BEHIND THE SCENES OF A PUBLISHING HOUSE – SELF PUBLISHING
Welcome to a good friend of mine, Bella Settarra. After getting a number of her books published via small publishers, she has gone down the route of self-pubbing a story.
Hi sweetie, so tell me about the story first
This is my first novella, “Ménage and Mascara”, which tells the story of a young girl who notices something suspicious while doing her cosmetics round (I’m sure we can all guess which company she works for, lol!). She reports it to the cops which lands her life in danger but also does wonders for her love-life ;)
(ooo! Exciting. JD)
Sounds fab. Why did you suddenly decide to self-publish this one?
I wrote the story to be part of a boxed set with a group of other authors but the project was postponed after I’d just got it all finished and edited.
I didn’t think it likely that any of the publishers I work with would want a novella, as I always submit novels, and I knew that even if they did publish it, it would never go into print as it wouldn’t be cost-effective for them.
I spoke to some indie authors about the possibility and felt very encouraged to try to publish it myself. At the moment it is only available digitally, but I know that there is always an option for me to write more novellas and put them together in an anthology if I want to have it printed in the future.
I had already been intrigued by self-publishing and this seemed a good way of giving it a try for myself.
I have been wondering why you chose KU (Kindle Unlimited) rather than KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). I tend to get confused between the two.
KU is part of KDP. By registering my book in the KU scheme, readers who subscribe to KU (i.e. they pay a monthly fee and can read as many books as they like as long as the books are registered in the scheme) have unlimited access to my book. I get paid depending on the number of pages read.
As part of KDP I can also sell my book on Amazon, so it increases the ways a reader can check out my story.
Are you selling it via any other retailer?
No, while the book is registered with KU it can only be made available through Amazon.
How did you go about getting a book cover, editor, etc? I presume that is quite an outlay to begin with before you get any profits back?
Yes, it is an outlay, but I look at it as investing in myself. I really wanted this book to be published and I wanted it to be the best it could be.
Although I have taken a proofreading and editing course myself, it is crucial, in my opinion, to always have a qualified editor check your work – after all, it is your reputation as an author which is at stake. A good friend of mine, Lucy Felthouse, owns a company called Writer Marketing Services, so I called on her to edit the story for me. http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/
I trusted her because I have attended workshops which she has run at such events as Smut by the Sea http://smutbythesea.co.uk/ and I have also read some of her work (Lucy is an author as well as a businesswoman, http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/)
She is also a really nice lady, which is essential when you are working on something creative together, as it is important to be able to discuss ideas and feel comfortable to query anything you are not sure of.
Choosing a cover artist was a delight as I got to search through so many artists’ work. I was totally spoiled for choice. However, I had already worked closely with Harris Channing, http://coversbyharris.weebly.com/ who had designed some of my covers for my Sirens and Sailors series, as well as my Midnight in Montana series (both with Siren Publishing). I had also used Harris when I had two of my books Waiting on Summer and Red-Light Wrangler printed on CreateSpace while the publisher, Etopia Press, is still producing them digitally. Again, it was important to use someone I could trust and could work alongside to discuss ideas. Harris is not only extremely talented, but she is also really friendly and helpful.
Time will tell whether I will recoup my costs, but I’m confident that my book is of the upmost quality and is a good representation of me as an author.
Was there anything about the process that you didn’t expect and/or was hard?
Formatting was totally new to me. Usually a publisher does all that, as they have their own house-style which they prefer to adhere to, so an author doesn’t have any input in this field. It took some figuring-out for me, as I’m not the most technically-minded person, but I got there in the end.
(Yes I had heard that formatting is the hard part. JD)
Can you list three advantages of self-pubbing?
Only three???? Okay, here are some of them...
1. Write whatever you want to – there are no submission guidelines (apart from the usual rules of decency, of course).
2. Work with whomever you choose – you pick your own ‘staff’.
3. Choose your own deadline (hmm, this could also be classed as a disadvantage, to be honest).
(I like the sound of all three! JD)
Having done it once, would you do it again? If so, what would you do differently?
Definitely. I’ve got another couple of novels which I intend to self-pub shortly, so watch this space!
I might get someone else to help with the formatting – that took an age! L
Can you give us a couple of tips for anyone wanting to do it themselves?
With pleasure – though I’m no expert by any means...
1. Although it might seem more cost-effective to do everything yourself, it is worth paying for experts for things like editing and artistic work. At the end of the day it is your reputation which is on the line – if you want your work to look its best you might have to pay for it.
2. Talk to other independent authors – their advice can be invaluable. They can often suggest other people in the business that can help you should you need it – word of mouth is the best recommendation there is.
Thanks for being interviewed. Can you give us the all-important buy links/author links?
It’s been an absolute pleasure – thanks so much for having me J
(And here's me with Bella!)
(And here's me with Bella!)