Saturday, August 5, 2023

What to Expect When You're Self-Publishing with Katie Carroll

Author Katie Carroll started in traditional publishing in 2012, but tried self publishing for the first time in 2017 and found it very empowering. She’s published YA, MG, PB, as well as non-fiction titles.

Katie provides 7 questions to ask yourself before self-publishing, here are a few of those:

Do I have the time and money to invest in self-publishing? Katie provides some cost breakdown links for an idea of what that might entail.

Is the ‘prestige’ of traditional publishing important to me? Consider what that means to you personally and whether you’re ready to give that up.

Am I considering self-publishing to get a traditional book deal? There are a lot of hybrid authors these days, but Katie recommends considering self-publishing as the end goal in and of itself, not as a vehicle for getting that title into traditional publishing.

Katie shares the steps of self-publishing and how they diverge from traditional publishing, namely all the production/marketing/distribution of a title that a publishing house would normally do for a creator after the final manuscript/art is done.

Even if self-publishing you are going to want to hire editors, and Katie talks about the various types of editing you’ll need: Developmental/big picture edits, line edits, copy edits and proofreading edits. Katie recommends asking other self-pubbed authors for their personal recommendations of the various editors they’ve used. You can also check a book’s acknowledgements and copyright pages. As always, be aware of scams.

Katie shares details of what to think about when hiring an illustrator or a cover artist, for example a picture book illustrator could be paid between $1,000 to $20,000 by a self-published author, and there will be contracts, print parameters, schedules, and payment schedules to be considered on top of budget. 

She shares a number of formatting considerations for print and e-book interiors and cover as well as a list of book distribution channels, retailers that will take on self-published titles, and libraries (which can buy direct from a self-pubbed creator but also acquire via other outlets like Baker & Taylor or Overdrive, among others).

Katie shares a list of book launch steps and marketing opportunities, at the top of which is the one thing a creator can control, their personal website. 

Can you make a living self-publishing? Katie shares the results of some surveys done in the last few years and roughly—a quarter of authors are making 0-$1,000 a year, a quarter are making over $100,000 and the rest are at a median yearly income of about $20,000. That last number is up about 50% from the last survey done for income done in 2021. 

Katie believes we’re in a second ‘golden age’ of self-publishing and part of that is due to great online resources for DIY (one of which is from Team Blog’s own Debbie Ridpath Ohi! As well as SCBWI’s Essential Guide).

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