This is the final segment of our self-pubbed author blitz. Today’s guest poster is Jenny Lee Sulpizio. Jenny has self-published a children’s book in the Christian market, has another self-pubbed children’s title about to be released, and is agented for her non-fiction work in progress.
Take it away, Jenny.
You’ve written something. You think it’s good, maybe even really good but like many others in the same boat, you might be unsure as to what steps to take next. Maybe you’re an author who has pursued traditional routes of publication before, but may have discovered that agents and editors alike haven’t responded to your work like you had originally hoped. No doubt, you have heard a lot about self-publishing as well but may have no idea as to where to begin or how to start such a process…or what exactly is involved.
So, what do you do?
For me, the decision to self-publish occurred on a whim. In fact, my children’s picture book manuscript had literally sat in a drawer for six long years prior to even considering the notion that I could publish the book myself. At that point, my work had already been rejected by agents (and publishers too), and rather than continue down “Rejection Road,” I simply stopped pursuing it all together. But I (like many authors), desperately desired to see my words in print, and obtain the opportunity to share the message of my book with others. I knew that self-publication was the path for me and in 2010 (by the recommendation of a good friend of mine), I found myself signing with a vanity publisher to produce my first children’s picture book titled, Mommy Whispers.
But I had absolutely no inkling as to what I was doing. I was naïve, clueless, and slightly misinformed.
You see, like most authors, I really believed in my work and felt that the story I had written combined with the book’s beautiful illustrations would instantly propel it (and me) to the bestseller’s list…maybe even overnight. In retrospect, this evokes laughter within because even though my heart was in the right place, my head was definitely not. Sure I had just put a lot of work into producing my book but was I prepared for the road that lay ahead? Not in the least. I had no idea what this journey would require or expect of me. And at the time, I didn’t have a firm grasp on the reality of what I had just signed myself up for. Indeed, it would be one of the toughest tasks I would knowingly possess and assume: the role of a self-published author.
So, are you ready for this? Here’s what you need to know:
If you’re thinking that “self-pubbing” is your publication path of choice, then you must become an informed and well-researched author prior to finalizing this decision. Believe me when I say that there is a lot to learn and research, and you must be willing to spend a lot of time doing so. Do not jump into this task lightly and be fully aware of what this process will require from you (both financially and emotionally). Keep in mind that as a self-published author, you will literally be in control of the entire production of your book, and while this may sound tempting at first, there is a lot to consider before you proceed.
Think about these points before you jump in:
1.) The Moola. Do you have the money to finance this project? Now, I’m not just referring to the actual book itself but also to the editing, illustrating (if applicable), and marketing fees you will need to invest in. You must plan accordingly and make sure you have enough money for each of these areas and more.
2.) The Time Factor. Do you have the time to devote to this endeavor? Getting your book to print is only half the battle. You have to be prepared to spend a significant amount of time marketing (and pushing) your book so that it gets seen, reviewed, and noticed.
3.) The Market. Do you know how to market your project? Social media sites, personal websites, and blogs are just the beginning. There is an art to marketing and you need to begin your research on how to do so effectively.
4.) The Prep Work: Have you been to writer conferences, networked with other authors, researched the writing realm? Are you prepared and is your work ready for publication?
5.) The Reality: Even though you might see your book on Amazon, be prepared not to see it in stores. Understand that self-publication is hugely (and mostly) an online business due to the way in which books are distributed (in conjunction with traditional publishing houses). Know this upfront.
So, was it all worth it?
In one word: Yes. So much so, that I’ll release yet another children’s picture book by means of self-publication this November (There’s Just Something About a Boy, Ajoyin, 2011). But this time, I am fully prepared and understand the expectations required of me. I am no longer completely clueless and Amen for that!
On a final note, remember this: Self-publishing as a whole, is not an easy process but if you are dedicated, determined, and willing to dedicate an enormous amount of effort, it may just be the route for you.
I wish you all the best of luck in your publication pursuits.
Jenny Lee Sulpizio, M.S. is a wife, business owner, and mother of three residing in Boise, Idaho. She is an active member within her church and community, and enjoys tapping into her creative side whenever she gets the chance. Mommy Whispers, an ode to mothers and daughters everywhere was the first children’s picture book released in a series that will also include, There’s Just Something About a Boy, set to release this fall. Jenny is a member of SCBWI and is currently represented by The Seymour Agency for her Women’s Christian Non-fiction works-in-progress.
Please visit Jenny at www.jennysulpizio.com to learn more about the author, her blog, and upcoming projects.
So, this concludes our self-pubbed author blitz. We had a number of readers send us questions about self-pubbing – did you find your question answered? If not, share it below. Would you consider self-publishing for your own work?
Did you miss the other posts in our series? Find them here: