Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Self-Publishing Experience

Camy here! I just recently self-published the fourth novel in my Sushi Series, Weddings and Wasabi, and it came out a few weeks ago in both print book and ebook formats:

After finally graduating with a culinary degree, Jennifer Lim is pressured by her family to work at her control-freak aunty’s restaurant. But after a family dispute, Jenn is determined to no longer be a doormat and instead starts her own catering company. Her search for a wine merchant brings John into her life—a tall, dark, handsome biker in form-fitting black leather, who’s Hispanic to boot. It would be wonderfully wild to snag a man like that!

Shy engineer Edward tentatively tries out his birthday present from his winery-owner uncle—a Harley-Davidson complete with the trimmings. Jennifer seems attracted to the rough, aggressive image, but it isn’t his real self. Is she latching onto him just to spite her horrified family? And if this spark between them is real, will showing her the true guy underneath put it out?

And what’s with the goat in the backyard?

PRINT BOOK: Order from:

E-BOOK: Order from:

The book is only a novella, about 30,000 words, but because it’s Print on Demand, the price of the print book is a bit steep. So I made the ebook cheaper, only $2.99.

The self-publishing process was very eye-opening for me. I definitely made me appreciate my publishers even more because I didn’t realize how many things I had to do that my publisher did for me.

I had very specific motivations for self-publishing. I wanted to have the fourth Sushi book available to people because my publisher only contracted three books, but there were four cousins (five if you count Mimi). However, I knew that the number of people who would want the fourth book would probably be small--a niche market. I also didn’t have time to write a full length (90,000 word) novel.

So I decided to self-publish for purely marketing purposes. I am not expecting to make tons of money off of these books, but I did want to have it available to people to buy, or as giveaway items for when I launch my next two books (Protection for Hire in November and Stalker in the Shadows in January).

To begin with, I chose how I wanted to self-publish. I was willing to pay to have a company do everything for me, so I went with Winepress, which is a bit more expensive than some other avenues, but for me, time was more valuable to me than money.

Next, I hired a freelance editor to do a substantive (macro) edit on my book before I submitted it to Winepress. This is the job of my main editors at Zondervan, Love Inspired, or Guideposts. I know that no matter how spectacular a writer you are, every writer needs editing. So I paid a trusted freelance editor, Meredith Efken at the Fiction Fix It Shop, to do this for me.

I also asked my Street Team members if any of them would be willing to proofread my manuscript. At my publishing houses, there are at least a dozen people who look through the manuscript before it goes to print, so I wanted to approximate the same number of people. I ended up having about 15 people look through my manuscript, which included three English teachers and a freelance copy editor, since they were on my Street Team.

Each self-publishing house has their own “packages” and submission formats, so here’s what I had to do with Winepress. I bought a “package” that included a graphic designer to do the cover and exterior layout. However, I wanted to hire my own graphic designer to do the cover since she knows and understands my books. The graphic designer at Winepress only has a limited number of hours of work on my cover, plus he/she also hasn’t read all three of the previous Sushi books and doesn’t know what the character Jenn is like. So I hired Dineen Miller to do my cover, but it ended up being a bit complicated because of some miscommunication with the Winepress art department. Eventually it got sorted out, but it took a bit of time.

I submitted the manuscript to Winepress and it went through several phases. They require all manuscripts to go through their own editor, who can then recommend you hire a developmental editor at Winepress if the book needs it. For some reason the Winepress editor suggested I hire a developmental editor to further go through my book, for about $600. I said no because Meredith had already done that, and from the Winepress editor’s notes about what needed work, I didn’t think that the book needed more editing.

Then the book went through typesetting and a proofreader. I was very unhappy with the Winepress proofreader (it became an issue that I had to resolve), but their typesetting editor was fantastic, and most of the people I dealt with at Winepress were very nice to work with, plus they have excellent communication to keep me up to date with every step of the process.

The print book and ebooks are available at all major booksellers, which is very nice. Overall, from the time I turned in the manuscript to the time it got on the websites for sale, was about 5 months, although I had contacted them 4 months earlier to schedule my book, and I also opted for a slightly accelerated process to make sure the book was out before my November release and all the promotion I will have to do a month or two before that.

What Winepress also did was give me a coupon code to enable me to give the ebook away to my Street Team members. I will do that with my newsletter subscribers in October sometime as promo for my November release, Protection for Hire. I haven’t worked with Smashwords or any other ebook self-publisher, so I’m not sure if they can do that for you. I didn’t want the book to be free for everyone, just certain people, as a promotional tool.

All in all, it was extremely expensive, a little over $4000. However, when you take into account my advances, I think it was money well-spent to promote not just my Sushi books but also my upcoming releases.

So there’s my self-publishing saga. Have any of you self-published or will you self-publish? I’ve heard of several authors who have self-published their backlist and it has turned out great for them.

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is the fourth book in her Sushi series, Weddings and Wasabi. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

Click here to find out how you can join my Street Team—it’s free and there’s lots of chances to win prizes!


  1. Well, I may be first but it so hot here, all anyone gets is iced coffee!

    I am interested in hearing about everyone's experiences. I helped my dad self-publish his memoirs before ebooks were really common. I am now working on the second edition with him. Boy, have things changed in a few years.

    What would you do differently in your self-publishing opportunities in the future?

    Peace, Julie

  2. Sigh, that should be "it is so hot here." Now that sounds like the beginning of a comic routine...

  3. I ordered and received this book from amazon. I liked it and knew I had to have it to finish my Sushi series. I loved reading about how it came to be!

  4. Julie, good question. I think it would depend again on how much time I had. It was really nice having a company do things for me I didn't want to have to do, like get an ISBN number and do the whole copyright thing.

    Thanks so much, Janna! I'm so glad you liked it!!!!

  5. I have to look into getting this book. I have a few self published books and have had a few authors send me a copy to review. I didn't realise how hard it is.
    I know a friend is trying to edit a book for an older person who is writing his second book of memories. She said he writes like her talks so the sentences don't flow well and she has to edit almost every sentence. Hes also very much into punctuation to the point its so over done. Oh and he hand writes it all in a flowing script which may look nice but is hard to read at times. I do feel for her. He self published the first one and will be doing that with this one two.

  6. Jenny, I applaud the woman for even getting her book edited. You'd be surprised how many self-published ebooks I've read that aren't even edited.

  7. My friend didn't realise she had signed up to edit the book. The writer is in his mid to late 80's. I know at times shes pulling her hair out trying to get edit and enter it on the computer.

  8. Camy,
    It sounds like an interesting process. I have 2 questions. How much research did you do before deciding on Winepress and approx how many hours do you think you spent working on this process.
    What I liked about your post is you stated in simple terms how the process worked for you. I understood each step. I think I've had a fear of it being a totally complicated 'thing'.
    Thanks for breaking down so wonderfully!

  9. Camy, I'm so glad Jenn's story is available. The blurb sounds great and really, what IS up with the goat? LOL! I'll be downloading to my Kindle as soon as I post this!

  10. Interesting experience with Winepress. $4000 to self publish? That includes Meredith and Dineen's time, right?

    Does the price structure vary according to book length?

    Sounds like quite the adventrue, Camy-cakes. Glad you learned so much about publishing through your experiences with traditional publishers first!

  11. Hi Camy, Wow, I love the cover. It goes well with the other three and how fun to finish out the series. Great promotional tool also as ebooks as a free promo cost you nothing.

    I have a friend who self-publishes with Smash Words and is doing quite well. She is an excellent writer and the bottom line for success in self-publishing and traditional is that the writing is great.

    You're a terrific writer so I suspect you will easily get your investment back and some.

    The other problem with self publishing is marketing and you are already set for that.

    Great going. I look forward to hearing how this works out for you. Thanks for sharing the process.

  12. Lindi: How much research did you do before deciding on Winepress and approx how many hours do you think you spent working on this process.

    Not as much research as I probably should have, but I admit to being lazy and hearing lots of good things about Winepress, so I knew they wouldn't do anything underhanded. Hours? Way too many. It would have been more if I'd had to do some of that stuff myself.

    Audra, you totally have to read this! You're in my dedication! Remember the goat milking party we had????

    Yes, price does vary depending on the length of the book. They charge more if the book is longer.

    Sandra--Thanks! I don't know that I'll actually make that money back, but I definitely think it was worth the time and money to do this.

  13. This is very fascinating, Camy. And what a great way to introduce folks to your back list.

    Gorgeous cover.

    What a bold move in this digital age.

    Way to go.

  14. Thanks for sharing this information with us, Camy! Your book sounds wonderful (loved the comment about the goat--made me chuckle) and although I don't plan on self-publishing (could change my mind later!), it's nice to know what it involves. ~ With all the HEAT so many areas are having, I brought some COLD Georgia Peach Punch to share this morning *smile*. ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  15. Thanks Tina!

    Patti Jo, that Georgia Peach Punch sounds fantastic right now!!!!

  16. Loved reading this, Camy!

    Yours is one of the BEST reasons I've seen for self-publishing.

    You have a novella that is well-written, proofed and edited to the nth degree, priced right. It rounds out the Sushi Series and you can use it to promote the other 3 books.

    Now, THAT makes perfect sense!

    Thanks for sharing the process with us. I enjoyed hearing all about it!

  17. Hey, Camy! Great cover and interesting insights on self-publishing! I never thought I would self-publish, but now I could imagine certain situations where I might do it, like for promotion. It is really wonderful having a big publishing company like Zondervan behind your book. They can do so much more than I can for the distribution and marketing of my book. I've been thankful for how they have gotten behind my books and really promoted. But self-publishing has a place too.

  18. Camy, I'm using WinePress for the second time as we speak. Originally I purchased their best package, but this time I locked into their middle package before they upped and revamped their packages. I've always appreciated their integrity and commitment to professional contact, updates, etc. I'm sorry you had difficulty with certain items in your arrangement. I've yet to have a problem.

    Self-publishing does require so much from an author in terms of marketing if a publicist or marketing team isn't behind them. As far as I'm concerned it's the only drawback - other than paying for all of it yourself with no guarantees of a return. ;/

    I hope your novel sells multiple copies and works perfectly for the promotion of your next books.

    Thanks for sharing your self-publishing journey.

  19. WOW, Camy, this is SUCH an informative blog and SOOO timely!! Thank you for giving each of us the benefit of your experience with self-publishing!!

    I have to admit, this sounds SO appealing, as I am sure it does to most authors and I may just explore it further someday down the road as well. This sounds perfect for those unsold proposals lying around, you know? Thanks for doing the initial legwork and I can't wait to hear your success story on this book. The cover is realllly nice, and having read all of your other books, we know the writing is exceptional too!


  20. Very interesting, Camy! Thanks for sharing your experiences with self-publishing. I've certainly wondered about it, considering I have 12-15 unsold book manuscripts languishing in a file drawer.

    Of course, these were written so many years ago that they'd almost be historicals by today's standards! Not to mention in need of MAJOR overhauls since they represent my earliest efforts at book writing. So they'll probably continue in hibernation until some great-grandchild unearths them someday and has a good laugh.

    Looking forward to reading the next installment in the Sushi Series!

  21. Hi, Camy! Just bought your ebook. Sounds like a cute story.

    Since I'm still working at getting my first WIP published, I decided to go the traditional route (at least for now). I'm learning so much about writing along the way that I figure its worth it. My hubby has been encouraging me to write novella's and e-publish them to get a little money coming in, but I'm not at that point yet. I'm focusing on getting my first book right and then maybe I'll have time to venture into self-publishing.

    Thanks for sharing your venture with us! :D

  22. Camy, you are amazing!

    And so productive!

    Thanks for a great explanation of how to self-publish an e-book!

    Readers will love learning about this culinary expert. Isn't Jenn cute on the cover!

    I often think of your sassy heroines! Loved the one who wore heels...was that Uni? I can still hear her clipping down the hallway in her office building.

    Will Jenn be fixing delicious Oriental dishes? Hope so! I've got my chopsticks and am ready to dig in! :)

  23. Hey Camy

    Wonderful cover - thanks so much for sharing your experience with self-publishing. You are showing that there ARE legitimate reasons for doing so.

    I love God's timing. My FIRST book signing was yesterday - YIPPEE!!! It was so much fun. Posted Facebook photos yesterday here:

    After attending three SCBWI conferences and realizing the state of children's literature... doing a LOT of research, hiring a splendid writing coach, etc. etc. my husband and I decided to self-publish.

    Huge decision, many people helped along the way. Resources like Seekerville, and the friends I've made here, have been INVALUABLE.

    Here's our own Amber's blog from Monday:

    Vicki Moss recently interviewed me about the process in 4 parts. Her blog is here.

    We opted to use

    There are no packages. Sheridan is a book manufacturer (for the BIG houses) and thus, all they do is make books. The author must do the homework to get the rest done. But I'm quite pleased with the results.

    It's a tradeoff on time v. money. So, as Solomon said way back when "Nothing new under the sun."

    Thanks for spotlighting self-publishing. I'm on track to break even in the not too distant future. But we'll see. The hard work of this phase is just beginning, but I love the challenge of it!

  24. Congratulations, Camy! I know I was one who wrote in to your publisher practically demanding they publish Jenn's story. I'm so glad to see it available. I also saw the description for Protection for Hire. It sounds great and I can't wait to read it.


  25. I think it's so cool you're doing this Camy. Brave New World, huh? I'll watch you to see how it goes.

    Think of yourself as a canary in a mine shaft.


  26. I just bought it Camy. $2.99 is a great price. I mean I spent more than that EVERYDAY at RWA for a BAGEL!!!!!!

  27. I learned so much about the world of Self-Publishing, today. Thanks for sharing, Camy!

  28. Thanks for sharing, Camy. First, your cover is beautiful and fits perfectly with the other three. That will go a long way in the promotional aspects.

    Second, I love that you shared your process step by step, and explained your thoughts as well as results. Self-publishing is obviously not for the faint of heart, but it's good to know that it's doable and worth consideration, and what some of the pitfalls might be.

  29. Thanks for sharing that Camy, that was very interesting. I had wondered when I saw this book come up if maybe you had self-published, but the cover especially looks fantastic!

    I personally don't think I would ever self-publish, I won't I won't ever say never, because somethng might happen to change that.

    Thanks for sharing your saga! :)

  30. Hi Camy!

    I read you liked having a company work on your ISBN, etc., but did you consider Amazon's Createspace? They assign ISBN's and all you would have to do is get and editor and cover artist, which you already did. Can you give us your opinion for not choosing Amazon (if it was even in the running)?

  31. ooh I'll have to get that one...I've read the first 2 but stopped at the 3rd..the computer software and all that backstabbing stuff sounded like too much drama though I'm curious to read it to see if the mean grandma gets offed..sigh..can't stand that woman! :-) this sounds like a good one!


  32. Reading your post makes the thought of self-publishing a lot less intimidating! I have a friend that is interested in self-publishing so this would be good info for her.
    Your novella sounds great! I hope it is very successful!

  33. Very interesting, Camy! This isn't something I've considered, but I think it's great that there are so many options these days. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  34. I also meant to say the cover is excellent and fits right in with the others!

  35. Camy, I love the cover. Thanks you sharing all this information with us. I know a lot of writers who are thinking of self-pubbing their older books.

  36. Love that cover!

    And iced coffee. Oh my, at 98 degrees right now, that's sounding, good, Julie!

    I'm leaving ice pops. Really. Ice pops hit the spot in the heat.

    I think we're on the cusp of some huge digital fun, and I know it will pay off royally... (pun intended)eventually. Gotta ride the wave. And putting back-lists out in digital (like Sherrinda's dad) is a great way to keep a book "in print" Marvelous. I'm lovin' technology.

    Interesting perspective, Camy.

  37. Hi Camy,

    Your book looks very professional. Good luck with your sales! Hope you more than make your money back.

    I find that amount expensive compared to a few others who have self-pubbed. But maybe they did a lot more of the work themselves.

    Very interesting...


  38. Hi Camy:

    I’m on Chapter 4 of “Weddings and Wasabi” and it is a perfectly delightful little novel. I think it is an excellent example of what was talked about on Janet’s post on the novella. I was looking for a novella to read when I read your post today.(There’s a lot to be said for instant gratification.)

    I have a few questions:

    Do you consider these four books to be romantic comedies? The characters say witty and funny things but the situations are not funny as they would be in a situation comedy.

    How does “Weddings and Wasabi” position itself within the series as a whole if it is the first book a person reads? (Is it much of a spoiler?) I have two of your books but the type was too small and I never got very far into the books. How should I look at book four? Should I read the other books in reverse order now? (3, 2, 1). I like “Weddings and Wasabi” so much I probably buy the other books for the Kindle.

    BTW: I intend to do two Kindle books. An Oklahoma Law-only real estate manual and the manual or workbook for my workshop on “Rewarding the Reader” which is about the same length and format as GMC by Debra Dixon. I am just going to keep these books on the Kindle format at first. I’ll write about the results on my blog.


    P.S. “It’s so hot here that the church ladies are reading Blazes just to cool down.”

  39. Thanks so much Pam!

    Melanie, I can definitely support self-publishing for Marketing. I've had a lot of positive responses to the book already. Another reason I might want to self publish would be if I had a long lag time inbetween books, to keep readers interested and happy.

    Nicole, thanks for telling me about your experience! It sounds exactly like what I heard lots of other Winepress customers say about them, which is the reason I chose them. I also like that Winepress does have a package to help promote and distribute your book so that people who want that can have it. Winepress's marketing and distribution can do so much more for writers than they can do on their own!

    Julie, you could TOTALLY use this to publish your unsold works as a promotional/marketing tool for your next books coming out! It's just a lot of work, just to warn you.

    Myra, I really think it might be worth it to consider polishing one or two of those books and self-publishing them if you have a lag time in between your novels releasing. Maybe not the full Print on Demand route, but definitely the cheaper ebook route, in order to keep your readers interested and aware of you while they wait for your next print book.

    Linnette, thanks for buying my book! I hope you enjoy it! I think you're exactly right to just focus on your first novel and traditional publishing. I couldn't have done this entire self-publishing route without my experience in traditional publishing to help me, so it's worth it to have some experience before self-publishing, in my opinion.

  40. Debby--Dineen found that cover for me, isn't she adorable? And so perfect for the story!There is LOTS of good food in this book. I got hungry while writing it!

    KC--Congratulations! And that's really great to know you're on track to break even. Thanks also for your experience in self-publishing, since it's good to have info from lots of different people. I got your book in the mail a little while ago and I'll be donating it to my church since I don't have kids, but I think they'll love it!

    Holly, you rock!!!! LOL I hope you enjoy both Weddings and Wasabi and Protection for Hire!

    Mary--LOL! Thanks for buying my book! I'm glad I'm worth more than a bagel. :)

    Faye--You're welcome!

    Patricia—Thanks so much! Dineen specifically chose colors and that picture to match my other books as well as matching Jenn's personality. Maybe my sharing today will help you at some point in the future!

    Casey—never say never! LOL I thought that once but when I saw a good reason to self-publish, I realized this was a great marketing tool.

  41. Victoria—actually, I did consider Createspace but I wasn't sure if they would allow the book to be available at other places besides Amazon, because I wanted it up on and also So that's another reason I chose Winepress, because they could get the book on as well as the other places.

    Susanna, I actually liked book 3 the best. I promise it's not very techie although the back cover blurb makes it seem that way. :)

    Stacey, thanks! I hope this post helps your friend!

    Missy, this might be something for you if you have a dusty manuscript under your bed and a long lag time in between releases. :)

    Cara, thanks! Yes, I have a lot of writer friends going this route for their backlist books.

    Ruthy, I'm SO on those ice pops! Whew, it's hot here in CA!

    Thanks, Susan! Yes, I know my self-publishing experience was expensive compared to others since I was using Winepress, but I didn't really care since I didn't have the time to do things for myself. I don't regret it. Next time I self publish, I'm not sure. It will depend on how much time I have, again!

  42. Vince, thanks so much for buying my book! LOL Love the instant gratification part!
    Do you consider these four books to be romantic comedies? The characters say witty and funny things but the situations are not funny as they would be in a situation comedy.

    Good observation. No, these are not considered romantic comedies. Rom-coms tend to be a bit more slapstick, and my editors for the Sushi series deliberately steered me away from that because I have a tendency toward slapstick. :P This is considered chicklit, but since that's a term most editors prefer not to use these days, I've been calling it humorous contemporary romance, since it leans more toward contemporary romance than women's fiction.

    How does “Weddings and Wasabi” position itself within the series as a whole if it is the first book a person reads? (Is it much of a spoiler?) I have two of your books but the type was too small and I never got very far into the books. How should I look at book four? Should I read the other books in reverse order now? (3, 2, 1). I like “Weddings and Wasabi” so much I probably buy the other books for the Kindle.

    W&W is a bit of a spoiler for book 2 in the series, Only Uni, but it doesn't do much spoiling for the other two books in the series. Most readers have said they prefer reading the books in order just because it flows better, but I deliberately wrote each one to be read as a stand-alone. I wouldn't read it in reverse order since there's also a character progression for several of the characters like Trish, Mimi and Grandma from books 1 through 4. :)

    I think your two Kindle books sound great! They also appeal to that "niche market" I was talking about, so doing them on Kindle is perfect.

  43. Hey Camy! I'm looking forward to reading to reading the story. I am glad you were able to do this.

  44. Vince, I can't wait for your Rewarding the Reader workbook/manual. Your post on it in Seekerville was fantastic!

  45. Congratulations on your self-published book.
    I'm self-publishing the ebooks in my Angel series. The first one cost me nothing as I have two professional editors helping me from my church who believe in my books as a form of ministry. The second book cost less than a hundred because I hired a graphic artist to change my cover, which I own the rights to.

    While I was confident enough to upload them as Kindle books myself, I am looking into hiring someone to upload them for sale in the B&N and Apple store. Learning epub formatting is one issue I don't want to deal with.

  46. Well I need to get down to business and read this series don't i? May I just say that I love this cover and I honestly couldn't tell that it was a self-pubbed book just by looking at it? They did an awesome job matching it with the other covers. :-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  47. Wow, this was such a great post!!! What a neat inside look at the pros and cons of self-publishing, and why a published author would take that route. I LOVE your books, Camy!

  48. Holly—thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it!

    Lisa, I also didn't want to deal with all that formatting stuff, which was why I hired Winepress to do all that, plus take over the print publishing side of it. I want to write, not publish my books!

    Renee, thanks so much! I hope you don't mind if I pass your comment on to Dineen, because she did a fantastic job on the cover!

    Virginia—thank you! I'm so glad you like my books! I can't get over how weird that seems to me sometimes. :)

  49. I'm not sure if I would be as "brave" as you and self-publish a new book.
    I did self-published a Scottish/Viking historical I'd published with Cerridwen press a few years ago and had the rights back on, retitled His Lady Viking. It's on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. So far, in the month it's been available, I'm a little ahead of where I was after the first month with Cerridwen.

  50. This was so interesting and helpful. I was in a writer's group yesterday where someone told her experiences at self-pub'ing. Each author's experience seems to be different. I am working on an Asian cookbook ebook. I'll plan to read all of your books and sign up for your newsletter and Dream Team to learn more about your Asiana knowledge. Thanks for this post.

  51. This book sounds terrific!


  52. That's awesome, Jean! I think it depends on each author's purpose for self-publishing. I wanted to use it as a marketing tool so it made sense to publish a new book. Self-publishing a backlist book is also very wise--after all, if you have the rights, why just let it languish on your computer, right?

    Thanks, Kayleen! I got your email and will send your bookmarks today! Thanks for being part of my Street Team!

    Thanks Leanne!

  53. Camy,

    I found it fascinating to learn more about the publishing process. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Jodie Wolfe

  54. I'm glad I stopped by today, Camy. I too am dipping my toe into the self-publishing pool. I'm paying for editing and a great book cover but the rest I'm doing myself. I'm hoping to have everything ready to upload to Kindle and CreateSpace in August.
    Bravo, Camy!

  55. Camy,
    Audra directed me to your post, b/c I'm going to Indie publish.

    I was a bit stunned by the price, as I plan on having my mms edited as well. And cover art done. I didn't know about Winepress, and I'll look into them.

    Are you considering other routes in the future (if you continue this concept as well as your other imprints) like going directly through Amazon?

    Keep us apprised!
    LA of Five Scribes
    (Leslie Ann Sartor)

  56. Hi Leslie,

    Good questions!

    The high price is mostly because I wanted a Print on Demand copy, not just an ebook copy done. If you want to go just the ebook route, it is super cheap. When you want a Print on Demand copy available for people, it gets expensive because of all the stages it has to go through.

    Also, Winepress is a bit more expensive because they have a high editing standard and require all manuscripts to go through at least one in-house editor and one in-house proofreader before it goes to print in any way, shape or form.

    Also, Winepress has very high quality POD books--I've seen them at trade shows like ICRS and they're very nice, unlike some other POD books I've seen with lower quality materials in the cover and pages. So they will be a little more expensive.

    I don't think I would go with Amazon Createspace because I'm not sure what other booksellers my book would be available at. One main reason I went with Winepress is because they got me into ALL the online bookstores, INCLUDING, which (from what I heard) is harder to get into for self-published books (but don't quote me on that). I'm also in iBooks and BooksaMillion. It wasn't clear to me from the website if Createspace would be able to get me into

    The one thing I do not want to do is only go through Amazon, because I love my Nook and I think lots of people will be buying the new Nook, and I want to make sure my book is available on

  57. You're totally welcome, Jodie!

    Good for you, Lyn! One thing I would suggest is to also get your book into I think the new Nook will get a lot of ebook buyers because unlike the Kindle, people can go into a store to try it out AND they can get face to face customer service if something goes wrong.

  58. Camy, I am so glad you did this and wrote about it. Last January I did some serious evaluation of my own writing career path and determined that I will probably only ever self-publish. Why? Because of my niche market and my purpose for writing. The whole evaluation process is a story for another day.

    However, I have also determined, after trying three different venues of self-publishing (traditional print, self-service POD/e-book, and full service POD/e-book). I've had excellent results with the first two in terms of sales. I'm still evaluating the last one.

    However, the industry has changed substantially in the last couple of years. As a result of these changes and a great deal of research, I concluded that the best course of action for me is to start my own publishing company. Why? Two main reasons. Cost savings plus greater return on investment and flexibility (in particular flexibility in hiring editors that understand my niche market).

    My experiences with the last book were similar to yours--even with respect to using my own cover artist and working with the company. I'm glad you shared all this because I've been keeping Winepress tucked in the back of my mind as a possible alternative.

    I will be curious to hear how you feel about this venture a year from now, when you've had a chance to see a return on your investment.

    For myself, my books are an extension of the ministry. Yes, writing is a small part of the ministry, but in the end it is about reaching people with the Gospel, edifying and encouraging Christians, and glorifying God.

    I've concluded going with a traditional publisher would crimp the ministry-slow down the speed needed to get material out, increase tensions for myself (putting me between the publisher and my church when it comes to certain guidelines for material), and present a number of other possible issues.

    Research is key to success in self-publishing. You've got to know why you're doing it, know how much you are willing to invest, know the venue of printing you wish to use, and how you will market. Then you have to be prepared to work hard. If your heart is in your message not in seeing your name on the book, then you're more likely to be satisfied with the results you see.

  59. I wanted to also mention that I used CreateSpace a few years ago, and yes, they do get your book into a wide variety of stores, even brick and mortar. I was amazed at how many online stores my book was made available to. As to brick and mortar stores, while distribution to them is possible, I found I needed to go to the store and request the manager order it. In the end, I found that the store managers I approached either took the book on consignment or purchased the book from me directly. This resulted in more money for me than if the store ordered it from the publisher. :)

    Also, since my niche market is small, I know what stores to approach and that made selling to them much easier than going through a large distribution company like Ingram/Spring Arbor.

  60. Thanks for sharing that, Lynn. I was wondering if CreateSpace books did go where they said they did. :-)

  61. Lynn, thanks so much for sharing that! It's really great to hear from someone who has done so much research into self-publishing and has really strong motivations for it. I hope your publishing house venture works out well--it sounds like a really great option for you!

    I also echo Lyn Cote, thanks for that info on Createspace!