If you’ve known me for a while, you may be aware that I’ve taken several routes into publishing: I have big publishers and small ones, and I also have a growing list of self-published titles. On the whole, I’m happy with all these routes and experiences and I wouldn’t like to give up any of them.
On the other hand, my version of self-publishing wasn’t really total self-publishing. I began with the encouragement and support of my agent, whose staff took care of a lot of the technical and admin stuff for me. I paid for my own editing and cover art, while they covered the cost of formatting and took care of all the uploading etc. They also helped with Netgalley reviews and other promotions. It saved me time – and sanity! – and I was happy to pay a percentage of my royalties to have this help.
However, if you speak to most self-published authors, they will tell you that what they love about self-publishing is the control it gives them over their own books, including genre and subject matter, the timing of publication, pricing, instant access to sales figures and the results of promotions etc. Gradually, I began to realize that this was the downside to my “easy” version of self-publishing.
Although I could write what I liked at the pace that suited me, I couldn’t necessarily publish when I was ready to publish, because I was not my agent’s only client and his staff weren’t necessarily free when I wanted them to be. I found this increasingly frustrating, Likewise, it took longer for me to see sales figures and royalty statements. In short, I’d sacrificed the control that is the real point of self-publishing, just to avoid some initial difficulty.
Anyway, my agents and I finally agreed that our current relationship wasn’t working for either of us, and for the last few months we’ve been going through the complicated process of transferring all the self-published titles to my own personal accounts, which involves un-publishing and republishing, and I’ve been learning to do myself all the things I was so grateful to have done for me!
The bad news is, it’s taken ages, and we’re still not quite there! I feel I’m floundering a little and losing my safety net, while making difficult decisions concerning formatting costs etc.
The good news is, once you get the hang of it, this stuff isn’t actually so difficult! Last month, I published TRUTH AND LIES, my first totally self-published project – and I have plans for a busy year. Now I can say truthfully that I’m looking forward to the journey of real self-publishing.