Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Becoming A Hybrid Author, Part I

 by Sybil Johnson

The first five books in my Aurora Anderson series are traditionally published by a small press. When they decided not to publish the sixth one, I could have tried to get another publisher to take it on, but I figured that would be hard since the original publisher still had the rights to the first five. So I decided to publish Brush Up On Murder myself. Here are some things I learned along the way. This is Part I. You’ll see Part II in my next post in two weeks.

  • Give yourself permission to fail.
    I am a perfectionist. I dislike failing or looking stupid. This attitude can paralyze me and prevent me from doing things that scare me. This was an issue when I was figuring out how to put out my book. I could probably have done things faster if I hadn’t second guessed myself so much and felt so anxious. I had to learn to just forge ahead knowing I’d probably make mistakes, but that it was okay. 
  •  Plan ahead.
    I’m usually a planner but, for some reason on this particular adventure, I didn’t write out a plan with dates and deadlines like I should have. It was somewhat ad hoc. So don’t follow my lead. Remember that if you need someone to do your cover or edit your book or format your book, you need to find out when they’re available and work that into your plans. Also note that, for a print cover, the designer needs to know how many pages the formatted interior is so they can create the cover properly. 
  • Take stock of what you know and figure out what you need help on.
    Having been traditionally published was a help here. I’d seen the process so knew a little about what had to be done. Still, I wasn’t super sure about it so I took Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula course. While I discovered I knew a lot more than I thought I did, it did fill in a bunch of gaps for me and I have a backup whenever I have a question. I felt a lot more confident in my ability to get the book out. 
  •  Decide what you can do yourself and what you want to farm out.
    To publish a book, you have to (1) get a cover, (2) format the interior, (3) have it edited, (4) write the back of book copy. Okay, there are a lot of other details, but those are the major ones. I knew I didn’t have the ability to do the cover and I wanted someone I trusted to edit it. Luckily, the person who did the first four covers in my Aurora Anderson series was available to do this cover and the person who’d edited my first three books, who I trust so much, was doing freelance editing work. I hired those two for those items. I chose to format the book myself because I like doing that kind of stuff. I have a PC and didn’t want to buy a Mac in order to use Vellum, the book formatting software a lot of people use. Luckily, Atticus had recently become available. It works on my PC and, after a little learning curve, I found it fairly easy to use. I could format both the print version for IngramSpark (that’s what I use for the print book) and the ebook version through it. For the back of the book copy, I had to do that for my other books so that was something I knew I could do. 
  • Decide what’s most important to you and do that first.
    The “normal” course of putting out a new book seems to be to release the ebook version(s) and the print version(s) at the same time. This doesn’t have to be so. There’s a learning curve to it all. You don’t have to release all of the ebook versions (Kindle, Nook, Kobo) at the same time. You can decide to say, release the Kindle one first and follow up with the others later. Or not bother with the others at all. You don’t have to release the print version at the same time, either. Decide what versions are most important to you and do those first. Of course, if you feel like you’ve got it all in hand, release them all at the same time. That’s what I did. It’s a little easier on the ebook front because now you only have to produce the book in the .epub format and can upload that to Amazon, Nook and Kobo. 

See you in two weeks with more.


Thomas Kies said...

I"m looking forward to hearing more about this!!!

Sybil Johnson said...