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