With the first book in the Forbidden Things series coming out soon (July 9th! So excited!), I thought it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about the adventure of self-publishing. This isn’t going to be about writing the book or about editing it. Rest assured, it has been edited extensively by myself and others and was accepted by my agent just like The Girl and the Clockwork Cat. I’d like to think the book is the best it can be, but I’m sure something was missed. I’ve yet to read a book edited professionally or otherwise where something wasn’t missed. I just hope it was a small something.
Moving on. This series is epic fantasy and epic fantasy is a hard sell to publishers these days. Since I’d given traditional publishing a try, I decided, with the approval of my agent, to try self-publishing the series. This post is to give readers a little bit of insight into what it takes to self-publish a finished book and to offer other writers starting that journey some assistance. I will probably forget some things, but I’ll try to cover all the major items.
Select a publishing format
The first decision I had to make was that of format because it has considerable impact on many other decisions. I don’t think any author publishing in today’s market would chose to do print without eBook, but eBook without print isn’t uncommon. I love the feel, smell, and weight of a print book. I also love the ability to do public signings at events. For me, having my book available through print on demand as well as eBook was an obvious choice, but it does increase the cost of the process in several ways.
To ISBN or not to ISBN
Many publishing platforms (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc. – I haven’t researched this for all of them, so you may want to double-check if you’re publishing a book) will provide an ISBN for free. I think this is a fine way to go for eBooks. However, if you’re doing print on demand through, for example, CreateSpace, and you use their free ISBN, they will be listed as the publisher for your book. You can decide if this matters to you or not, but I wanted my books to be published by me, so I purchased my own ISBNs from Bowker. It’s more expensive than it should be, but it was worth it to me. As a side note, for print books you can get a barcode for the cover on Bowker as well.
This could be set aside as part of the editing process, but I did want to mention it as I feel having a dedicated copy-editor go over the final draft is necessary. I’m somewhat embarrassed by how many misused or simply missed apostrophes my copy-editor found (thanks Brian). I tend to ignore them a bit when I’m writing. A bad habit I’m trying to fix.
The search for great cover art