After writing two picture book manuscripts, I was particularly partial to my first. It just seemed to have that x-factor but then again I could be biased. I decided to give it a shot and sent a submission to almost all the trade publishers in Australia, including a direct line into a children’s editor at one of the biggest publishing houses. That would certainly have been a gigantic break if that editor had decided to commission my book. It wasn’t to be though and after three or four months the only bite I’d had was from a vanity publisher in the UK who wanted me to pay to publish with them.
Fortunately by then I’d already decided to take my debut book’s destiny into my own hands. It might not be a best seller and I certainly don’t have the social media influencing powers of a celebrity author but I have faith in this book and I would have regretted it all my life if I hadn’t decided to invest money in my own brand and self-publish.
I found a reputable company in the United States and embarked on a seven-month-long project with them to publish my book. The advantages for me as a new author were that I controlled creative direction over my book from start to finish and I now retain copyright and rights to the finished product, should I ever wish to part ways with the publisher and take my book in another direction.
How many published authors of small to medium stature could say they’ve ever had full creative control over their illustrations and the layout for their book? And what is their royalty structure like? Most likely a lot less financially rewarding than mine should my sales really take off with my independent publisher.
I can now call myself not only an Author but a Publisher, having been through the whole process from pre-production to post-production. I believe this skill set will only be of benefit to me in my future endeavours and increase my faith in my own creative direction.
But please don’t think for a moment that I am detracting from the trade publishing industry or authors who have been talented and successful enough to be published. Full kudos to them. What I am trying to do is validate an alternative path with the benefit of my own experience. The streets of self-publishing may never be paved with gold but if you have the money to invest in yourself as a business, then I would recommend the endeavour and the process. At least you won’t die wondering ‘if only…’.
I believe I am in a stronger position now for my future writing career having a physical publication to show for myself and a fledging author platform on social media. I hope more than anything I will find a traditional route via trade publishing but I also have the confidence to say that I did not sit around waiting to be discovered and have my book manuscript fall into obscurity.
Most important recommendation for any budding writer who thinks this path might be right for them, do a huge amount of research into the company you choose and read up on vanity publishing so you can avoid the traps and minimize your risks when you do come to an agreement with a self-publishing service provider. Good luck!
This post is contributed by Author Brydie Wright