I have a vivid childhood memory of my discovery of my fear of heights. I was stuck on the one-story roof of John Marshall High School and was staring at the ground far below me. My brother, Michael, was trying to coax me down. It was dinnertime, and Mom would be angry if we were late. Mike was encouraging—I was petrified. He was demanding—I was still petrified. He was threatening… I don’t remember how I got down from the roof, but Mike was pretty strong.
When I first considered self-publishing The Cavanaugh House, I felt like I was back up on the roof of John Marshall looking down. I felt dizzy and afraid. How could I take a plunge like this? I didn’t know anything about publishing a book. But there it was. I had a vision for The Cavanaugh House, and the only way it would work was if I self-published. Which leads me to the first reason I love self-publishing.
Yes, I am a bit of a control freak. When Boris first inspired me with the idea for The Cavanaugh House, a clear picture of what the Cavanaugh House looked like came to my mind. Two days later, we saw that exact house by the side of the road. (see “Muse Hits Woman on Highway”) My husband, Rich, photographed it, and I knew that would be my cover. I also knew if I went with a traditional publishing house, I would have little say on what my cover would be. I used Amazon’s CreateSpace to self-publish, and created my own cover using one of the photos Rich took of the house.
I used to be embarrassed or ashamed—maybe a mixture of the two—to admit that I wanted to earn money writing books. I attribute this to my Irish-Catholic guilt-ridden upbringing. But, honestly, what author doesn’t want to earn money writing books? After hours of bleeding your soul onto the page there should be some reward. As an Indie author, I’m not second or third in line for royalties after the publisher and an agent. In that case, I’d earn 30% (sometimes less) of what is left over after they get their cut. Because my books are both Kindle Direct Publishing, my royalties are 70% of the ebook price.
I am free to do what I wish with my book. If I want the opening scene to be navel gazing in the bathtub, by George, it can be! I don’t recommend it, but I could write that if I wanted to. The trend today is to open with a riveting scene, grab your audience by the short hairs and don’t let go. That’s fine for some genres, but not for all. The caveat here is, if I’m going to self-publish, I need to keep abreast of trends in the industry so my book has a chance of success.
I’m a lifelong learner (did I just hear all the educators groan?) I mean it. I love to learn new things. Learning how to self-publish certainly fulfills that desire. Not only do I wear my writer’s hat, I get to exchange it for a publisher’s hat and a marketer’s hat. My learning curve has been a straight-up vertical line at times, but I love the challenge. I have a wonderful community of writers who share their knowledge and expertise freely. Now, I’m able to help others with this journey, too.
Maybe this belongs under control. Even though I set a publication schedule, a lot of life interfered with the process of writing and publishing Buried Secrets. I had to reschedule my release date several times—but I could! I was the Master (Mistress?) of my Universe. My family knows I put a lot of pressure on myself with self-imposed deadlines, but they’re my deadlines. With major life events going on in the past two years, I was happy I had only myself to answer to during this process.
If you are sitting at the edge of the roof at John Marshall High School pondering the leap to self-publishing, I understand. I hope you have a Michael who will somehow get you down in time for dinner, or the publication of your book. I encourage you to try it.
During October, Amazon is featuring The Cavanaugh House in its #PoweredByIndie event.
What has your experience been as an Indie author? If you haven’t self-published, do you think you might take the plunge someday?
Visit my Amazon Author page where all of my books are available.