Why I choose to self-publish

Dear friends,

I'm getting a lot of questions regarding publishing my book. Instead of answering each individually, let me give you the low down here:

Why did I Self Publish?

For one, I did not want to do the dance with traditional publishing, getting an agent and hoping to sell to a publisher. It felt too passive for me and I also knew that no matter how this books entered the world, I'd have to do the work getting it out in hands of readers.

Two, I did not want to wait and possibly see the book in my hands one to two years from now. I wanted it out now, both because the story is poignant and timely as the world is moving toward a more feminine era, and because it would help me build platform/credibility for the next stage of my creative vision and output, with other books in the works.

Three, I liked to have control of the design so that I could align it with my artistic sensibilities and brand.

Why did I choose She Writes Press?

There are millions of self-help, I mean self-publishing companies out there now, offering you book publish packages. A lot of scams or money-drains too, so beware who you choose. You do not need to spend 20K. In fact, you can do it all by yourself.

You need to:

- get ISBN no and registered, trademark if you choose to do your own imprint
- make cover design and interior layout, for both print and e-book (get a good designer who knows the book trade)
- final proof edit and layout by professional proof reader / designer
- distribution (for instance, Amazon CreateSpace or the like for prints, Amazon for kindle, Book Baby can source to other ebook channels)
- create an author profile on Amazon, with photo, a synopsis, book testimonials if you can get some.
- marketing and outreach

I chose to get help, because I liked to have a project manager who knows the book business. I specifically chose She Writes Press because of my relationship with Brooke Wagner (she helped me polish the book) and because of SWP's focus on women writers. I also liked that I could bring in my own designer, Rebecca Pollock. We used Lightening Source for the print production and Ingram for book store distribution.

Costs?

I am not a measurer. I do things because I'm deeply compelled (or repelled) and so, this book has lived with me for a decade and I've been at it on and off in spurts. How do you ever measure the hours spent on writing and thinking about your book? The workshops I attended? The money I paid for professional editing? And then, the final production of the book?

I'd say roughly $4500 on final editing of book + book design + production, including 100 books in hand + postcards.

You can do it cheaper, if you do it all yourself, but I liked having a team around me to keep it all together with an eye to a final, beautiful product. The book turned out more beautiful and sensual to the touch than I had dared imagine.

What about the Video Trailer?

I'd made an old movie about my trip to Tibet, so this was natural for me to want. And a good idea in this world of youtube and homespun video fest. First I created a rough story board, used footage from older films I'd made and had someone come interview me for new voice over and edit the film. Since I know about producing and editing movies from past, it was easy for me to be involved in the process and direct it as per my liking. I'm particular as you have already noticed. ;-)

Good quality and brand consistency between website, book cover and such is important to me.

These days videos for the web don't need to be fancy or high production value. You can do one with your iphone and edit in imovie on your mac, but I still encourage you to do a good job, tell a story, have good sound, good fonts, and make sure it matches your style and theme of your book.

I'd even say, make it shorter than mine if you can. 3 min is almost too long for today's web. Brevity is my challenge. I really should be writing novels, trilogies and serial films. ;-)

What about Marketing? Do I have a marketing plan?

I chose to do a soft-launch because...

a) I have other projects I want to complete,
2) I don't have the personality or budget to do the big launch and,
3) I think a spiritual travel memoir is more of a slow-burner with longevity rather than short-lived hype kind of book.

Also, I'm not the one to talk about things before it's real, tangible, so instead, I seem to go step by step.

Some of the things I'm doing:

- A Book Release Party in my town - to celebrate with friends, clients and those who love books.
- A member of Left Coast Writers, Book Passage will arrange a big book party for me and also carry my book.
- A give away on Goodreads. Have yet to hear from some of the readers.
- Outreach to bloggers who may resonate with my book to see if they'd read and review.
- I may do a FB ad - not sure yet. I sort of trust in the organic life of the book, and don't hold my breath or bank account.
- Reach out to women circles and networks and women studies, to see if they'd like me to come out a speak.
- The Free Your Sacred Journey online program I made alongside the book is to support others in taking their sacred journeys. I'm trying to wrap my mind around how this may cross-pollinate and will do a live workshop series in Sausalito this spring.
- Offer a Book & Bubbles Package for Book Clubs and Women Groups with reading guide and live/skype Q & A with me at the end.
- Launching a soft PR Campaign with help from friend, to introduce my book and the 'new' me to media. I have a lot to say, this is only the beginning.
- Going to Europe later this year and hoping to do some readings/gatherings there alongside my other work.
- Getting on with the next book, about Lolo's Boudoir and the photography work with women over the past 9 years.

Feel free to ask more questions or add your 2 cents below. Left to say is: keep writing, beautiful spirits; keep putting your art, your words, your vision out for the world to enjoy.