Thursday, 18 April 2013

So, I've Rejected a Traditional Publishing Contract? What Comes Next?

There's a certain perverse satisfaction that comes when an author rejects a publisher's offer, as it's usually the other way around. But, it happens - especially when one carefully examines the small print in their contracts. The publishing world favours the publisher NOT the author, even though we're the proverbial golden goose who keeps their presses running! Yet, they get the shiny eggs and we get the crumbs and told to lay some more!
Thank goodness for self-publishing.
Originally, I planned to go indie and the hiccups along the way were stepping stones in the right direction. I simply needed to prove to myself my manuscript was worth publishing.
The onus now is on me, and being a control freak, nothing could please me more. My book is my product and I want to be responsible for its publication and marketing. In this way, the work I put in, comes back to me, in the way of royalties.

So, my next step?

Step 1.  The book has been thoroughly edited and critiqued. It just needs a final proofread. I've learnt NEVER to proofread my own work. No matter how good I think I may be, I'm not that good. Thankfully, I have a marvellous critique partner who I believe was an editor in a previous life.

Step 2. Send my manuscript to CreateSpace. They will convert it into kindle format as well as POD. This will take a maximum of ten days as CS will send me back the proofs for any correcting. If all goes well, I'll press the 'Approve' button and my manuscript will appear as an ebook within a couple of days on Amazon. I also intend placing it on Smashwords, Apple, Sony and B&N and every other online retailer.

Step 3. Since I'm Australian, I'll need to send my EIN number and CS kindle number to the US IRS department for processing. Last thing I want is to be taxed at a higher rate than necessary. Australia has a tax treaty with the US which reduces the amount I have to pay to 5%.

Step 4. Convert my blog into a website. I'm on blogger (and happy to stay here, since I find Wordpress too damn complicated!) I'm only going to add extra pages, titled - Home, About Me, My Books,  My Testimony, The World of Dantonville, Blog, Press. That should just about cover it. I've been searching the web and perusing the best blogs for inspiration and there are some incredible ones around. There's nothing wrong with looking to the best and emulating them.

Step 5. Create a series of promo images based on my book cover. Good publishers will use the book cover as a pseudo-eposter. Eg. They'll take the image, remove the title and add a line from the book, or a catchy blurb. It's a clever way to garner interest both prior to and after its release.
My graphic artist is currently in the process of creating some truly professional ones for me, but in the meanwhile, here are two promos I've been playing with.

Step 6. If you're don't already have a Goodreads author page, GET ONE! Sorry, don't mean to shout, but Goodreads is one of the best author platforms around. Readers go there to find books and authors, and a favourable review on Goodreads will start the process of gaining you a loyal reader following.

Well, I think that's all - for now. In the next few weeks I'll be adding to these steps as my publishing journey continues.

I'd love to hear from any authors who bravely struck out on their own. What has been your experience?


Quixotic Taylor said...

Ypu missed out on step 7. Have a bottle of wine handy! Ok, I kid. Seriously, you should mention that you should have a Facebook page or that you should get the word out on social media. Can't wait!!! So excited.

Tima Maria said...

For sure Claudia, and that's coming. I think most readers would know to post their promos everywhere - facebook, blog, twitter, pinterest...etc. Then bring out the bottle of celebratory wine. I'm saving mine till Bloodgifted has its launch - 4-5 weeks from now.

Tima Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Davis said...

Though I never fetched an offer officially, I did have the pleasure of blowing TOR Books off as things began to take shape. Change my cover? Nope. Change my story? Nope. It was hard at first, but I now whip the best of TOR authors on a regular basis. Long live self-publishing!

Shannon said...

Very nice post and congratualtions. I agree with the proof reading of your own work. You know exactly how it supposed to be, so your brain autocorrects the sentences as you read.
I didn't know about the Australian-US tax break. That's pretty cool!

Tima Maria said...

I'm glad that's worked out for you, John. It's encouraging to hear. I was given the option of changing my cover, but at least they didn't want to change my story - they loved it as it is. the contract just didn't suit me.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Shannon, thanks for the comment and you're right about our brains auto-correcting. I'm amazed how many typos my critique partner picks up. I just don't see them no matter how many times I've checked over those passages.
As for the tax, I found that out going through the US IRS info sheet. I think most countries would have something similar, otherwise non-US citizens would be taxed the same rate as US citizens.

Penny Reid said...

I found your post via @Rogenna on twitter. I wish you'd posted this article 6 weeks ago!! ;-)
I'm a new indie author and I went through steps similar to those you list but did it all backwards. The book was published then I figured out I needed an editor, goodreads page, web site, etc.; I've been fumbling around somewhat blindly. The biggest mistake I made was assuming no one was interested in reading my book. I posted it as a first draft (as a means to test out the KDP program and so my friend's book group could download it). People started downloading it and it wasn't (isn't) ready. I should have waited, hired an editor, obtained more critiques, etc. but I honestly didn't think it would be noticed. The lesson I learned was: don't put something out there unless it is 100% FINAL.
One item not on your list is reaching out to review blogs and asking them to review your book. I'm just now trying to understand this dynamic. Some blogs have found the book on their own, some won't review unless it is an ARC, some want 2 months lead time prior to reviewing. Also, I'm trying to understand "virtual tours". It would be great to read your thoughts on these topics as well (and marketing in general).

Tima Maria said...

Hi Penny, don't you just want to scream when you find these things out AFTER they've happened? But,it's still not too late to get your book the way you want it. You can temporarily remove it from Amazon, get it edited and polished, then put it back there as a new edition. Many well-known authors have done just that.
I was going to add approaching book bloggers for a review, but decided to leave it for another blog as the current one was already long enough. But, you're absolutely right. It does help if you can get your manuscript reviewed by reputable book bloggers. Unfortunately, many are inundated with so many offers they have a long waiting list - 1-2 years in some cases. Who wants to wait that long? Don't forget your readers. Ask them - as well as friends and family - to post a review of your book on Goodreads. Also check out online writers forums, such as RomCon. They often promote new authors by featuring their book covers and an extract from their manuscripts. That's how I've found some of my favourite authors.
Also, try to get to know other authors and build up a relationship with them. They might ask you to guest blog, and that's a great way to reach new readers. Have you tried advertising your book on The Masquerade Crew? They have a huge reader following and their prices are very affordable.
I'm happy to chat about this some more, and if you're interested you can email me -
Till then, all the best.

myriteofpassage said...

Congratulations, Tima Maria. I agree about the bottle of wine. Just for future reference, I did the HTML conversion myself - it's not that difficult and there are great guides to help you through the process. I'm resuming my Themes/Premise series after April's A - Z Challenge; check it out and let me know if you want to participate; it's an opportunity to promote. -Belinda.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Belinda, thanks for the good wishes, and I think I'll need them striking out on my own! I'm still not computer savvy enough to try doing my own conversion - not yet, anyway, but it's something I'd like to learn in the future. As for taking part in your April A-Z challenge, I'd love to be involved. Thanks for asking. What do I need to do?

myriteofpassage said...

I meant for the "What's the Gist of your Story?" series - check it out (posts before A - Z). I have specific guidelines for this - you've got to follow the format of all the others: bio, what motivated you to write the book, what's the premise of your story, what are the themes contained in your story, how are you utilizing the themes for promotional purposes. The real challenge is formulating the premise; I ask for revisions until its correct so that the series act as case studies to help other writers. My first opening is 31st May.

Tima Maria said...

That sounds fine - it's actually good practice for a writer to narrow down their story in this way. I'll check out the other posts, but from what you've mentioned, I'm happy to take part.

Colin Wright said...

Welcome to the indie fold! :)

Tima Maria said...

Thanks, Colin. Happy to be part of the indie crowd.