Following on from my last update, I’m happy to report that I’ve finally finished my comprehensive edits and rewrites on the text of my upcoming anthology. I can’t believe that I actually thought the initial version (which was sitting dormant for very long) was anything near final. It needed a lot of refinement, and I think I’ve managed to do that now.
I’ve also designed a new sample cover – using a free tool (because I have no money to pay for professional design), selected the fonts, and put everything into a clean document.
I’ve just got some final tweaks to do on the manuscript, and it’ll be ready for the beta readers who have kindly accepted the invitation to be my test audience. I may even consider one or two of my blog readers for the role, too – if you motivate well enough 😊. (I make no promises, though. I’m trying to keep this fairly limited, because too many cooks may spoil the broth.)
After that, I’ll move on to the final stages for publication.
I had initially gotten buy-in from an awesome designer / typesetter to make it all look pretty (which is a huge part of the success of a book, apparently), but because she’s doing it more as a favour than a paid job (the fee I can afford is probably minuscule compared to her usual charge), I’m bottom of her priority list. So I don’t see that materialising.
I honestly would have liked to get the design done professionally, but I simply do not have the money for that. Nor do I want to bother with any fundraising initiatives.
And a profit-sharing venture probably won’t be fair on the designer – because I’m not anticipating big sales on this – so they shouldn’t expect to make much money on this job.
This book is not something I’m doing for the money. I have a full-time job already. This is a passion project born out of my 12 years of writing poetry and blogging. It’s a desire to take what I feel have been my most significant pieces, package them nicely, and offer them to the world to hopefully inspire or benefit readers in some small way.
Publisher or self-published? Print or electronic?
As for publishing, I’ve done a ton of research into the different options, and traditional publishers are pretty much ruled out. This probably won’t be a profit-spinning project for them, so it’s not likely to attract attention from such companies. And also, I will not give up any portion of my creative rights to a company who would alter the work based on what they think would sell. This is my baby, and I’m not compromising my vision.
So, self-publishing is very likely the route I’ll take.
Unfortunately, much of the advice available on these options are for First World authors. Living in South Africa, we’re more limited in what we can and can’t do. Especially when it comes to getting paid from our publications. But I’ll hopefully find the best route eventually – even if it’s just selling directly and taking payment via PayPal or EFT.
There’s also the question of print vs e-book. If I retain the visual elements of the book, it’s very likely that print will be financially unfeasible. Every writer dreams of holding a physical copy of their book, and I’m no different. But the dilemma is whether I would sacrifice a large part of my creative vision just to get it in print.
I haven’t made a final decision yet, and will probably do so once I get quotes on printing. But, working from an almost non-existent budget, the decision seems fairly obvious at this stage.
Finally, I’ve given some thought to marketing. As an introvert, I don’t see myself doing any launches or public events. For starters, I don’t want to. But secondly, I’m nobody important enough to attract a crowd for such an event. And without a publishing company behind me, there’s really no push to do this type of thing.
I’m toying with the idea of a book trailer (i.e. a video ad), but I’ll have to see whether I would be able to bring the concepts I have in mind into reality with the resources available.
So that’s where things stand. If you have any experience in the realm of publishing or self-publishing, feel free to offer advice in the comments below.
Also, let me know if you’d be keen to be a beta reader – and why I should select you for this.
In the end, whether this book makes it out or not, or sells reasonably or not, I’ve already taken a lot of satisfaction in the entire process thus far. On and off, I’ve been working on this for 2.5 years, and it’s been gratifying to see what were just raw poems and prose evolving into a coherent final package which will hopefully see the light of day as a published book.
It’s a legacy I hope to leave behind, and I’m excited to see it finally coming together as I approach what I hope will be the final stages.