Monday, September 27, 2010

A couple weeks after publishing

Hi, I just have to tell you about my experience in self-publishing "Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog." It has been easy and inexpensive, the way I did it, but there are more expensive, more help available packages from CreateSpace if you are less broke, or perhaps simply smarter than I was.

A friend on a forum I hang out at, asked me if I was interested in signing up to write a whole novel in the month of November a couple years ago, on NationalNovelWritingMonth, (NaNoWriMo - every November), I signed up and participated the last two years, but didn't finish the first year, you have to write at least 50,000 words. Last year, I did finish the 50,000 word commitment although that story did not feel finished at that point. CreateSpace, not connected to NaNoWriMo, offered a free proof copy of your book to anyone who finished.

I had talked to other people who had self-published with vanity presses that cost them thousands of dollars and left them with boxes of unsold books, but CreateSpace's proof, was like a real book, but legally it was not "published," so I could still try to sell it as unpublished to an agent or editor if I wanted to.

So I did the proof, converted my Word document to a pdf and uploaded it. Then designed my own cover and uploaded a photo of it, but they have a stock library of cover photos if you want. I loved the way the book looked. This wasn't one I'd written for NaNo, it was one I'd written and rewritten and passed out seven copies to friends and got feedback from them and then read it to a couple classes and to my husband and my own kids and got more feedback. I had actually been trying to interest a publisher for about 5 years but by trying, I mean sending out a couple letters then waiting months for a reply.

I googled info on CreateSpace and a few others. I liked that CreateSpace links to Amazon and to a couple sites that sell to libraries and bookstores, and that it is print-on-demand, so you never pay for extra copies, they print as the book sells. There is a $40.00 charge if you want to link to the pro-sites but none if you just sell off CreateSpace's own site. A proof costs about $10 with S&H and that is the only expense that you have to have. If you publish, after you see the proof it is just a matter of saying, "yes" and giving them a place to send checks and filling out some tax payer info. You set the price of your book but they have a minimum. They charge based on # of pages and book size, mine is 6x9 inches and 252 pages. I wanted to charge $9.99 but then if it sold for that on Amazon, I would have owed them $0.50 per book

When I had people ask if it was available for the kindle. I did that but it is through Amazon, not a CreateSpace thing, but I could upload the same pdf to Amazon and they converted it for me.

I have had fun, and interest from others, a book signing offer from a library, a few copies go on sale at the local Walgreen's, but I'm doing something every day to promote it. The thing is, once you self-publish, traditional publishers are even less interested unless you sell 5,000 copies and show them there is a real market.

One thing that amazed me, is I went to a local Writer's conference just to hear the speakers, and in a break, I found myself surrounded by eager, curious people who were asking questions that I knew the answers too, and giving me positive comments and their attention. That is when I realized that it was different from any previous conference, because, self-published and all that implies, I was and always will be, an Author.

So I'm working on the sequel this nanowrimo and loving saying I'm an author and seeing people reading my book is a kick.
It is also really scary. I had always been the girl scribbling in my notebook to avoid having to make real conversation, when I was a socially terrified grade school kid. She is still in there, in spite of the fact that I get up every day and teach classes. Teaching is not the same as putting your stories and your secret dreams in someone else's power and letting them do as they will to it. Knowing that there are people reading and talking about your book in places you've never been and in conversations you'll never hear. It's like having your baby leave home for the first time, and begin a life where you are no longer necessary.


  1. Thank you for all that detail! I'm very interested in doing this eventually and you just laid it out for me so succinctly! Love ya!

  2. First let me say congratulations!

    It must feel wonderful to have something you've written held in your hands like that, especially after all the work and different stages it must have taken to get to that point!

    I found this really interesting for a couple of reasons, my younger sister is currently getting to the end of a childrens book she has written and I am considering tackling my first BIG writing project and taking part in nanowrimo - pretty scary as I have only written in small bite size pieces before!

    I am just telling myself to write lots of small bite size pieces on the same subject! lol

    Anyway, very well done, great post thanks for sharing your process and I am glad to have found your blog. :-)