What You Need to Know About Self-Publishing
Something magical happens when you see your words in print. You feel a mixture of emotions like no other. You might cry, feel exhilarated, and feel vulnerable, all at one time.
At Next Step Coaching Services, we want to celebrate with you when your writing or speaking dreams come true, and we also want to do everything we can to equip you to reach your goals.
Over the next few months we’ll be posting interviews with guests who can offer you a behind-the-scenes-look at the publishing journey, both self-publishing and traditional publishing.
Today we welcome our guest, Joy Trachsel, author of the book, The Great Cover-Up—Inspiring Women to Be Real, Relevant and Ready.
I know you’ll learn so much from Joy’s journey, especially her experience in meeting the challenge of the costs of self-publishing.
Joy, tell us how your publishing journey began.
As a busy mom of four children, I would always tell my children to follow their dreams but ignored this advice for myself.
I would sometimes think about the “book I always wanted to write.” I would usually allow fear to take over and believe thoughts like “you are too old,” “you are not a writer,” or “who will buy my book?”
One day I came across a coaching program called “Dream Year” that sounded perfect for me and gave me a reason to finally say “YES.” For 12 months Ben Arment walked each member through her/his dream, and fortunately, there were several of us who desired to write a book. Along with monthly individual meetings with Ben, the authors formed a small “tribe,” and we held each other accountable and encouraged one another.
One of the challenges of self-publishing can be the cost. Tell us about that.
When the book was complete, I was able to self-publish through the Dream Year program. A flat fee of $3,000 included an editor, designer, assistance with distribution, and 50 copies of our book.
Tell us some of the pros and cons of self-publishing.
One of the difficult things for me about self-publishing was the out-of-pocket expenses. I almost allowed it to deter me until I was encouraged to use crowdsourcing for the funding.
With fear and trepidation, I did a Kickstarter campaign and was shocked by the support that I received. Along with the financial support, I found emotional support from a “tribe” of people saying, “We believe in you.” I liked the fact that I had the freedom to adjust what I wanted to charge.
Not being part of a larger publishing house required that I do the promotion. That is not my strong suit, but I learned to make big “asks,” talk about the book on social media, and ask others to do the same.
What ups and downs did you experience along the publishing journey?
When I began writing the book, I attended a conference and had an opportunity to sit down with two publishing agents. This required completing a formal book proposal and pitching my book. I was pleasantly surprised by how gracious both agents were to this first-time author. Even though my book proposal was not found to be a good fit, it was a beneficial experience.
Both agents offered constructive criticism and offered to review a revised proposal. They also shared how important a larger social media platform was for publishing. I remember feeling very inadequate and sad that my lack of “followers” could be the reason the book would remain unpublished. I didn’t want to wait until I had the sufficient numbers, so I proceeded with self-publishing.
Give three tips our readers need to know about publishing.
- Don’t dismiss the self-publishing option.
- Editing is vital. Edit…edit…edit. Don’t cut corners in this area.
- Think about “add-on” items for your book (bible study questions, webinars, etc).
What do you wish you’d known before the publishing journey?
We write a book because we are passionate about the topic. But we must learn to write a book that others want to read….not just a book that we want to write. I was often advised not to make the book about me and my story but also to include the stories and examples of others.
Self-promotion can also be a challenging task but an important one with social media. You have to believe in the book and be willing to ask others to believe as well.
One more thought:
As I look back on this journey, I can see the difficult times and the times that I wanted to give up, but will never forget the day I realized another purpose for my book. My junior-high-school son said, “Mom I want to write music one day the way you wrote your book.” I realized that publishing this book was not only me following my dream, but it was also me inspiring others to do the same.
Thank you so much for your helpful thoughts, Joy! Joy welcomes your comments and questions.
Joy Trachsel has been speaking to women for over 10 years both nationally and internationally. Joy can be heard on Moody Radio Cleveland (WCRF) as part of the Pause For Prayer Team. She is an advocate for Compassion International and the author of “The Great Cover Up.” Joy lives in Twinsburg, Ohio and is married to Wally. She is the proud mom of Ashley, Ally, Austin and Alex and grandma Jo Jo to Emma, Addie, and Titus. You can get to know Joy better by visiting her blog at www.joytrachsel.com or subscribing to her podcast “Running In Flats.”
(We are thankful our guests share about specific marketing programs, writing programs, publishing companies, etc. because we believe this information can be helpful to our readers. However, please note that Next Step Coaching Services does not specifically endorse them.)