I wonder if this is because:
1. It’s fairly straightforward;
2. It’s difficult but I have a good understanding of publishing (10 + years of experience), know a bit of HTML and CSS, and understand how to write a text design brief and how to manage freelance designers and typesetters;
3. I have skipped all of the hard bits, avoided the legal documents and I’m hoping for the best.
I tend to believe that it’s a combination of all three of these factors (and a few more that I’ll discover before the process is through).
Amazon’s CreateSpace has made it a lot easier than I expected. If you’re a writer, I can’t recommend this service enough. Does it mean you sell your soul to Amazon? Well considering the alternative (not selling your soul to anyone at all), then this is certainly the lesser of a world of evils.
As I’m a self-employed business owner, and I’m not currently flush with cash, using ODesk to find a designer to work with has been straightforward. Phew! BUT remember to spend money to get the best you can afford right now. Pay your freelancers more than they expect when they deliver quickly and more than you expected. Did they add a few creative extras–reward them!
Get your work edited. I studied editing, and I’m a word nerd, but I would never release anything professionally without having an editor work on my manuscript. You can read and re-read your work for years and still miss a lot of errors. I worked with Arran at Editing720 on my short stories–he was fast and straightforward in his approach.
To be honest, though, if you know little more than jack shit about publishing, book-building, ebooks or managing offshore freelancers, the learning curve is incredibly steep. I would recommend reading self-publishing articles by Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn. Her articles about writing and publishing have been invaluable over the years.
What I love most about self-publishing, is that I am the author of my writing destiny. Once upon a time, writers were expected to write, submit (beg) and hope that an agent/slush-pile editor/publisher’s child was in the right mood when they picked up your query, then sent off a request to see more pages, offer you a contract, do all your marketing and send you around the world on book signings.
Well, those days are long-gone. Sure, there are a few anomalies of the industry, who can publish a version of the same story over and over again, and receive stop marketing spend from their publisher regardless of the shit they produce. The reality is that a writer may receive a contract, and then nothing happens. It’s the literary equivalent of having a story optioned by a film producer. It’s done, you have the paperwork, but there are no fireworks. Having a publisher does not guarantee sales (or marketing).
Am I self-publishing because I’m not good enough to be accepted by a traditional publisher? Dunno because I decided not to play that game. I have not sent my recent work to a publisher or agent, mainly because life’s short and I want to write and see my work in print and, ultimately, move people. That’s it.
You want to write? Write.
You want to publish? Publish!
The print edition of my collection of short stories, Girls, will be available soon.