Last month, at the Federation of BC Writers' Self-Publishing Fair, we spent the day with colleagues from every facet of the publishing industry, and authors from every conceivable genre, all passionate about indie publishing. It was both a fun and inspiring experience, and once again, it confirmed our guiding philosophy: just because you're self-publishing, doesn't mean you have to go it alone.
Craig Spence, executive director of the federation, opened the conference with a talk on this very subject. Also a self-published author, Craig described his indie publishing experience as "DIY, with help." Emphasizing that you can't do it all yourself all the time (and you probably shouldn't), he charted the various steps of the publishing process and at which points he got help. Team publishing, assisted self publishing – call it what you want, but it all comes down to collaboration. It's this collaborative nature of self-publishing – working as a team to fulfill an author's vision, with their involvement at every stage of the creative process – that is the driving force behind our business model.
Of course, you have to be wary. There are companies that will charge you a hefty fee to help you "self-publish" your book, then put their name and logo on it, and take a cut of your royalties to boot. You'll lose your rights to your work, and you'll have to buy books back from them in order to sell them independently. The bottom line is that whatever path you choose, you want to do your research well, have a solid business plan in place, and before you sign on for anything, make sure you read the fine print.
To end on a positive note, there's truly never been as much opportunity as there is today for authors to self-publish and connect with readers legitimately and successfully. Next year's Self-Publishing Fair will be held in February 2016 (stay tuned to the Federation of BC Writers' website for more info). In the meantime, check out some other great free events for authors and writers offered through the Vancouver Public Library. And, don't miss our April blog post for a recap of our talk at this year's fair.