Way back in 2012, I researched publishing options for my novel, Champion in the Darkness. I researched agents and publishing houses online and in Writer's Markets; I looked at the publishing houses of the books that I found were most like mine; I researched small presses; I read articles about self-publishing.
I thought, from what I had learned, that only those with a foot already in the door of publishing could get Christian fantasy fiction published. Every author I read in that genre had books published in different genres first. Every agent I found seem to state that they didn't accept Christian fantasy as a genre unless the author already had something published in something like Amish Romance fiction, or Christian Thriller fiction, or secular Fantasy fiction.
Yet, I still wanted to get my book into the hands of readers. I started researching self-publishing, and after six months of research, I thought I knew how to go-ahead.
Well, obviously, I figured out some of it because I went ahead and self-published Champion in the Darkness in February 2013 under my own publishing company name, Wings of Light Publishing.
Since then, I have learned a huge amount. It's been a steep learning curve, and I've often slid back down the slippery slope. I'm no Hugh Howey of success. But, if I can help others who have chosen self-publishing, then I would like to do that.
My very first tip: Set aside at least one full year to research self-publishing. Keep writing during that time, but dig into the subject deep. Read articles and books on self-publishing - both from the cheerleaders and the naysayers. Filter the ultra-positive and the ultra-negative out. Read books by successful authors who are self-published. Study their covers. Study the length of their books. Study the way that they've released their books. Stalk their blogs for advice and information.
Here are four places I suggest to start with:
Susan Kaye Quinn - To celebrate her third Indie-anniversary, she's giving away a free indie publishing consultation. However, even if you don't get that, her site is chock full of information for writers and independent publishers. Sign up for her newsletter, stalk her blog, and learn.
Hugh Howey - Hugh Howey is "the name" in the independent publishing industry. Sign up for his newsletter, stalk his blog, and learn. Also, pay careful attention to the way he released his bestselling Wool series. (More about this in a later post of this series.)
Insecure Writer's Support Group's Self-Publishing Page - IWSG is helpful for every writer. Their page on Self-Publishing has tons of useful links. A collective of writers has created this page, so it's a great place to get a great combination of ideas and thoughts.
M Pax is an indie author who often has insightful posts on self-publishing, marketing, and everything it takes to write and publish.
If a year seems like far too long to research the subject of self-publishing, then I suggest looking at other options. Self-publishing is hard, patient work. Any kind of publishing is hard, patient work. Writing a novel is an accomplishment, and if you are finished, celebrate. But then, know that the publishing side of writing is going to be just as involved and just as much of an accomplishment as writing a novel.