Confessions of a Self-Published Author
By Stephanie Abbott
It’s true. I couldn’t get published the traditional way. I am one of those authors who wanted to write novels from an early age – eight or nine. In my teens, I wrote well enough that I was routinely accused of plagiarism by English teachers. (And was thrilled and flattered each time!) But what I wrote in my late teens and twenties wasn’t ready for prime time. I could string together words fairly well. But I hadn’t figured out who I was or what I wanted to say. By the time I did – my mid-thirties – the publishing world was beginning to change. I landed an agent. Two manuscripts received consideration by major publishers: the famous “Big Six.” But both were turned down. My agent said it’s just the way of things now – new voices are seen as too much of a risk. I don’t know. All I know is, the book the Big Six turned down in just two weeks – a cozy mystery called Ice Blue, written under the pseudonym Emma Jameson – has sold wonderfully for me as a self-pubbed book. So I’m glad I gave up my original dream and took a detour.
I hate typos and formatting issues even more than my readers. There is a rumor going around about self-pubbed, independent authors – that we don’t care if our book looks like garbage on your Kindle, Nook, etc. That we figure you, the reader, should just suck it up because our ebooks are less expensive than those from the Big Six. In my case, it’s not true. I have a copyeditor. I have a formatter. In my latest book Protection, sharp-eyed readers recently located five typos despite the copyeditor and formatter. So I spent a weekend downloading new software and learning to use it so I could fix those typos and put out a “clean” edition as fast as possible. I respect my readers and whether my book costs $0.00 or $100.00, I want the result to look professional for one simple reason. So you’ll never be torn out of my story by recognition of a small error.
Cover anxiety can be crippling. When I was waiting to hear which big publisher would sign me (go ahead and laugh, I can) I was a little worried what that publisher’s Art Dept. would do to my beloved book. Each one is like a child. Suppose the cover models are ugly? Suppose the cover is so bland and typical it’s indistinguishable from everything around it? Authors have complained for years about the covers forced upon them. But as a self-pubbed author, guess what? I get to commission the artist. I get to decide. And the responsibility is overwhelming. For my cozy mystery, I let the artist dictate. For my second bookSomething Different, I wanted a different cover than the usual m/m romance. Instead of two guys, one shirtless, the other looking handsome but pensive – “Will I allow myself to love?” – I picked a scene like the place, Brixton Park, where Michael and James meet.
So now I want to fearlessly open myself up to a cover critique. Please comment and tell me if Something Different needs a new cover, or if I should keep the one I have! All comments are welcome. I can take it.
About the author - Stephanie Abbott is the face behind the popular pseudonym, S.A. Reid. Well-known for her “real and likeable characters”, she also writes paranormal fiction (a new series titled Past Lives is currently being penned), fantasy, and sci-fi. Additionally, she also pens cozy mysteries as Emma Jameson.
Leave a comment, and I'll enter you in the contest to win a PDF copy of Something Different (current cover, of course). But you have to leave a comment to be entered. Contest ends 1/22/2012