A lot of people come up to me at book signing events to ask me about the self-publishing business and a few aspiring writers often ask me how they can self-published, too. This page is dedicated to answering some of those questions for curious site visitors.
Let's say you've been working on your story for a while (whether it be six months or ten years) and now, after all the time and effort that has been put into writing it, you are relieved to know that you have finally finished it... but you're not really done yet. The next stage is one of the toughest stages to tackle: the dreaded editing.
When it comes to editing manuscripts, I've found that it's mostly a two, maybe three person job. First, you read through the manuscript yourself to find and correct any errors on your own. Then give the newly corrected version to someone else so that they can read through it and find any errors you may have missed. You also have the option of hiring a professional editor, which of course is not free. But no matter what rout you take when getting your story ready for publication, it's important to make your manuscript as flawless as possible before it is published.
As far as cover art/inside illustrations go, you have to be the one to design and sketch them out. Then there's the matter of hiring an illustrator who will take your sketches and draw them out in the artistic style of your choice (unless you plan to illustrate the book yourself). For self-published authors, I reccomend looking on websites like deviantART, Fanart Central, SheezyArt, etc. for an illustrator. There are both professional and freelance artist on these sites, and most of the freelance artists are almost at the professional calliber! And even though they are not free, their payment rates are quite reasonable. Depending on weather you hire a proffesional or a freelance illustrator and how much work is put into the cover, the price varies. Professionals may want a considerable amount of money while freelancers may not charge as much. It may seem like you're paying a lot at first, but it's only a one time fee--where as some artists may also want a percentige of every book that is sold, meaning that you have to keep paying them over and over again.
When it comes to what kind of self-publisher you decide to use, you have to follow their guidelines when getting your book ready for publishing. Every publisher is different, so their submission rules may be different as well. So far, I've only used a publisher called Lulu. You can find out more about Lulu and their submission requirements by visiting their official site: http://www.lulu.com/
It may seem like editing, illustrating, and publishing your book was the hard part. But the hardest part is yet to come! When you're a self-published author, you do EVERYTHING yourself--buy the books, promote the books, organize book events, try to go to every local event in your area to set up a booth and sell your book, submit press releases in the news paper, hang up posters, etc. And on top of all this, don't quit your day job!
But if you want to aim higher and submit your manuscript to publishers rather than do it all yourself, my advice is to read a lot of the latest books, preferably the ones on best seller lists, to get a good idea of what kind of books publishers are accepting these days.
I hope that this advice helps you, and good luck to all of you aspiring writers out there!
- - - K.B.