Bonjour! I am Lillian Archer, and I am tres excited to be posting on Magical Words today. Merci beaucoup to the MW team, and go buy some of their books.
My book, Prodigal Spell, is a historical fantasy set in 1790s London and the Caribbean at the height of British colonial expansion. It is the story of Julia Richmond, a London society wife, who is hiding her witchcraft from her husband, her friends, and the church. She must choose between the man she loves or a heritage she detests before a demon kills her father. It is a story about severely fractured people and relationships hiding in a historical fantasy.
I began my publishing journey like many others- I procured an agent, and then waited for a contract from a publishing house. Not a single house wanted to purchase the book. Several houses expressed interest, and I offered to rewrite my book, but the only suggestions most houses offered were to rewrite it as a romance. One problem- I am not a romance writer, and I do not want to be one.
You see, as a debut author in today’s publishing climate, the publishers we were speaking with had no idea how to market my book. It was a genre-blending affair, and that did not compute with their algorithms. An established author with a following like D.B. Jackson- sure, they would talk. But not to me.
Here is where I start making disclaimers. The opinions I am about to relate are mine alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Magical Words regular contributors, their agents, their publishers, etc. My opinions are such- not fact, and not applicable to everyone. Your mileage may vary. When I talk about self-publishing, I am specifically referring to ebook only format. Self-pubbed books as print books is a whole different post.
I decided to self-publish because at the root of the matter was my conviction that my work was too good to sit on my hard-drive collecting virtual dust. My agent, and others whose opinion I value (and not a one of them related to me) agreed. I started reading blogs, trolling the Kindle boards, and generally educating myself on self-pubbing.
Self-publishing is much like traditional publishing- all the same steps are present. I vetted and hired proofreaders, developmental editors, formatters, and cover artists. I coordinated all these professionals on a timeline to publication. I established accounts on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, a website with a blog, and Goodreads. I developed a marketing plan, established a budget, and kept the whole thing going, all while outlining and writing book two. I will be up on Wattpad with a few short stories based in this world later this year, because I want to use the same peeps and that is the time schedule I must work within.
The easiest part by far was actually uploading the files to the different websites. My formatters provided me with separate files for Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers, as well as simple directions to effect a successful upload. Tres easy.
The hardest part? Everything else. Maintaining a production schedule and sticking to it. Keeping on task to meet deadlines. Researching every step in the process, and ensuring I brokered with professionals and not scam predatory companies out to make money on my inexperience.
Self-publishing is a good decision for me because it allows me to place a niche product in the marketplace. This may not work depending on your genre- I am particularly thinking of children’s books, maybe even middle-grade books, picture books, or some non-fiction because the electronic format is not conducive to seeing those works in their intended consummation.
All this to say that IMO, if someone wants to self-publish because they think that is a get-rich-quick scheme, then please reconsider. It is a lot of work for a questionable return on investment. If you want to self-publish because it offers a better business plan for you, then go for it. Just understand that in the end, we are all authors doing the same things- writing stories we hope entertain others. For me, anyway, that is my ultimate goal.
Lillian Archer bio:
Bonjour! I live in Virginia, love historical things, and have been known to hang about cemeteries or haunted places to talk with the natives. I run, so that I can work out plot details in my head. I cook when I have to, but it is magnificent when I do. I love the Caribbean, and ask me about hiking my first volcano there if you see me at a conference. My first work, Prodigal Spell, is available at Amazon.