A few weeks ago, I was answering a series of questions someone had sent me for an interview. One of the questions stood out in my mind — what have I, as an independent author, learned about publishing? It took me a while to answer that particular question, but the gist that I’ve come to realize is that there are two main things:
1. Start launching your publication at least six months before it actually launches.
2. Learn all you can from everyone you meet.
In one of my Facebook groups, I met up with Claire Plaisted, an independent author and publisher, and decided to not only pick her brain about indie publishing, but to share the results here on the ol’ blogaroo.
Q (Infamous Scribbler): What were some of the factors in deciding to go the indie publishing route rather than the traditional publishing route?
A (Claire Plaisted): My main factors for going into Self-Publishing were via a journey through one agent and some rejects from publishing houses. First you have to learn how to set it out, how they like, of course though there are general rules, each publishing house is different to a degree. Tabs were the main one I had to learn. Then you need to look for a Publisher who works with your genre, many of which won’t take your work unless you have an agent. Good agents are even harder to find. Publishing houses give you absolutely no feedback, just saying, “Not what we want right now” even though it is the genre they were asking for. So I thought, forget it for now. I will self-publish. The learning curve began…
Q: On your Web site, you mention that there was a challenge in formatting paperbacks as opposed to ebooks. What are some other challenges of becoming an independent author, and what helped you overcome them?
A: Formatting books to eBooks and or print is hard work when you don’t have a clue what to do. My learning curve on the do’s and don’ts are on my blog.
eBooks don’t have a back cover, nor do they have page numbers. You don’t have to play with font size or margins over much. The one important step is the hyper-links, so a reader can get to any chapter they wish.
Print books do have a back cover! They do have page numbers and a Contents page. Print books do need formatting a certain way so they look like any other book you read.
My main challenge was re-learning English grammar. I am still learning even now and enjoy improving myself. Noting that spelling and grammar are different in each English-speaking country does pose a challenge. I am useless with Modern English and how people use it. Tell me in simple English and I’ll be fine. Another challenge – the book covers. I used Fiverr website and also a student graphic designer. So far so good! It was the different sizes and dpi which was confusing, depending on which website you uploaded your book online and whether it was an eBook or Print.
Q: You have books in a variety of genres, including children’s, family history, short stories, and the Garrett Investigative Bureau series. In addition to these, what are some genres you might still want to try, or are you going to stick with your current ones?
A: Yes, I do have a variety of genres. My first was actually a Regency Mystery Romance, which is still to be finalised and published. I also have a young adults Sci-Fi somewhere….I am a prolific writer and enjoy having a go at genre. My next release is for very young children, a story to be read by parents. More about that later!!
Q: What advice do you have for other authors interested in the choice of going independent?
A: Have a great Editor! Know or learn what you are doing, ask others how they have achieved their publishing goals. Marketing is the biggy for us all. Don’t let it scare you off. There are plenty of resources and social media sites where you can learn what to do.
Q: What is new and upcoming from Claire Plaisted?
A: I have book five of the Garrett Investigation Bureau coming out in March, called “Mascosta’s Dreamgirl.” It is about assassins and terror bombing, with an evil doctor manipulating things behind the scenes. GIB gets involved by accident.
The one I wish to talk about though is “Girlie and the War of the Wasps.” This book was written primarily for my friend’s grandson, who is now three years old.
It is about a young bright blue ladybug called Girlie who starts the story with a rescue mission when some nasty lazy wasps kidnap her best friend. She discovers the problem of why the nasty wasps kidnap other bugs. Their diet as larvae is incorrect. With the help of Pedi the Centipede she goes on a quest to solve the problem, so they can all live in peace again.
I drew the concept drawing for the book cover and gave it to a local artist Martyn Evans to capture the characters and colours you’d find in a cottage garden, where the story is set.
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Interested readers can find Claire or her books on her Web site, her blog, which features author interviews, her Amazon author page, the Garrett Investigation Bureau Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and her Goodreads author page. For clients interested in her services for formatting for publication, you can find her on Facebook, or at the Plaisted Publishing Web Site.
Thanks again, Claire, for coming by to share your experience as an indie author!