5 weeks ago
Thursday, February 10, 2011
You can check out her books online:
The Sex Club
Secrets to Die For
Thrilled to Death
Passions of the Dead
L.J. agreed to answer my questions about self-publishing and e-publishing. Having done it herself (and had great success!), she has a lot of advice to offer.
Please welcome L.J. Sellers.
At what point do you quit looking for a major or regional publisher?
If your dream is to be published by a New York press, then there’s no harm in trying that route. But one of the main factors that led me to leave my publisher was the waiting time. I had books completed and scheduled to be released in the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013. I started thinking about how much money I could make on my own in the meantime if I published the e-books immediately. I decided not to wait. For me, life is too short to publish under someone else’s schedule. Especially considering how rapidly the publishing industry is changing and how many midsize publishers have already gone out of business.
How in the world do you learn how to publish your own books?
author forums and listservs in which writers help each other with every aspect of the publishing business. In addition, Amazon, which is the best place to self-publish both print and digital formats, has made it very easy and also offers a lot of guidance.
What do you do first? How do you decide which e-format to start with?
The first step is to have your manuscript professionally edited. While that’s in process, you need to find a cover designer and develop a professional cover. The e-book format you upload depends on the distributor. This can get complex, but the smartest move is to hire a professional formatter to convert your manuscript and cover into an e-book. Most formatters send two files types, mobi and epub, which can be uploaded to various distributors. I’ve also blogged about the various places to self-publish your e-books.
How do you maintain an outside job while you publish and promote?
Is it feasible for the ordinary writer to get to the point that they make enough off their books to quit the outside job?
Absolutely. I recently reached that point myself. Many other writers are doing even better with their e-books. For more inspiration, read J.A. Konrath’s blog, starting with my guest post. The promotion takes a lot of time at first, but the results can happen very quickly.
How do you find someone to do your cover—and do it so well it looks professional?
What about all the details, like the ISBN, the copyrights, getting it into bookstores, etc.?
Copyright can be registered online for $35, and you can purchase a single ISBN or a block of ten ISBNs from Bowker. For print books, the two best POD publishers are CreateSpace and Lightening Source, and they can make your book available to bookstores for a small setup fee. As for getting bookstores to stock your novels, that’s the most challenging aspect of self-publishing or even publishing with a small press. But you can make enough money selling e-books that print sales don’t even matter.
How do you not go crazy, let alone write the next book?
You have to be a little crazy to start with to be a successful novelist! You also have to be driven and to get used to feeling like you have more to do than you can possibly accomplish. Not everyone can live like that, but I thrive on it. Still, I have some days when I feel overwhelmed and I simply have to walk away from the to-do list for a few hours. Making to-do lists is essential for me. I have lists for the day, the week, and the month. I have lists for promotional ideas, lists of reviewers/websites to contact, and lists of blogs to write. It’s endless, but for me, it’s also a lot of fun.
Thank you, L.J.
This was so helpful! If you have questions or comments for L.J. Sellers, leave them here. She’ll be checking in today.