Author Inspiration: Bumping Into Walls—A Self-publishing Journey by A.D. Trosper

Every Wednesday is inspirational post day during our Celebrate #INDIEpendence With Everyone At Blue Harvest Creative event. Today we have A.D. Trosper joining us to share her self-publishing journey. Be sure to join in on the fun all month-long. Event information and how to enter our two giveaways can be found at the bottom of this post.

When I started writing my first book, the e-book revolution hadn’t really happened yet. I knew when I started that in all likelihood I would never actually be published. Breaking into the publishing industry at that time was fraught with pitfalls, unscrupulous agents trying to pass themselves off as real agents, scamming “publishing houses” trying to pass themselves off as a real publishing houses, etc. I knew the slush piles were huge and getting an agent wasn’t easy. Each agent it seemed wanted queries in different formats, snail mail only, email only and a myriad of other things that could send your query straight to the slush pile if it wasn’t just right. There were a lot of walls between a story and a published book.

Still, I had this story in my head and the characters in it would not leave me alone. So I wrote it, all the while figuring that it would likely never become an actual book.

Then about the time I finally finished it, e-book self-publishing was starting to really take off. I read numerous places about all one had to do was upload a doc file to Amazon and voila! one had a published book.

Of course it really wasn’t that easy, not if you wanted to put out something great.

As a new, potential indie author, I was wandering in the dark, bumping into walls unsure of what I should do next. Thankfully, before I attempted something drastic (and stupid) I ended up on Kindle Boards where a great many people were frothing at the mouth about horrible indie books. Within the rabid hordes though, there were people who were doing their best to shout above the noisy crowd of ranting readers and milling new indie authors to get the newbies’ (like me) attention and do their best to point them in the right direction.

Because of them, I was steered away from the platform of “Do this at your risk and don’t be surprised when you smack into the rock bottom” and through a side door. On the other side of that door I found a good crit group.

One of the first things I learned is that I was not ready to publish yet. I had a lot of learning to do first about the craft of writing. They were constructive, helpful and very honest. I learned so much from them.

It took almost a year to run my book through the crit group, but it was worth the time spent. What I had, from what I learned, when I came out the other side was a much better story and a lot better knowledge of the craft.

It wasn’t the only thing I found when I came out of the critting process.  I also found a road that branched two ways into two different mazes. Both had a large list of pros cons and a lot people standing at the entrances holding picket signs and chanting the virtues of their maze while hurling curses and accusations at their counterparts. I wasn’t alone as I stood there. There were a great many confused and undecided indie authors with me, wandering in the dark, bumping into walls while we tried to sort facts from rhetoric so we could choose which maze to venture into. The one labeled, “Traditional Publishing, where all your dreams come true. Don’t be an idiot and self-publish.” Or the other one labeled, “Become an indie author, self-publish. Don’t be sucked in by the evils of the Big Six.”

I can’t tell you how much stuff I read, how many opinions I listened to on both sides of the fence. In the end, I decided to enter the maze of self-publishing.  I wanted control of my cover, of my pricing, of my content, of pretty much everything. But the self-publishing maze wasn’t well-lit and I found myself wandering in the dark, bumping into walls. What was I supposed to do next? I had no idea.

There are a lot of indies out there who have obtained a certain degree of success in navigating the maze, many of whom are turning around and reaching back to give those still wandering in the dark a flashlight and a helping hand. I was lucky enough to find these indie authors.  Through them I put together a cover, I found a formatter (yeah, you really shouldn’t just throw a doc file up on Amazon) and they helped me pound out a blurb.

With that though, their directions became kind of muddled as each of them thought a different path in the maze was the best one. The batteries in my flashlight were down and I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do next. So I did the next logical (and stupid) thing, I moved forward with publishing. My book was unedited except for the edits I had been able to do myself and I’m no editor. My book was out there, but it was plain and there was nothing that really made it stand out or look professional.

Thankfully, I again ran into another of those indie authors with a flashlight. And low and behold, she had a map with a destination on it. Right there, just a few steps away was a big X on the map. Next to the X were the words Blue Harvest Creative.

BHC-Treasure-Map

I had finally found a place that had actual lights. A place that would warn me before I bumped into a wall. A place where my book was able to be edited and designed and transformed into the beautiful, professional work it is today. A place that would not only help me with everything from promotional directions and materials, but would answer the phone when I called and give me advice. Advice they weren’t even getting paid for. Yes, it cost a bit of money for the design and edit. But you know what? They didn’t want any of my royalties. It was and is like having a publishing company behind me without having to sign anything away. I am still in control of everything. And when my book is finished, they don’t stop there. They continue to promote me and my work. And that is invaluable and not something you find with just any company.

Self-publishing is great. I love being an indie author. I love being able to write on my own self-set deadlines. I love that I can venture into any genre I wish as I explore the different stories that come to me. I love that I have final say on my cover and edits. And I love that I now have the team at Blue Harvest Creative which are like the dungeon masters of the self-publishing maze. I swear they pretty much know where all of those dark halls lead.

Would I recommend self-publishing? Absolutely. Do I think it’s the only way and anyone who goes traditional is an idiot? Absolutely not. Each writer has to do what is best for them. However, I would advise anyone entering the self-publishing maze to find someone with a flashlight and map. Unfortunately they don’t hand them out at the entrance.

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