Friday, June 22, 2012

Self-Pubbing vs. Small Press: I Must Be Insane!

Self-Pubbing VS Small Press: 
I must be insane!
Guest Post by Rachel Firasek
 
I’m very excited to be here today, and want to give a big Thank You to Tami for making it happen.

I’ve been writing seriously for about three years now, and I’m still waiting for that book to come to me that says, “This is it!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the books that have poured out of me, but I don’t think I’ve found that “Book of my heart” that everyone speaks about. The closest one to that label is probably Piper’s Fury.

I was very lucky to have that book picked up by Heather Howland when she was at Crescent Moon Press, my first small press to work with. She taught me all about amateur writing and brought me into a different level of storytelling.  And, after five months of sweet patience from her, we finally had Piper’s story edited to a fine art and ready for publications. As I said, I was very lucky she took a chance and believed that there was a really good story beneath the basic beginner’s voice.

After that story, I went on to publish three more novellas with small presses over the span of 2011. So, that made a total of 4 books published last year and another novella that came out in Feb 2012. Yes, I’ve been one busy little bee.

Small Presses will teach and take a chance on you when one of the Big 6 won’t. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to be bigger and better. Learn from them. Grow. Be better.

In July 2012, I’ll be releasing my very first Indie Pub novella. It’s part of the Unspun Series with authors Berinn Rae and Elle J Rossi. I can’t tell you how wonderful working on this story has been. We gave ourselves realistic deadlines, took our time writing them, revised them, critiqued them, and then had a professional editor proof them. Yes, we’re doing it right.

Why self pub?

Well, mostly because I was tired of deadlines, I needed a chance to write something for art and not feel like I was deconstructing my story, and I wanted the control. Don’t get me wrong, I love my publishers, but it was just such a busy year last year that I really developed some bad writing habits—forgetting that I had children, husband, family, a life—that I needed to get back to some fundamentals.

I made a list of all the things that worked for me and didn’t with both styles of publishing, and I’d love to share them.

Small Press VS Indie:

SP Win: Having a professionally trained editor work with you to make your story perfect.

IP Lose: Having to pay for a professionally trained editor to make your story perfect.

SP Win: Marketing with other authors and often splitting the cost of advertising.

IP Lose: It’s a lone marketing adventure.

SP Lose: Drama. Anytime you get that many women, artist, professionals together, there will be some sort of drama or hurt feelings or misunderstandings— it may not be with you directly, but you’ll witness it.

IP Win: No Drama, unless you argue with yourself.

SP Lose: Loss of control. You are at the mercy of the publisher.

IP Win: All the control. If your book isn’t as ready as you’d like, you can extend deadlines. It’s a wonderful thing.

These are just a few of the differences, but they are the ones that made me try an Indie Pub book. I’m crossing my fingers that this story is a success and if it’s not, I’ll just write another, lol. Each book is different and you never know when that “Book of your heart” will appear. I’m still chasing mine. 

I’d love to know if you are published, why you chose the route you took. Please feel free to share. 

About the author:
Rachel Firasek grew up in the south and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature, and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairytales, before she settled on a blending of the two.

Today you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad 80’s dance moves.

She’s intrigued by anything unexplained and seeks the answers to this crazy thing we call life. You can find her where the heart twists the soul and lights the shadows… or at www.rachelfirasek.com.

This is part of a weekly feature, posted each Friday, which looks at publishing related topics. If you are interested in doing a guest post, please contact me.

Previous posts:
Indie Authors are on the Wrong Side of the Tracks by Darian Wilk
Why Do Indie Writers Need Editors by Valerie Douglas
Let's Talk About Sex ... in YA Books - Is Sexual Content Appropriate by Deb Hanrahan
Traditional vs. Self-Publishing: Why I Chose to Fight the Odds by Ryan Graudin
It's All About Me - Marketing and Branding as an Indie Author by Patti Larsen

26 comments:

  1. Hmm. I have never though about trying to use small presses for my work. I really like that idea. At first, I was going to do indie, but small press seems like a good way to go too.

    There are so many options!

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  2. Absolutely and the only way you'll know if they work for you is to try them. Best of luck!!!

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  3. It's funny you've posted this. Though I'm now multi-published (and I will always thank/blame you for that!) I have to admit I've been curious about self pubbing. Enough so that I'm considering venturing into it for one series only. The rest, I think, will go to various publishers. Good luck!

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    1. Ah, thank you!!! I'm so glad that you are having such success! :) It's definitely worth testing the waters. I'll let you know how everything is going next month. :)

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  4. Rachel,I have my first book coming out in September 2012 from a small press. It has been a joy to work wtih them so far. In fact the second book in the series will be coming out in January of 2013. By the way, I loved Piper's Fury. It was an excellent read. I'm looking forward to reading your others, Marian

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    1. Marian, thank you!!! Oh, be sure to keep me in the know for your release!!! I'll post a review for it. :) Congrats and I wish you huge sales!

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  5. Hi Rachel - nice post and I'd love to see a follow-up sometime down the road comparing both routes with hind-sight!

    I'm published with a small press. The reasons for my decision: The 'validation' of having an editor choose my work as an unpublished author, professional editing, cover art, etc included.

    I know several people who self-published and I think I'm capable of putting that together. I just don't want to. I have too many demands on my time already. I may consider it in the future, so I'm keeping abreast of posts like these from authors who have done both!

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    1. Irene, I think it depends on your publisher as to how much hassle you have to go through. But, I hear ya! It's definitely nice to have that validation and direction. Thanks for the comments!

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  6. Rachel, thank you for your wise and thoughtful contrasts. I have published with several small presses of varying quality. Mostly I like getting paid, and that only happened with one or them, Amira Press, a publisher that sends monthly statements and a check. Many small presses are honest, but some are not.
    As many authors are doing, I'm setting my sites on self pubbing. It puts us in control.

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    1. Wow, Kathleen, I'm sorry you had problems with payment. I've been very fortunate with my pubs being consistent and on time with payment. Control is awesome, if...you understand publishing and marketing. :) Best wishes!

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  7. I've gone from being published with small presses, to being predominantly self-published. Like you, I got sick of the drama. I don't regret my decision in the slightest, but recently I've been looking at submitting some of my shorter pieces to some of the small press publishers who are doing well.
    My reason for doing this is partly to work with different editors so I can continue to grow within my writing, but also to reach different markets. I don't expect to make much money from my subbed stories though I'm lucky enough to make enough from my self-pubbed work now for that not to matter.
    I'm still 100% behind self-publishing, but small presses - as long as they have a good reputation - can certainly offer benefits as well.

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    1. I like your of idea of dabbing your finger into different markets. I'm glad that your self pubbed titles are working out for you! And, I totally agree about the small presses serving a purpose!

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  8. Great post, Rachel. My first book is being published with Etopia (a small press, as you well know) this fall. I chose this route because it is almost impossible to get an agent nowadays. And if you don't have an agent, you can forget about the big six. So far my experience with Etopia has been great and I think working with them with help me to improve my writing so maybe I can get an agent one day. But to be honest, I don't really aspire to publish with the big six. I have issues with how they're doing business these days. So not sure where to go from here... Ultimately, I think I'll probably take the self-pub route, too.

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    1. Yay! Etopia has been so great to me. I hope you are loving your experience. The first is always the most exciting. :) I'm not really all that worried about the big 6, although, I can't say I wouldn't pub with them if they came knocking, lol. I don't want to self-pub every title, but for these shorts, I think indie works. :) Best wishes!

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  9. Hi Rachel! Great post. I write for 2 publishers that have been a pleasure to work with, so it hasn't occured to me to publish on my own. But I think it's great we have so many options open to us today. Good luck.

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    1. I didn't really have the idea either, until two lovely ladies approached me. It's been a blast.

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  10. This is really great, Rachel! I think you nailed those win/loss categories. I, too, like the freedom Indie Publishing allows me, but it has to be done well. Hopefully all the steps we took for the Unspun novellas will make them stick out--in a good way!

    Since I just recently signed with a small press, I'm excited to have that experience as well.

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    1. Woot! Congrats again! :) It's funny how everything just fell into place.

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  11. Hi lovely, Rachel, Ah, I'm so happy you decided to "test" the waters going Rogue. Yes, there are good vs. bad points in both, but the Good in Indie far outweigh the bad. Nothing can replace "freedom" in any walk of life. This is what I adore in Indie publishing -- more control over YOUR book. Amazon has opened a new, wonderful world to authors. Just think -- no more 12.5 or 35-40 percent royalties. At last, authors will be paid 70% for THEIR work, "their* being the key word here.

    glad to have you aboard the wonderful world of self-publishing if only in part!

    Hugs, Keta
    http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com

    ps: you deserve the best, Rachel!

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    1. Keta, thank you so-so much. I've been stalking you since I started writing and dare-I-say, I adore your stories. :) You and several other "rogues" have inspired me to take a step into the world of independence. Woot! Thank you for all you've done!!!

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  12. I've tried both small press and self-pubbing... You learn so much from all you do in this business that I think both are worthwhile! :)

    Wishing you all the best with the indie novella Rachel!!! I'm sure it'll be awesome!

    Lisa :)

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    1. I agree, Lisa. That's why there are pros and cons for both. :) I've learned so much from my small press experience--most of it good. Thanks for stopping by!!!

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  13. Rachel, Piper's Fury is one of the books of my heart! Oh, but I gues you know that already. :-)

    I'm a reader not a writer, I'm just not that creative to do what you do. But I will say that some of my most favorite books and authors have been among the indie published world.

    I'm exited to be part of the upcoming releases for Rae, Rossi, and yourself, and wish you ladies the best!

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    1. Ah, you always make me tear up. Thank you, Rhonda. It's readers like you--and sometimes just you--that keep me going. Big goofy Texas hug, girlie!

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  14. Great post, Rachel! Insightful and dead on. I have no regrets cutting my teeth at a small house, and I've absolutely loved dipping my toes in the self publishing world with you!

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    1. And the feeling is very mutual! :) We are going to rock the world next month. :)

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