Welcome to Part Two of my interview with self-published author Darian Wilk. In Monday’s post, Darian shared a little about herself, her writing process, and what inspired her book, LOVE UNFINISHED. Today, Darian talks about her experience with the self-publishing process, and her advice for writers considering self-publishing.
Darian will be giving one Inky Fresh reader a copy of her book, LOVE UNFINISHED. Scroll to the bottom of this post for details.
BG: Why did you decide to self-publish?
DW: This was not my initial plan when I took on writing professionally; in fact it never even occurred to me to learn about self publishing. I held the same daydream a lot of writers do, a contract with a great agent, signed deal with a huge publisher, and one day you walk into Barnes & Noble and oh look, there’s your book! I queried, and queried, and queried, but life has a way of trying to point you in the right direction if you’re willing to listen.
A friend asked me when I would put my work on Kindle. “What? By myself? Well, I…I couldn’t do that, could I?” It baffled me at first, no agent, no publisher, like he was speaking gibberish. I begin researching, burying myself in books and websites until my eyes might bleed. I am a take charge woman, I like to be in control of my life, and the more I dug through the information the more I realized self-publishing would be a better fit for someone like me than traditional publishing.
I am the boss, I hold the power to my future, I make the decisions. Sure, it’s terrifying at times, but at the end of the day holding my own fate in my hands outweighs the worry.
BG: I love the comment from your friend. (“Why not publish on Kindle?”) For so many readers, they don’t seem to care about whether or not the book is published by a big publisher. They just want a great story!
What was the self publishing process like for you?
DW: With self publishing you can do it all yourself, hire it all out, or mix it and do a little of both as I did. That’s the beauty of this route, the choice is yours. The formatting I tackled myself, and through Createspace, the printer, it’s a breeze because they have pre-formatted templates for every trim size. Other distributors, such as Kindle, Smashwords, and the like was a challenging task because every one requires a different formatting.
Not everyone chooses to hire an editor, but I did. It only takes a few minutes skimming through reviews to see readers can tell the difference between books that were professionally edited, and which ones weren’t. I wanted to give my book every advantage I could, and was in the position to handle the cost of an editor.
I also hired a cover designer, which ended up being a bit of a co-op deal. She’s a photographer, has amazing images, and I have enough knowledge that I could alter the images with her until we reached the final result. Which I couldn’t be more pleased with! But, having gained the knowledge that I did in this process, for the next book I will probably do it all myself.
While the whole process was at times stressful, tiring, and scary, it was a lot of fun for me. I love a good challenge. Once I decided to learn about HTML and create a website, just to see if I could. That’s the kind of person I am; if life doesn’t create a challenge, I do. So the challenge of publishing and becoming an Indie author was a very fun ride for me.
BG: (As a side note: I have to say — your cover is fantastic! Kudos to your cover designer!)
I think it’s interesting to think about the challenge of self-publishing, and how involved an author has to be in the process. Although it might be more time-consuming, and difficult because you have to learn so many new skills (formatting, cover design, etc.), you really do have so much more control over how your novel is presented to the world.
What advice would you give to other writers considering the self-publication process?
DW: Invest in Tylenol, lots of it! Be prepared to be permanently sleep deprived, and did I mention overworked? Aside from that, I think the best advice is to give the biggest consideration not to the work involved, but what type of person you are, and what your goals are. If you’re a loosey goosey, take life as it comes kind of person, then don’t set goals, or expect, success like Amanda Hocking. If you’re not a very organized, or business minded person (sticky notes everywhere, what filing system?), then expect to put a lot more work into it. Because you’ll not only have the work of publishing, but the work of changing your thinking and habits to reach the goals you set for yourself.
This is a business, and you’re the owner, and that’s not something you can approach with a nilly willy attitude, unless you’re OK with nilly willy results. If you’re a take charge, goal oriented, or organized person, then the transition to Indie author will be easier for you. So you need to ask yourself what kind of person you really are, and what do you want out of it.
The last thing is that if what’s holding you back is fear of the amount of work involved, don’t be scared. While yes, there’s more work in that YOU are responsible for getting it published, acquiring ISBN’s and such, but on the marketing side you’ll find it’s not much different than traditional publishing. Particularly for first time novelists. Because of the economy and it’s affect on the industry, much, if not all, of the marketing now lies on the authors shoulders. This is why you see many authors ditching their publishers for self publishing. They’re doing the same work, but getting much more royalties with self publishing.
BG: Great advice, Darian! I think it’s exciting to consider the possibilities self-publishing opens to writers, but it’s also refreshing to hear your perspective.
What will you be working on next?
DW: Currently I’m working on finishing my second novel, REINVENTING CLAIRE. It’s the story of a woman who thought she was happily married, until her husband says he’s been cheating on her and wants a divorce. It’s her journey of self-discovery, finding out who she is without her husband, and that there is love after him after all.
BG: Sounds like another intriguing premise. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?
DW: I would just like to thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be on your site and share this experience with your readers!
BG: The pleasure is mine, Darian. Thank you for the interview and good luck with your debut!
LOVE UNFINISHED Givewaway
To win a pdf copy of Darian’s book, LOVE UNFINISHED, leave a comment on this post by December 31st, 2011.
You can earn extra entries by:
- Commenting on Monday’s post, part one of this interview (+1),
- Tweeting about this giveaway (+1),
- Linking to this giveaway on Facebook or Google Plus (+2), or,
- Linking to this giveaway on in a blog post (+5).