To make a very long story short, I discussed my options with my agent, and decided to put the titles out myself. My agent is still going to handle some aspects of the books (foreign rights... etc), and he's still pitching my latest unrelated manuscripts to publishers, but I am going to put this series out on my own.
"But Steve," you say, "what in the world do you know about self publishing?"
Good question. Actually, in the back of my mind I always hoped to one day be a hybrid author. I wanted to have some titles released on my own, and some titles released through traditional presses. One of the things that drew me to my agency, Dystel Goderich Literary Management (DGLM), was the fact that not only do they represent some of the biggest names in traditional publishing, but they also represent some of the biggest names in self publishing.
Anyway, I've spent a great deal of time researching the publishing industry, including self publishing.
I researched market shares, and marketing techniques, and what accounts were required to put the books out on my own. I read interviews and watched the trends of children's book publishers. I talked to cover artists, and editors, and designers, and people who format manuscripts for print. I discussed the challenges with some of my friends who have self published and I took their advice to heart. I spent time working as a slush reader for a publishing house just to get a better feel for what happened behind the scenes. I even took university classes focused on the publishing industry.
I spent a few years doing that, and you know, as prepared as I was, there was so much I didn't know when I actually started taking the steps to self publish. So much I didn't think of. If I didn't have a number of great friends who had walked the path before me, I would would be wondering in circles right now, muttering to myself and probably drooling a lot.
I won't forget their support, and my hat goes off to them, and all those other self publishers who really put out a good product. That takes a lot of work. It's one of those things that you really have to do before you can fully appreciate the effort that goes into it.
More than anything I want readers to look at my books and know that thought went into their creation. Not just the writing, but the production too. I spent months thinking about cover designs and preparing briefs for artists. I thought about trim size, and format, and interior design. I hired editors and put the manuscript through the paces. In short, I tried to approach the production of these books the way a publisher would.
I don't take the fact that I'm asking people to buy something I've made lightly. But even if the title was free, I'd still be asking people to spend a great deal of their free time with it, and that's not something I take lightly either. I hope that comes through.
"Alright, enough, Steve!" you say. "Get on with it. Where are these so-called titles?"
Ah, yes, the books. Tomorrow I'm posting all about them. I'll show covers, and tell a bit more about what the books are about. There will be links to websites where you can see more about the books too.
There will even be a contest. A huge one. The biggest one I've ever thrown* (*never thrown one before, so ... yeah....).
I hope you guys will wonder back this way tomorrow and check it out.