Friday, August 10, 2018

Four little things about self-publishing (very basic stuff)

Art by: Lotus Blair
From Sinopa Publishing's first comic book anthology
Coming Summer of 2019

You can learn more about the artist Lotus Blair at her biography page HERE

Writing, publishing, and game have become a fierce passion of mine.  Over the last year I've made the acquaintance of (and built professional relationships with) several artists, other game designers, a handful of bloggers and podcasters, and received some very helpful criticism.  Since I've begun this journey I've launched five Kickstarter campaigns, with four funding.  I'll soon be fulfilling The Steel Road, and will then launch my sixth KickStarter campaign for Whispers of Persephone.  I've had a fantastic time as release books and plan for the release of exciting new titles!

This is just my experience, short as it may be.  For all of you who have been reading this blog, the trio who follow it and all of you who follow me directly, I want to thank you for joining me on this journey.

Thank you.

Many of you are creating your own content and planning on publishing.  Some of you have been planning on doing so for quite some time.  I would like to encourage you to take the next step, to put your material together, to copyright and upload your book and share your vision with the world.  Whether you write darkly beautiful horror, romance, fiction or non-fiction, comics or games, your creations bring you joy.  I tell you that it is a wonderful experience when people are reading your work or playing your games.  Yes, even if it is only a handful of people.  Yes, even if you aren't making your living or even most of your income from your writing and development, it is worth it.
What you really need to do to publish your stuff (a very basic overview)

1) Something you created ~ Write the book, create the game, draw/ink/color/letter the comic (yes, comics are a LOT of work).  Have a few people look it over for any problems.  Accept the criticism for what it is worth. If people aren't being constructively critical, I don't listen to them.  "I don't like" isn't enough, you need criticism that analyzes the problems so you can understand them and decide whether they are actually 'problems' or not and if they need to be edited or left in.  Produce to the highest quality you are capable of and keep at it.  Hone your skills by using them and create better books each time.

2) ISBN and Bar code for printed works ~ This is an expense and was one of the things that pushed me toward crowdfunding (along with the need for copious amounts of art).  Amazon talks about these at length.  As my use of these is based on that source I'll leave the link to that information HERE, but you can also get a lower cost per ISBN and Bar code by picking them up directly in larger numbers (see details HERE).  Do yourself a favor and read it.  Don't skim it, don't just go to the comments on forums, read the information and digest it.

Screen capture from Bowker ~ basically $30 per ISBN for a ten pack
rather than $130 each.  Save yourself some money in the long term.

3) Digital, Print or Both ~ Decide how you make your book available. 

If you are releasing digitally, and I think anyone who self-publishes will probably recommend that you do, identify the platforms you are going to be making your book available on.  Read their terms of use.  Let's say that again.  READ THEIR TERMS OF USE! Decide if you're going to be release under an 'exclusive' agreement or not.  For me, I'm not exclusive with any one platform.  I like it that way but it means I have more than one site to keep up with as far as looking at my overall traffic.  Keep this in mind!  

If you are releasing in print or by print on demand:  Ordering a print run is expensive.  I strongly recommend that before you order a print run of any product that you have funding well in hand.  Crowdfunding is a great way to do this and minimize your financial risk.  If you are releasing by print on demand, READ THE TERMS OF USE for the sites that will be producing your POD copies.

For those of you who have a print run done, make certain to identify where you will sell / distribute these copies.  Conventions and book signings are a great place to go, but having copies in local book/comic/game stores can be fantastic.

4) Have fun promoting your book ~ I want to thank my old friend, author Micah McGurk, for inspiring me to start writing again.  One of the things I learned from watching Micah is that you should enjoy promoting your work.  It really is that simple.  Do things that you enjoy and introduce people to what you are doing.  By way of example, I do book signings at comic and game shops, I blog and do podcast interviews (thanks to everyone who has had me on), I talk with my KickStarter backers, and I have fun doing these things.  This makes promotion of your books less a chore and more of an experience.  Try it, I think you'll like it.

These four things are the bare bones, high level overview of self-publishing, as I understand it.  This is about getting your feet wet, and creating a habit of being an author and game designer.  Put yourself out there, invite the criticism, be gracious with everyone (fan and troll alike), and share your vision with the world.

One of you may be the next Charles Stross, Jim Butcher, Stan Lee, or James Vail.  The world won't know until it sees what you can do. 

I hope you'll be sharing your vision soon. 

As always, your comments are welcome. 


Thank you for joining me once again for my adventure in writing, game design, and self-publishing.  I hope you get good use from my experiences, mishaps and opinions. 

Opinions expressed are my own.  I don't claim to be an expert. I'm just sharing my own experiences and understandings.  Please do your research (read that as: READ THE TERMS OF USE) to make certain your publication plans best suit your interests.

Art for this entry was created by the very talented Lotus Blair, and comes from a comic anthology project currently in development.  I'll be releasing that project in 2019.  I hope you'll check it out as it is AWESOME!

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