Hello, dear readers!
It’s been almost two months since Dandelion Symphony came out, and I’m here today to tell you more about my actual publishing journey. I talked a bit about it in my interview with Alicia Canet on her blog, Midgard’s Writers, but today I’m going to go more into the finer details.
A Poetry Collection vs. Novelettes
As you may know, I’ve self-published two books by this point. I started off with a mini fantasy series, Last of the Memory Keepers, and my latest book is my poetry collection, Dandelion Symphony.
What is the difference between the two? Target audience for one. I wrote the LMK series to be a fast-paced adventure for readers who don’t have a lot of reading time on their hands. DS, on the other hand, is nonfiction and isn’t meant to be read in one sitting, though it’s short enough that it could be.
Another difference: format. You can buy both books in e-book and print form. Only, the LMK series comes in individual e-books and a print collection, whereas DS is an individual book in print and digital.
Last but not least is experience. This time around, I know what to expect from sales and how to market better. I incorporated a lot more feedback than before (thanks again to my beta readers, editor, and proofreaders!), and I had a ton of fun with my blog tour. Now, I’ve even set it up so purchasing signed copies is super easy. All you have to do is use Square. When shipping, I’ve even learned to use media mail (which is cheaper!) and to add insurance.
Audio and Visuals
Did you know poetry was originally meant to be read aloud? Sometimes, it still is. When it came to reviewing my poems, I read them aloud to some of my beta readers, which helped me figure out what sounded right and what didn’t. Though you can enjoy the book while reading silently, each poem has been sound good too. At some point, I think it would be fun to put together an audiobook, but I’d have to do more research first.
When it comes to the visuals for DS, I had a lot of fun! First, I changed the format of some of my poems, which is always fun to play with. Then, I commissioned an artist to do some sketches based on some of my favorite places in Europe. I seriously wish I could have commissioned each and every one of my favorite places, but then I’d be broke. The ones I did select correlate with the seasons and themes of their sections.
Speaking of commissions, this time around, I had an easier time of figuring out how to find the right people. First, I asked on Twitter if anybody knew where to find some great artists for interior sketches. While I received a ton of offers from artists directly, I also got recommended to check out Fiverr, which I ultimately utilized for both my interior artist and cover designer.
I really like the way the site made it easy to search for artists and the plethora of options. I actually had a hard time choosing between two interior artists, but I ultimately went with the one who’s style I liked the best. Though the site had some minor glitches, posting details for my commission was relatively easy to work with.
Fiverr itself takes a small portion of the commission fee to keep up the website, but creating a profile and browsing is free. At the end, after I approved the final submission, I had the option to tip the artist, which I did and highly recommend. If you like the work you receive, leave a tip! Then, both the buyer (myself) and the seller leave reviews of each other, which is awesome. Though I’ve never sold anything on it, from what I gather, the site is both buyer and seller friendly.
Formatting and Publishing
Last but not least came the dreaded formatting. Dreaded for me anyway. I don’t know why I hate it so much. Maybe because it seems like I’d spend five minutes fixing one problem, upload the manuscript to double-check it, wait for it to load, get up, grab some tea, maybe a snack, come back. It’s still loading. Open Pinterest. It’s finally loaded. Check to see if the mistake is fixed. It is! Then I find five more.
So I repeat the process all over again. Or maybe the problem isn’t fixed, and I spend the next half hour tweaking the same thing over and over until I get it right. Most of the tweaking was adding a space or a tab to get the poems’ shapes right. Writing poetry is fun. Formatting poetry for publication? Not so much.
Yeah, it’s a little painful, especially since I don’t have an actual formatting software. Microsoft Word isn’t exactly known for its e-book capabilities. I actually had to call up one of my friends who worked in graphic design to try to figure out how to get some of my pictures to show up in the actual e-book.
In the end, I got it all worked out before my self-imposed deadline, and the final book looks great, if I may say so myself. I had a lot of help along the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful. The best part of self-publishing? Holding the final copy in your hands and smelling it.
To wrap up, if you’re ever considering self-publishing your own book, here are just a few roles I’d recommend looking into. Some of the roles you can fill yourself, but some require a second pair of eyes:
- critique partners (mandatory)
- beta readers (mandatory)
- sensitivity readers (depends on the topic)
- interior artist (optional)
- interior designer (optional)
- cover designer (optional)
- editor (mandatory)
- proofreader (mandatory)
- marketer (optional)
- book bloggers (optional)
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading about my self-publishing journey. If you haven’t already grabbed your copy of Dandelion Symphony, you can do so now!
Let’s chat! Any other indie authors out there? What’s your favorite part of the publishing process? Have you read Dandelion Symphony yet? If so, what did you think?