Lessons Learned on the Way to Publishing POISON PILL
by Maria Granovsky
I’m not much of a rebel. I don’t have tattoos, haven’t run away from home, and didn’t expect to publish POISON PILL independently. But a handful of rejections from the traditional publishing industry reminded me that I’m not a big fan of the word “no,” and convinced me to strike out on my own. Here are some of the things I learned in the process.
Do not go for the cheapest option when hiring an editor.
Good professional editing is a must for an indie writer – nothing destroys the credibility of an author faster than putting out an unedited piece of work.
When first deciding on an editor, I somehow forgot the advice I always dispense to people searching for professional services to not concentrate solely on price. I went with the cheapest editor not blacklisted on Preditors & Editors (http://pred-ed.com/) (a baseline check for known scams).
This so-called editor dutifully marked every wrong comma in red ink. He also said I was quite talented. And that was all I got for my $1870.
The second round of editing, with Jane Cavolina, who came highly recommended by other writers, cost far more, but she whipped my manuscript into shape, and provided a master-class in writing. The lessons I learned by working with her will serve me in every future writing project, and that’s priceless.
Some things are worth paying for and some things…not so much.
A professional graphic designer who will read your novel, get your vision, then design a great cover for your book is worth the splurge. It’s your book’s face to the world — make sure it represents! Christine Van Bree (http://christinevanbreedesign.zenfolio.com/) is the graphic designer I used for POISON PILL, and I couldn’t ask for a better outcome.
If you decide you don’t want to deal with the nuts and bolts of publishing yourself, a reputable contract publisher may be worth the price. I went with Outskirts Press (www.outskirtspress.com). It was worth it to me because I didn’t have the time to climb the steep learning curve of self-publishing. But it is absolutely feasible with today’s technology to publish a great e-book at a fraction of the cost I incurred, albeit with more elbow-grease.
Here, however, is where good money goes to die unnecessarily. Before deciding to take jump into the self-publishing world, I wanted some assurance that the novel was good. I already had the comments of many readers who loved it, but I lacked confidence and wanted the imprimatur of Someone In The Industry. My insecurity cost me hundreds of dollars. I consulted two so-called “book doctors,” and quickly realized that neither of them more than skimmed the manuscript, because both missed the entire plot line of the novel. Adding insult to injury, one consistently called my protagonist by the wrong name. Of course, both offered the extensive editing that my novel supposedly required (for which each quoted a price upwards of $6000).
I’m not alone in experiencing this. I’ve heard about one person charging around $2000 to “assess” a novel, and the resulting commentary consisted of “I like the story. But the main character leaves me cold. I couldn’t empathize with her.” If you have spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, send your manuscripts to me, and I’ll pronounce judgment on them for half this price. I’ll even email you my thoughts, gratis.
Trust your gut and trust your early readers. Then trust a good editor. “Book doctors” or “manuscript assessors” add zero value, as far as I can tell.
And finally, remember you’re a writer.
Marketing the indie-published book is not for the shrinking violet, and not for those who can’t compartmentalize. If you live and die with every sale, your morale will be left in tatters very quickly (first-hand information here). Most important, marketing can take over all the time you have, until there’s nothing left for writing the next book. Yet many have concluded that it’s precisely that – the next book – that is your best marketing tool (see, for example, http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/06/19/book-promotion-for-self-publishers-a-waste-of-time/). So for at least a couple of hours a day, remember that you’re in the business of writing, not the business of selling books.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Legal Thriller
Rating – PG