Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Insider's View of Self-Publishing

The following is an interview with Laura K., a graphic artist who designs covers for the largest self-publishing company in the industry. Here she shares some insights which she has learned in the last two years in the business.

Carol: Are there any benefits to self-publishing a book?

Laura:   Yes, it allows the author to keep creative control of her book. Like with  Indie art, music, and film, you don't have a publisher or studio over you dictating what you have to create. There are no deadlines except for what the author sets.

Carol: What is the most successful genre that you have worked with in self-publishing?

Laura: Grandparents who write books for their grandchildren and don't anticipate publishing them in the general market are very successful.   Memoirs have a really good niche in self-publishing. A woman wrote a book about her husband's experiences in WWII for a community of veterans. I expect that book was well-recieved.

Carol: What type of book is less than ideal for the self-publishing world?

Laura: The one that jumps to mind are photography books because print-on-demand printers are not necessarily the highest quality printers. As a result the images do not look as crisp as traditional photography books which are printed on off-set printers. 

Carol: What are some misconceptions about self-publishing?

Laura: From a production standpoint, clients come to us anticipating that we will read their entire book and make comments on it, edit, or proofread it. None of that happens unless they pay for those services. Even then, some self-publishing houses don't offer those services. Clients also antipicate that we will care about their books. I rarely get excited about a book because most that I work on are written poorly.

Carol: Do you have any advice for someone thinking about self-publishing a book?

Laura: Writers often don't understand the process because they're just excited about getting their book published. New writers shouldn't see us like a traditional book publisher; we don't get their book placed in bookstores or win them a spot on a national talk show. If a writer decides to self-publish, his or her book should be totally polished because we're not going to change it at all. 

Carol: Any other advice from your experience as a graphic artist?

Laura: The one service that most self-publishing houses provide is creating the cover of the book. These design professionals know each genre, the trends in design, the technical limits of the printers, and industry standards. Trust them! Remember that a book with a nice cover is more marketable than a book without one. 

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Thanks, Laura, for your honest assessment. I hope your insights will guide some writers who are considering this option.


7 comments:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Fascinating! I see the memoir and the grandparent books as viable options but I so agree about the poor writing that often attends self-publishing! Every writer needs an editor and quite a few hefty rounds of revisions!

Thanks,Laura and Carol!

Sandra Warren said...

If you decide to self-publish you have to LOVE marketing. If you don't and expect your book to sell, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you self-publish you are no longer a writer, you've become a publisher and you'll have to spend 99% of your time marketing or you won't sell a book, except to family and friends. Been there, done that with one of my books and discovered along the journey that I'm writer not a publisher.

Sandra Warren said...

If you decide to self-publish you better LOVE marketing because you'll need to spend 99% of your time marketing or you won't sell a book, except to family and friends. If you self-publish you have to understand that you're no longer a writer, you've become a publisher. I know authors who have been successful at it and the one thing they have that I don't is a love of marketing. Been there. Done that and discovered that I'm a writer not a publisher.

Good interview. Thanks!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Joyce & Sandra, for your comments. Yes, Sandra--if you self-publish you certainly most LOVE marketing! Sounds like you speak from experience.

Jean said...

Authors have MANY options now for publishing. It pays to be savvy about all of them before you make a choice, I think.

Thanks for this unusual perspective, Carol.

Interesting.

Jean

Nathalie said...

Fantastic interview, Carol and Laura! I think that self-publishing is still a bit of a mystery to some, somewhat still an obscure, scary topic for some writers. This was very informative.

Carol Baldwin said...

Nathalie, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I was thankful for the opportunity to speak with Laura and hopefully her insights have been helpful to many.