It’s my pleasure to welcome author Maria Zannini as the special guest blogger as she makes a stop on her Indie Roadshow with her recent novella release, THE DEVIL TO PAY.
Maria self-published her novella and she agreed to talk about her experience. Her advice - Go In With A Game Plan.
Whether it’s formatting, editing, creating the cover art, or writing the story itself, each step of self-publishing is a reflection of you as the author, the publisher, and the promoter. Those are a lot of hats, and you must wear each of them equally well or hire people to fill those roles.
Knowing my penchant for skipping steps, I took extra care not to do it this time, not with something that was brand new (to me) and could jeopardize what I hold most dear. My reputation.
The trick is to go in with a game plan. Know what you want to accomplish and how to make it happen. That’s good advice for any endeavor, but it’s absolutely crucial when you self-publish. These are the steps I took to make THE DEVIL TO PAY a reality.
*Pick a property. I was about to offer this novella to a publisher for an angel and demon anthology when a thunderbolt hit me. THE DEVIL TO PAY had the makings of a series, and it had never been contracted, so the series idea belonged to me alone.
*Know your market. Originally, the story was meant to be erotica, but I never crossed that threshold. It’s steamy, probably the steamiest I’ve ever written, but like my other novels, it doesn’t cross that line to full-fledge erotica.
*Research. This was HUGE. I not only researched the technical aspect of self-publishing, but the market. I also read a lot of self-published books to give me an idea of what kind of books were out there—especially in my genre, preternatural romance. Of everything I did to prepare, this took the longest and was the most intense.
*Write the book—and write the best book you can.
*Edit the book. There is no skimping on this one. Not only did I have critique partners who were editors in their past lives, but I worked with two professional editors, one for developmental edits, the other for proofreading. I’ll cover editing in more detail in tomorrow’s post, but I want to emphasize that professional editing is nonnegotiable.
Mason was kind enough to proofread for me. Despite the fact that I’d had six other sets of eyes look at this, she still managed to find a couple of items for me to correct. Don’t send your work to family and friends to proofread. Send it to people who do this for a living.
*Cover art. I have the advantage here. I was a graphic artist for many years and retired from a career as an art director. But even with decades of experience, I was still smart enough to consult with an expert opinion to create the illusion I was after. If you feel you can’t design a decent cover, hire a professional designer. A great cover is the first step to drawing readers.
*Formatting. This still gives me nightmares. But do it yourself if only to give you the satisfaction of accomplishment. It’s not difficult, but it is tedious. Follow the instructions to-the-letter.
And the most important tip of all? Don’t publish until you’re ready. I was chided quite a bit by my regular readers for keeping this so hush-hush, but I didn’t want to make any promises I couldn’t keep. I wanted to make sure THE DEVIL TO PAY was as perfect as I could get it.
I hope you’ll follow along with the rest of the Indie Roadshow as I share the things I learned on my road to self-publishing.
The Devil To Pay is available at Amazon and Smashwords for only $2.99. It is the first book of the series, Second Chances.
Maria, thanks so much for guest blogging and the kind mention. I’m sure authors thinking of self-publishing will find your tips must helpful. Having a plan will save time, trouble and a lot of hard work. Your efforts with THE DEVIL TO PAY really paid off. Wishing you much success with this series.
Now for a bit of back ground on Maria. She used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. Occasionally, she writes novels. You can follow her on Facebook or her blog.
Here’s a brief synopsis of THE DEVIL TO PAY: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and bad tequila. Shannon McKee finds herself at the end of her rope, and she bargains her soul in a fit of despair.
Shannon’s plea is answered immediately by two men who couldn’t be more different from one another. Yet they share a bond and an affection for the stubborn Miss McKee that even they don’t understand.
When Heaven and Hell demand their payment, Shannon has no choice but to submit. No matter who gets her soul, she’s not getting out of this alive.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Have you given it a try or is it something you’ve been considering? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.