down on Monday, not to rush a thing of beauty. Well, self-publishing lets me set my own deadlines, which I am six weeks behind on. But besides that, I have spent four years on my new novel, Goodness & Mercy.  And not one call from an overwrought editor or nervous agent. My little darling is maturing and blossoming at its own pace.

Back to the agony.

Formatting a print-on-demand book is even harder. I ended up hiring someone to do the dirty deed for me. I love her. Or him. (Androgynous name.)

More agony.

Writing as a self-published author who tilts toward perfectionism is hell. My formatter sent back a lovely document ready for uploading to Create Space, and what did I do? I tweaked it and tweaked it and tweaked it until I feared I might tweak the magic right out of the story. This morning, after one more minor tweak, I swallowed down hard and sent the uber-tweaked manuscript off for minor repairs by the formatter.
D-O-N-E, done.

I’m getting very close. Once the back cover copy is completed (again), the cover will be ready for its reading public. That means “celebrity” endorsers first, then blog reviewers, followed by my readership who will, hopefully, feel that I tweaked just right for them to post a 4-5 star review on Amazon.

I’m dying to write a new story. I have something lovely teetering on the edge of my subconscious, waiting for the all-clear to jump.  

I’m not ready to pass judgment on the process of self-publishing quite yet. Honestly, the true test will be whether or not readers find my stories. Storytellers need and want an audience. I've told my dog plenty of stories, and it's just not enough.

Thanks for listening. I feel much better. 


Megan Sayer said...

"Storytellers need and want an audience".
Ah Patti, that's so true. And there's so much in that once sentence, really. It makes all the whole stinking process worth it.
It's a good time to be self-publishing, considering the resources available, the boundless possibilities of the internet and connectivity, and this window of opportunity when the stigma is coming off the self-published label.
It. Is. Worth. It.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Cannot. WAIT!! to read this book!

Patti Hill said...

Thank you, Megan and Karen. Your comments are warm hugs.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Oh, Patti. Thank you for sharing this agony and ecstasy with us. I think we are all learning so much from your process.

This reader is itching to get a hold of G&M!

Unknown said...

The's a her. And she is quite fond of you too!

Sharon K. Souza said...

Patti, your "agony" images gave me a good laugh. Megan, yes. It. Is. Worth. It. That must be our mantra. Karen and Susie, I too can't wait for G&M. DJ, you also made me laugh. All in all, my day is off on the right foot.

Patti Hill said...

Susie: Thanks for stopping by with the encouraging words.

DJ: I'm so glad the affection is mutual.

Sharon: Off to the right start is very, very good. Mwah!

Cherry Odelberg said...

That right there?
That is reality. Honesty. Transparency.
Thank you for the fine example of artistic perseverance.
I think I have a love hate relationship to that word, Persevere.

Jennifer Major said...

You are one determined girl, I am very impressed!! But who doesn't want their absolute best to go out??? Well done, Patti.

Patti Hill said...

Cherry: Yep, the P word. That's what it takes to be a writer. Not genius or connectedness, but perseverance. Let's all growl together: GRR!

Jennifer: Tweakers unite! Thanks for the cheer.

Joel D Canfield said...

Patti, I learned a long time ago that I could laugh and cry at the same time. Maniacal cackling might be good, might be time to hide the sharp objects.

It looks a bit like you leapt from an airplane with a silkworm instead of a parachute. I do it all the time, but then, I do it all the time.

Wandering off into the jungle without a guide is bound to end in screaming. Watch any movie that starts with people wandering off into the jungle without a guide. Just not alone in the dark.

All the stuff you're doing is publishing, and it's a different skillset from writing. But it sounds like your parachute may open in time, bless that little silkworm.