Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guest Post: Jenn Flynn-Shon

I'd like to thank author Jenn Flynn-Shon for taking the time to write a guest post for Books Etc. I was curious to find out what it was like for her to self-publish. I hope you all enjoy it! And don't forget to check out the review I posted earlier in the week.

Why Self-Publishing Fit with My First Novel

When I first decided to self-publish I had no idea all I’d be getting into but the learning process in birthing the baby that is Ripple the Twine was the most exciting part of stepping into the world of becoming an indie Author. I’d been writing since I was twelve years old and made a foray into blogging in 2007. The choice to blog was primarily fueled by my desire to start getting my words out into the world, to connect with other writers. When I wrote the book in 2009 I had similar feelings about wanting to share it with a wider audience and connect.

Two years later when the first draft of my manuscript was complete, I started researching the writing industry. I began my search in the realm of traditional publishing. I researched Agents and Publishing Houses, I read books on the subject, and I started crafting query letters. After many rejections my family and friends asked if I had ever considered the option of self-publishing.

I didn't know much about the ways to self-publish either and it seemed smart to investigate all the options. I immediately fell in love with the benefits of being an indie Author.

While it seemed that traditional publishing offered an Author some level of security and relief in marketing efforts, I discovered that most Authors were doing a healthy bit of the marketing on their own anyway. With two blogs and growing number of self-published articles under my belt it finally hit me that I’d already been self-publishing for almost five years.

Learning the ins and outs was a challenge, I couldn’t seem to find the end-all be-all guide to self-publishing. So I learned as I went. Bits and pieces of how to bring it all together started to fall into place – how to format, how and where to do print-on-demand, how to use cover art, how to write jacket copy and a synopsis, etc. I joined some writer’s groups and sent my book to a friend (and some family) for editing suggestions. I wrote and re-wrote a number of times. Then in early 2012 the manuscript was finally at a point where I was happy with it. I set a mental date for the book’s release.

For me the discipline of sticking to that date, fit with my personality. I liked being the one in control of the process and the pride in being able to say I did it myself. That’s when my own Publishing House, Writesy Press, was born.

For a first time self-published Author of a full length fiction manuscript I wanted to have the comfort of owning my own House. I was able to hire my mom, a professional Photographer, to create my cover art and set things up the way I wanted to see them laid out between those covers. The entire time I spent learning and formatting my only question to answer was ‘would I read this book if it wasn’t my own?’

Turns out, the answer was a resounding yes!

I know my novel isn’t perfect, it may have flaws or mistakes that traditional publishers would point out but I have never read a book that didn’t include at least one spelling mistake. Even those released from the big Houses. I let go of caring about perfection of the final product and spent my energy on trying to make the story and characters the best they could be instead.

While self-publishing isn’t for everyone I wouldn’t change a thing about releasing my first novel this way. For me it was exciting to learn the entire process of how a book is created and when my first copy arrived, it was the ultimate thrill to see my full name, title and logo on the spine. If I were to go a traditional route in the future I would be able to go in armed with the knowledge of the ins and outs of the entire publishing process. To me, that learning was priceless.


Thanks for stopping by Books Etc.!