Sharing My Knowledge of Self-Publishing
A few weeks back I shared some of what I’ve learned about the self-publishing process with my fellow members of the Spirit of the Hills Writers Group. Let me start by conveying that this was done with no small measure of Imposter Syndrome, having not even finished my WIP first novel, let alone published it!
On the other hand, I’m a pretty good learner and researcher. The first question that loomed in my mind after undertaking to finally write a novel was “should I go the traditional or self-published route?” That question has been asked many a time and there’s lots of information out there, much of it superficial, introductory level stuff that’s been said a hundred different ways. How an author answers the question depends on many reasonably deterministic considerations and a large dose of free choice, or even an educated guess. For me it was Nathan Lowell’s insights that convinced me to go the self-publishing route.
That decision made, I have undertaken to learn as much as I can about how to do that successfully. Like many other neurodivergent (ND) folks, this means taking a near-obsessive deep dive into the subject, cataloguing everything I know and trying to form it into something coherent. Over the past year I’ve found many great resources, some truly awful advice, even more superficial analyses. I have accumulated copious notes.
This makes me sound like I know what the hell I’m doing, and in turn that resulted in a request to give a short talk on the subject. There’s no way to compress everything I’ve learned into a 15 minute presentation, and the last thing I wanted to do was merely offer a live version of a superficial overview that anyone can find with a quick web search.
After a few false starts seeking feedback from my fellow members, I sent out a slightly cheeky survey designed to tell me more about where they were in the self-publishing process, got some great responses, and put together a presentation that I thought would at least touch on the things respondents expressed an interest in. Naturally in another typically ND trait, this was done very late the night before the actual presentation.
Speaking of ND traits, another one is perfectionism. I’ve managed to tame this one at least to the point where imperfection doesn’t make me overly anxious, but that doesn’t mean to say that I wasn’t concerned that my overview would be too basic while simultaneously thinking it would be too nuanced and technical. Why can’t it just be perfect? [Maybe that’s a driver for doing stuff at the last minute. At some point it becomes impossible to endlessly tweak the thing, the stage is open, on with the show, this is it!]
The presentation was made, there were no “let me get back to you on that” questions, my audience — many of them actual self-published authors — seemed pleased. Good stuff. Then the feedback started coming in, all of it positive; some so much so that I wondered if they saw a different presentation. Success, yet still a success that a very small part of me says is unwarranted. Maybe when I get through everything my presentation described and that first purchaser of my novel really, really likes it. Then I’ll be able to deliver a presentation like this without feeling there’s a base coat of illegitimacy. Maybe.