Take Pride in Your Self-Publishing Endeavors
Because Your Title Is More Than “Author”
I am a typical writer...introvert, socially awkward. I hate parties where I have to do the chitchat thing. But I can say I’m proud of what I do.
“I’m a writer—an author.”
A certain amount of respect comes from those words. It’s the follow-up discussion that becomes a problem.
“Are you published?”
“Well. . .yes. . .”
This is where it gets tricky. If you’re chitchatting at a literary event, being self-published has a stigma. We’re all aware of it. And in the rest of the world, they simply don’t understand. “If you’re published, why can’t your books be found on the shelves of the local Barnes and Noble?”
I’m here to tell you today why you should be proud to stand up and say that, “Yes, I’m published, and I rock even more because I’m self-published.”
Okay, I can hear your snort of disbelief from here, but let me explain why, as a self-published author, you should hold your head up with pride.
As a self-published author, I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Christi Snow Publishing House. Every single decision that goes into my book comes through me, and that’s not a small thing. In the Big Five publishing houses, there are huge teams that take care of all those things. In your publishing house you are it. That means you are taking on a lot of professional roles and rocking them.
Let’s take a look at a few of your jobs beyond CEO:
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
For your publishing house to work, you have to stay in the black. Some months and years it’s easier said than done. You have to pay editors, designers, and taxes, fund promo giveaways, and manage it all on a monthly basis.
You have to weigh the costs and benefits of different PR options and giveaways. On a daily basis, you’ll make financial decisions that affect your bottom line. How much should you charge for your book? Is a free promotion worth the financial losses in the short term? How many books can you afford to give away with the hopes that it nets you a few readers who buy?
These decisions aren’t easy, especially as a writer. You didn’t come into this job because of your love for numbers and spreadsheets. (And I’m not talking about your love for office supplies here.)
Marketing and Public Relations Director
As a self-published author, you’re also the one responsible for getting your name out there. It’s definitely easier for you as CFO if someone knows you have a book available to purchase.
That means advertising, networking, and actually interacting with readers and reviewers on social networks. This is probably the hardest job that most self-published authors have. (It’s that whole introvert trait making life hard again.) It’s hard to go out and sell yourself, but it’s absolutely an important job that falls on YOU and you alone.
Marketing needs to be in charge of press kits, reviewer outreach, author graphics, as well as promo appearances and giveaways.
Research and Development Manager
R&D is a sub-department of marketing. As a self-published author, it’s your job to stay on top of trends within your genre. That requires research. Research into what the experts are saying and reading blogs, professional writing advice, and reviews.
And this is a fun one because I’m assuming as a writer you also love books. You need to be reading bestsellers within your genre. (Yep, I just told you to go out and read as part of your job.) Stay on top of which books are doing well, and hopefully you can see why those books are making money. This is especially useful if your book isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped.
Who’s in charge of mailing out books from all those giveaways the marketing department hosts? That would be you again. The good news is, your mail carriers will see you enough that they’ll eventually know you’re an author without you even telling them. Maybe they’ll ask about your books without you having to pull out your marketing hat. You might gain a new reader at the post office.
Without a doubt, editing is a job that you should not be doing alone. Every single self-published author needs at least one editor, if not more. (I employ two.) If you’re like most indie authors, this department has the highest expenses. Editors don’t come cheap, but that’s why your job as editorial director is so vital. You’re putting a lot of money into this aspect of your publishing process.
Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
As the head of the editing department, you should be completely on top of your editing schedule. That means allowing enough time: time for your editor to do his or her job, time for you to thoroughly make editing changes before sending your book off for the next step (either more editing or proofreading), time to accomplish the rest of the tasks that have to happen to get your book up for sale by its release date.
Hopefully you’ve taken all that into account so the marketing department can do its job of marketing your book before its release date.
Graphic and Web-Design Head Honcho
Even though the bulk of publishing has to do with words, we live in a visual world, and that means there are visual jobs each publishing house must tackle. From cover design and formatting, to maintaining an author blog, you need things to be visually attractive.
A lot of self-published authors contract the bulk of these jobs out, but as the head of the graphic design department, it’s your job to make sure all the visuals that go out under your name have a cohesive style.
Even though we work with words, graphics catch the readers’ eye, so you should be incorporating them into your social media posting schedule. Sharing these graphics goes beyond showcasing your book covers (although that’s really important, too). Want to post a quote from your book? Create a graphic so people will notice it in the mass of social media posts out there.
Human Resources Administrator
Even in self-publishing, you can’t do every job alone. You need to “employ” (in quotes, because sometimes these are unpaid positions) editors, graphic designers, proofreaders, and beta readers. Sometimes that means handling personnel problems or giving out warnings if people don’t do their jobs properly. HR does hiring and firing, both of which you'll have to do as a self-published author.
For most of us, the people who make up our team are also friends. But publishing is also a business, and that means the bottom line has to come before friendships. These are the things they don’t tell you when you set out to self-publish, but makes what you accomplish as a self-published author even more powerful. You’ve done all the jobs—both easy and hard.
You are the author, the creative genius behind your publishing house. Without your writing, there wouldn’t be a publishing house. Nurture that. Celebrate it. What you do isn’t easy. Writing and releasing books are not easy jobs. Publishing houses send bouquets of flowers to their authors on release day. You deserve that kind of treatment, too.
Right now, go put an earworm into the human resources administrator’s ear. Let him know that for the next release day, you deserve a bit of pampering. You earned it, especially since you’ve done all those other jobs leading up to release, too!
So, let me introduce you to the Christi Snow Publishing House. I have 15 published titles, 14 of those are self-published. And I am proud to say so. I do my job (all of my jobs) well. It’s my name on those books.
That means I don’t put out a product that I’m not proud of. I work hard at ALL of the jobs I listed above. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s damn hard work, but when I have a reader send me an email to tell me how much they loved my book, all the work and sleepless nights makes it worth it.
My name is Christi Snow and I’m proud to be a self-published romance author.
Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. Christi's loving this adventure!