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!