I published my first nonfiction book in 2009. After a whirlwind courtship with a respected mid-sized publisher, and six ensuing months of editing and formatting frenzy, the book was OUT.
As in – In print. On shelves. Online. Everywhere.
The day it went live, I waited eagerly for the deluge of attention and profits. As nothing happened, day after day and week after week, I began to question my vision, my abilities, my audience, my agent’s and publisher’s belief in me, my sanity – everything.
The pressure to sell copies was tremendous…but it often felt like I was the only one working to make that happen. As it turns out, I actually was the only one working on it. About six months into the whole mess, the publisher canned my publicity manager and, in her place, they hired a blog tour management specialist to try to revive interest in the book.
Again, I got SO excited.
Again, nothing happened.
At this point, when I tell you that, a scant five years later, I once again pursued the path of traditional publishing for my second book, you might be tempted to stop reading. Please don’t!
I had only two reasons for seeking a traditional publisher at this point:
Fear. I was frightened of the unknown world of “self” publishing.
Insecurity. I still thought a traditional publisher had super-secret success-activating powers that I, as a humble author, did not.
After a grueling year of working with my literary agent (who had, by now, become a dear friend and mentor as well), she emailed me one day to suggest I consider self-publishing instead.
In her email, she included a healthy list of “pros” as her reasons for suggesting self-publishing:
- I would retain creative control. This included control of the title and cover art, both of which I gave up (to my eternal regret) with book #1.
- I would begin realizing sales profits from launch day one. There would be no advance money to pay back before royalty payments would flow my way.
- I would be able to market MY book MY way to MY audience. I would face no ongoing arguments with my publisher over where my audience could be found and how to use available marketing funds to best reach them.
- I could market on a dime doing what I do best. As a bonafide introvert, I thrive online – personally and professionally. I’m good at it, too – the online nonprofit I founded in 2009 now serves members in 43 countries and will celebrate its 7th birthday in 2016.
- I would retain copyright and full rights to use my material in any way I wanted. I would also never have to deal with contractual restrictions on the use of my own words in other complementary products I might wish to create and sell in the future.
After reviewing this list of compelling pros, my sole remaining “con” (the lack of an author advance) scrounged up a white flag and waved it, and that was that.
It was ON. I was IN.
I began to research self-publishing options in earnest, one thing led to another, and then an author-friend suggested I reach out to Angela Hoy at BookLocker.com. In BookLocker, I found the true-blue-honest self-publishing partner and mentor I had been seeking.
Fast forward to October 2015.
I am standing in my home office, holding a beautiful shiny new copy of book #2 in my hands. Everything about THIS book reflects my vision – the cover, the art, the text, the layout and formatting, the photo gallery – I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of any project I’ve ever tackled before in my whole life.
Oh, and before I forget – I have already earned more from this second book than I have EVER earned from book #1! Happy author, happy bank account. Now that is what I call a win-win!
My new book! Check. It. Out.
P.S. Post a comment in the field below for a chance to WIN a signed copy!
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Shannon Cutts is first and foremost a birdie and tortoise mama. She is also a writer, speaker, nonprofit founder, mentor, lover of retro threads, and champion of all things (and beings) recovered and recovering. Love & Feathers is her second book. Connect with Shannon: www.shannoncutts.com. Connect with Pearl: www.loveandfeathers.com.
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Peek over the shoulders of highly successful freelance writers to see how they earn thousands per article! The query letter is the key!
In these pages, you'll find real query letters that landed real assignments for national magazines, websites, and corporations.
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