Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Blogger Wednesday's Presents: Author Katrina Butler Hill : Are you ready to self publish?

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By: Katrina B. Hill, author (2013)
Twitter: @KbhWritesItRaw

With the recent success of 50 Shades of Grey author, E.L. James it seems every person that I come in contact with wants to become an author. I’m often asked, “How easy is it to write a book?” “How long did it take to write your book?” “How much money did you make from your book?” and I often hear, “I have a story to tell” “I know something that will help somebody” “I know people will want to read my book.”

True enough we all have a story to tell but we must ask ourselves who wants to listen? People who have written a novel or aspire to become an author lean towards self-publishing or becoming an independent writer rather than using a publishing company for many reasons. Authors who choose to self-publish must be ready to face the many obstacles that await. After self-publishing two novels, When the Well Runs Dry (2011) and When the Well Runs Dry – Hushed Secrets (2012) I have had my share of enduring the good, the bad and the ugly.

Penning a novel is much more than sitting down and tapping away at your keyboard. It is digging deep and pulling out the words that will ultimately change the life of the person who takes the time to read them.

The Reasoning: The deciding factor should be whether or not you want to be prosperous or popular from your book.  Are you writing to make a lot of money or are you writing to see your name written across the cover of a book? Is it a lifelong dream and you desire personal fulfillment or do you want to sell millions of copies? What are your intentions? Are you planning to educate? Are you planning to entertain? Will you write fiction or non-fiction material? Once you’ve answered these questions you will have a better idea as to how you will start, finish, promote and distribute your titles. Before deciding to write your novel it is a good rule of thumb to know why you want to put time, resources and energy into a project that might not give an expectant return.  

The Competition/Audience: As I aforementioned, there are hundreds maybe millions of people that feel their story is one that should be heard by readers across the globe. What virgin writers must keep in mind is that new and seasoned authors are producing more books every day and they must take into consideration if their book is different from the many books already on the market. How does their book standout amongst the rest? Authors must make sure they have a definite understanding of whom they plan to reach with their words. Who is the target audience?

The Frustrations: Excitement begins to weigh in once your newly printed book is in your hands. Turning the crisp white pages you begin to fantasize about the millions of copies you are sure to sell. The truth of the matter is that no matter how good you, your family and friends gloat over your novel there will be some backlash, feelings will be hurt and some of the people you thought would purchase your novel won’t. If any of the aforementioned scenarios bothered you as you read my checklist I suggest putting your laptop away now! You must remember that as an author having and maintaining a thick skin is vital. To avoid some of these frustrations be sure to focus on the group of people (target audience) you want to reach and remain focused on keeping their attention.

The Cost: It is very important for self-published authors to have and keep a budget. In most conventional scenarios publishing companies handle the cost of producing the book so they are in control of the finances. As customers make book purchases the publishing company/publisher makes an agreement to give the author royalties from the sales on a monthly or quarterly basis. Self-published authors are responsible for hiring their own editors, book cover producers, print companies, distributors and they handle their own promotions.