Virginia Festival of the Book - Publishing Day: Successful Self-Publishing

Is everyone today writing a book? That certainly seems to be the case. In our workshop Saturday morning, the session to find out what's involved in self-publishing was full of earnest writers seeking an avenue for taking their books from mere manuscripts that they have labored hard to create to completed books that they can try to get in the hands of their ideal audience.

Whether they are motivated to self-publish by the indifference of large publishing houses, the interest in maintaining control over their books' destinies, or their desire to keep any money that their books may actually make, authors are increasingly choosing the self-publishing route.

Charles Randolph Bruce and Carolyn Hale Bruce, authors of the Rebel King series, Robert Marston Fanney, author of Luthiel's Song, and Jeff Winner, author of The Strand Prophecy discussed the rewards of self-publishing and why they ultimately chose this path. Moderated by book designer Mayapriya Long, the panelists discussed how many of their initial decisions were made because they simply didn't know any better at the time.

I confess that I used to think of self-publishing as the path that authors take when their books just aren't good enough to get picked up by a major publisher. I've reconsidered my position as I've learned how the internet has leveled the playing field greatly for small authors to compete. Always one to root for the underdog, I now think, "Good for them! Don't give away 55 percent of your money just for the privilege of being associated with a publisher."

The panel made the point that the line between self-published books and trade publications is blurring. Judging from the awards they have garnered individually, self-publishing is no longer a self-imposed exile from the rest of the publishing world. Their stories were inspirational, but by no means without caution.

My takeaway from today's session is that the hard work of writing the book is likely nothing compared to getting your books out of your garage and into readers' hands. If you aren't willing to put in the effort, don't bother. You have to go from being a writer to running a business--your own business.

"I wish we had started this when we were younger," Carolyn Hale Bruce revealed, "I would have been better able to haul boxes of books in and out of the van as we travel to various events, but we love every minute of it."

Fanney concurred that he enjoys the entire process, but Winner confessed that writing the books as a collaboration with his twin 12-year-old daughters was the most amazing experience he could imagine. "The rest is just business," Winner shared. "And you really need to learn your business."

I bought the first Rebel King book to judge the quality of the writing, book design, and printing. Look for a review soon!

What experience have you had with self-publishing? Is there a book you would like us to review? Let us know.

No comments: