IT'S ALL ABOUT CONTROL
When I was asked to write a post on my experiences in self-publishing, I didn't know where to begin. This is my fourth attempt. The last three were dry, boring, and all over the place. I finally decided to narrow my focus. Today I want to talk about control; specifically, who has control over your book?
If you go the traditional route, which I did several years ago, you have to sit back and watch control slip through your fingers as other people take your book on as their project. In some ways this is a good thing. When I published with Harlequin, I had a team of editors going over my manuscript line by line. That alone will give you real peace of mind, but you have to give up control. It isn't just your baby anymore.
On my first book, the title was changed to something that makes me cringe even now. I tried to offer my editor a list of new titles, but she was set on the one that I hated. In the end I gave into pressure, half-afraid my book wouldn't be published if I didn't let them have their way. On the second book, almost every single aspect of it was changed by the editors. First, they wanted me to change my main character's name to something they liked better. Then they wanted me to get ride of her family, move her out of town, and basically rewrite everything. I think the only thing they liked about the story was the idea of it. To this day the book feels like it is more theirs than mine.
But now I've self-published a book called Vampires Rule, a YA Urban Fantasy with a unique twist on the whole vampire thing. I have total control over this book, which isn't always a good thing. There were a few times when I wasn't sure if I should leave something in or take it out. I asked a friend and she said, "It's your book." Then one day the truth of it hit home. It is my book. I am totally responsible for how it turns out. Not only do I have to make sure it's edited properly, I have to create the cover, format it as an ebook, and do all the marketing.
It's been kind of rough to be honest with you. There have been times when I thought I should forget the whole thing and stay in bed, but the book is available on Smashwords now. I'm hoping to have it on Amazon someday soon. The marketing, I think, has been the worst part. Starting a blog and joining social networking groups like Facebook has left me very little time to write. Sometimes I feel like I am going up to everyone in the world one person at a time, tapping them on the shoulder and asking, "Would you like to read my book?"
I've given up time to write, sleep, and inner peace, but I have total control over my book. If you want to know if it was worth it, ask me next year after I've had time to promote it some more. I'll be able to answer you then. Hope this was helpful.
By K.C. Blake