Easy Does It by Kendall Grey

Written By: Kellie - Feb• 16•12

Easy Does It

By Kendall Grey

Thanks so much, Kellie, for inviting me to share some of my self-publishing experiences on your blog.

I started writing my urban fantasy romance, INHALE, in August of 2008. At the time, I wanted to go the traditional publishing route because frankly, only losers self-publish, right? ;-) Like many other writers, I queried over 40 agents and editors and got a whole lotta nothing in return. I entered gobs of contests and placed in many of them, so I figured my book couldn’t be too bad.

 

Everything changed when my dream agent rejected the INHALE revisions she asked for (this was the 13th major revision I had done for this book, by the way). A person can only take so much “you suck” before they either quit writing all together, or their head explodes. I decided to channel all that exploding head energy into something productive: doing it myself.

 

Now that I’m knee-deep in self-publishing with a trilogy due out in a few months, I’ve never felt better about myself or my books. As of this writing, over 150 people have added INHALE to Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12980966-inhale). The book has 18 ratings, averaging 4.61 out of 5. For a low-life, self-published book that’s not even out yet, I’m kind of excited about my numbers. :-)

So, what’s the secret to my success thus far? Taking my time and PLANNING. Here’s a quick run-down of the process I followed to get where I am:

  1. Write a damn good book. Pretty self-explanatory, but too many self-pubbers get antsy in their pantsies and put stories out before they’re ready. A book should NEVER be published until it’s been professionally edited. Period.
  2. Develop a budget. How much money are you willing to put in? Self-publishing is not cheap. If you can’t afford to do it the right way, you might want to reconsider. I estimate you need $3,000 minimum (I put in a lot more than that for my books), which will cover only the bare essentials.
  3. Create a timeline with “benchmarks”. Be realistic with your goals. Consider the following: editing (how many passes will the book require? Unless you’re Super Writer—trust me, no matter how good you are, you’re not that good—you’ll need at least two); cover art and design (it took me months to find the perfect images and designer); securing reviews (I spent a solid week of scouring the Internet for reviewers); formatting the books (another several days for me); marketing (how will you make your book alluring to your target audience?).

These are just a few big things to consider. All of the steps listed above take hundreds of hours. Again, if you don’t have time, self-publishing may not be for you.

In hindsight, what would I do differently?

  1. I wouldn’t fall in love with anything outside the realm of my control. Not images, editors, or designers. Someone is always out to screw you over. Too many times I let my emotions get in the way of good judgment, and I paid for it.
  2. I’d lower my expectations for what friends and family will do to support me. Yes, they love me, but most of them don’t give a rat’s ass about my books. It hurts, but I’ve learned to accept it.
  3. I’d choose my reviewers more carefully. All reviewers are NOT created equally. If they don’t read/enjoy your genre, don’t request a review. How often does the reviewer post and where? How many followers do they have? Are their reviews spiteful or constructive? Can they form coherent sentences? Side note: I had to quit sending print copies of my books to reviewers because the cost involved in purchasing them and shipping is counter-productive to my return.

Self-publishing is not an option you should take lightly. It involves way more work and money than traditional publishing, but the level of control is worth it to me. Whether my trilogy bombs or soars, these book babies are mine.  I birthed them my way, and I’m proud of them no matter the outcome.

About Kendall: Kendall Grey, word diddler and whale champion, was born without an off-switch between her brain and mouth. She’s been called the “Flux Capacitor of Twitter” and “A little package of love all wrapped up in F-word paper,” but she’s really just a maniacal writer relaying eyewitness accounts of the rave inside her head.

Kendall lives off a dirt road near Atlanta, Georgia, but don’t hold that against her.

Be sure to read ReaWrite’s review of Kendall’s fantastic debut, Inhale.

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4 Comments

  1. Lynn Rush says:

    Awesome post, Kendall!! You are doing great on your journey! The work you put forth is going to pay off. Write on, my friend.

  2. Kendall Grey says:

    Thanks for having me on your blog and for the great review of INHALE, Kellie! Sorry I didn’t get to post sooner. *Just* got home a couple hours ago. Time zones…go figure. :-)

  3. I find a lot of new authors go for the jugular, writing a novel and trying to get published that way. I found in my journey, getting those little publications (short stories/anthologies) helped tremendously into getting established. Of course, I’m not big on going after agents, especially in a publishing world that’s changing.

    Another way someone who doesn’t have 3k to drop on something that potentially will not make up for the loss is to try some writing sites. A good bit of those have published authors on them (and editors in cognito) critiquing work. Of course, most of them also expect a bit of quid pro quo. You got to give to get. It’s only fair yet giving a bit of time is always wasier on the wallet.

  4. Hello, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment to support you.

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