A dear friend asked me today about my book-publishing progress.
“Welll…..” I debated whether I should give her the long version, or the quick sum-up- “Nothing yet!”
It’s not that the process is taking longer than I expected.
I did not expect to have to choose between so many publishing paths: traditional publishing via agent, small-press publishing, self-publishing via Amazon, all the other routes for self or indie publishing…
Even after the work of writing and editing a book, it’s still an awful lot of work to decide how to bring it into the world.
I happen to have a few lovely ladies in my circle of friends who preceded me on this journey. While I am currently pursuing traditional publishing (or will restart pursuing it post-Christmas craziness) they have travelled some different routes.
I’ve been meaning to pester them- ahem, I mean ask them- about the details of their personal journeys, and they have been gracious enough to allow me to share their answers on my site.
Today, I would like to introduce Lydia Eberhardt.
Lydia is the author of Esther A.D, a modern-day retelling of the Biblical book of Esther, Beast, a retelling of the classic fairy tale, and Global Warning, a Star-Trek flavored sci-fi tale with some interesting twists.
Welcome, Lydia! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am an educator. I’ve been teaching for 13 years, and taught children from 6 months old all the way to eighth grade. My husband and I like to travel-both nationally and globally.
How did you develop your love of writing?
I have always loved to read. I love good stories-whether it’s a book or movie or even a tv show.
I also have a good imagination. As a child, I used to imagine myself into a book or movie when I was trying to fall asleep. As I grew, I still did this, but the stories began to be more of my own creations rather than someone else’s.
Your three books are very different from each other. Where did you find the inspiration for them?
When I wrote Esther A.D., I had just finished reading one of my favorite versions of Esther. I was thinking of how all the variations I’ve read were always set historically, and I began to wonder if it would work translated into current/future times. That idea came from my enjoyment of all the classic fairy tales being retold into modern times. It may sound odd, but it was like the story was poking me saying, “Write me. Write me.”
Beast came from my love of fairy tales. Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale, but I think Beauty and the Beast is my next favorite. It’s fun to find all the different variations on the fairy tales. For example, I once read a version of Cinderella where the prince discovered her because he slipped a ring on her finger before she ran off on the third night of the ball.
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure where Global Warning came from. I never planned on writing an environmental science fiction. But I do love science fiction, so I guess it came from that.
Once you decided to publish, what was your process? Did you consider traditional publishing or did you always plan to self-publish?
Unless you are willing to get an agent, finding a publisher can be challenging. Many publishing houses won’t take unsolicited manuscripts or manuscripts not from an agent. When I was writing Esther A.D, I did some searching on the internet and found a subsidy publisher that was interested in publishing my book. Basically I paid them to publish and promote my book. I was not overly impressed with them, but I was excited because someone thought what I wrote was good enough to publish!
One of my friends is also an author, and she published through Amazon. I spoke with her about her experience, and she had many positive things to say. So when I was ready to publish a second book, I decided to go that way.
How has Amazon been different from the subsidy publisher? Have you liked working with them?
I am using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) services. Basically, your book gets published as an ebook. Amazon also allows you to have the option of releasing your book as a paperback.
It’s a pretty neat service! They even have a cover creator, so if you are not very artistic, you can still get a decent looking cover. They do NOT provide an editing service.
KDP is interesting because they allow you to publish and only charge you if ebooks or paperbacks are ordered–and the charge comes out of the sale. Plus they tell you what it costs to make them. For example: the cost to them for publishing one of my books is about $2.15. So when you go to set your price, they tell you that in order to cover printing and Amazon’s portion of the pie, you need to sell your book for around $3.60 to cover costs. So there is no up front cost like there is with a subsidy publisher.
Dislikes-you are on your own for publicizing and promoting your book. Which can be challenging for someone who is more introverted like me.
I also have used Teachers Pay Teachers to “publish” some of the children’s plays I have written. When I was teaching preschool and kindergarten, the children would put on a play at the end of the school year. It was challenging to find a children’s play that was written to be performed BY children as opposed to FOR children, so I began writing simple plays for the children to perform. TPT is not for publishing books as much as it is a place where teachers can share the resources they have created with other teachers and be compensated for their efforts. Plus it’s nice to know that you are supporting the education community by buying and selling directly with other teachers. Downside-once again, how do you promote and publicize?
Do you have any advice for authors looking into publication?
Research. If you Google “The Writer’s Guide” you’ll get results for some books that may be helpful. Also if you decide to go with a subsidy publisher, see if they have Google reviews. Check if they have a rating with the Better Business Bureau. See what other people have to say about them before committing.
Have your friends read your writings and be willing to listen to their feedback. If something doesn’t make sense to them, it’s not going to make sense to others either.
Consider getting an agent. I currently have not gone that route, but that’s partly because I consider myself an educator first and an author sixth or seventh. If you are seriously into writing, I would encourage you to at least speak with some agents and see what they could do for you.
Money depends on what path you are taking. There are many companies out there that will publish your book for several hundred to even thousands of dollars, and provide a variety of services for that fee. You have to decide what you are willing to invest into you book.
Thanks so much for your time, Lydia!
Are you seeking publication? Where have your writing journeys led you?
Thanks for visiting!