There are a lot of steps on this path that you won’t see when taking the Traditional route. Or at least you’ll see less of them. Editing, formatting, cover design and marketing are four areas traditional publishers usually handle, or at least help with. The writer has input, and in many cases a good deal of control, but the actual work is often done by someone else. And the House pays the bill. They may take it out of your royalties, but they pay the upfront costs. Indie authors, on the other hand, either do the work themselves or pay out of pocket to have it done.
Having a great critique group and wonderful beta readers, I didn’t feel that I needed a lot of editing once the manuscript had been through seven or eight revisions. However, I still chose to send my manuscript to an editor for polishing. It’s my name out there and, as John Proctor said with significantly more angst, “I cannot have another in my life.” Consequently, I want that name backed by work that is truly as good as I can make it. That might not make it THE best, but it will, by golly, by MY best. Step one underway.
I’ve tried my hand at formatting the manuscript for upload to both Createspace and Smashwords, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be wise to have a professional handle formatting as well. The jury is still out. I haven’t given up yet, but I do admit to feeling intimidated. Plus, my current project is throwing me accusing glares from the sidelines. Eyeing step two with inquisitive, trepidatious glances.
I recently attended a wonderful class on how to create spectacular book covers. It covered fonts, color contrast, style, tone, formats, and Photoshop! The instructor even gave us resources for training in Photoshop. I was very excited. Now I’m hiding under my bed, waiting for the Photoshop monster to go away…or at least get smaller so I can tackle him to the ground and force him to cough up a decent book cover. My hopes for this eventuality are not high. But, it’s early days yet, so you never know. Maybe he’ll get a cramp. Approaching step three; considering buying pitons and o-rings.
Then there’s marketing, but I can’t even really think about that now. Literally. I’ve tried. It makes my head hurt. I black out. I remember nothing until morning and then it’s time to go to “my real job.”
The trouble is, these steps are all necessary if your main goal is to put a book into a reader’s hand. If you want them to happily PAY for said book, they are mandatory. So I’m putting on my hiking gear. The easy part of the climb (I know, no such thing, but comparatively…) is over. At the moment my biggest worry is how long my current writing will languish while I figure this out. I am, however, heartened by two things: others have done it – successfully and summer is coming. Almost anything seems possible in the summer. Now where did I put that web address for the Photoshop tutorial?