Saturday, June 18, 2011

To 'P' or NOT to 'P'

Hello Fans:

Which do you choose?  Paper or Plastic?  CD or Download?  PC or Mac?  Laptop or Tablet?  Landline Phone or Cell?  HD or Blue-Ray?  Xfinity or Fios?  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, and yet, with each decision, technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we conduct our daily lives, and not only that, as we continue to grow, technology has a way of killing whole industries, while creating new ones.  All of this stuff was designed to make our lives better.  Hmmm, I don't know about you, but I find technology has robbed me of my time, and before you know it, you're on 20 social media sites and spending at least 16 hours (combined Saturday and Sunday) trying to connect with each one, and contacting fans and friends alike, but somehow, this is supposed to be better for us~~I'm pulling my hair and gritting my teeth, lovingly!  (smile).

One question I deliberately left out is To Publish or NOT to Publish~~That is the question?  Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?  Hmmm, where does one begin?  How do you go about it?  How much is this going to cost?  Is it worth my time and energy?  Believe me when I tell you I have asked myself that question a million times, and no matter how many times I ponder on that, I come back to the same answer~~a resounding YES!  It's yes to self-publishing because it opened a door for me that might otherwise have remained closed for many, many years.  There are pros and cons to everything you do in life, and publishing is definitely no different.  You cannot make this decision lightly because there are dollars at stake and your precious time.  So I decided to finally live out my dream, and with it came a few nightmares.

In order to get to the next level, in whatever stage of life you are, you have to set goals for yourself.  Remember when you were in school and your teachers would ask, "so where do you see yourself in five years?"  The funny thing is my answer was always the same.  Being a novelist, but actually, I take that back, for many years, I aspired to be a journalist.  I love journalism.  But, things happened, my life's vehicle drove me down different paths, and so on and so forth, and that didn't happen; however, I never gave up that I would one day steer myself to the point where I am right now.  So. . .my vehicle has parked here!  And I had no idea just how much being an author was really going to change my life.

Being an author is definitely not easy.  I repeat, being an author is not easy!  Sitting down and writing these very words flow effortlessly for me, or so it would appear to you, the reader, but actually, I've deleted and rewritten about ten times trying to figure out how to introduce this latest blog post.  I've now been on my laptop for over two hours, (four and a half now, to be exact), and I haven't answered emails yet.  My mom always told me to be careful what you wish for, and I'm really beginning to see exactly what she means, (as I chuckle to myself).  My family and friends invite me to events and ask to hang out and let's go to dinner, and that whole thing, but I don't have time~~seriously, I truly don't.  Often times I find myself feeling guilty because people may think I'm being mean or rude, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  My laptop is my lifeline for my manuscripts and for contacting fans who want to hear from me, and they can be pretty damn demanding sometimes.  It gets really crazy.  Trust me, you don't know the half!

But, this is what I dreamed of.  This is what I wanted all of my life, and slowly but surely, it's happening~~FINALLY!  I'm gaining recognition for my work by my peers and fellow authors, and that is the most rewarding feeling.  I have arrived (on a small scale), but arrive nonetheless, and I'm thankful~~truly!  God has been good to me, and I'm humble.  So, are you still thinking about publishing?  When you self-publish, please don't misunderstand what those two little words mean.  SELF and PUBLISH!  YOU are doing it ALL!  YOU produce upfront money to get your book published.  YOU are your own agent!  YOU are the promoter and marketer!  YOU pay for the look of your book.  YOU pay to advertise your book.  YOU are the cheerleader on the sidelines getting the reading audience pumped up about your book.  It's all You!  And if you think that's easy, God love ya!

Truth is, it's hard as hell, and I'm not sugarcoating this for you.  I'm not trying to discourage you from your dreams, but I want YOU to really know what it is you are asking for, when you say YOU want to SELF publish a book!  That is why, if you just want to see your words in print to give to family and friends, then you don't have to invest in marketing, but if you think you're going to build a career out of writing~~well. . . good luck with that~~and I mean that sincerely.  There are millions~~I REPEAT millions of self-published authors you are in competition with, who again, have that same dream all of us writers have~~to be that next best-selling author~~to blow up~~to go viral.  Again, I wish you the best, because it takes time, patience and it takes lots and lots and lots and lots of money!  I did say lots of money!  Okay, you feel me now.

So. . .future self-publishing authors, to make life just a little easier for you, I'm going to post the top 14 self-publishing companies for you to review and decide which is best for you.  Remember, my post started out with questions and decisions, and here's more for you to think over.

These self-publishing companies can range as low as $99.00 of upwards $30,000.00 and more.  Yes, I'm not kidding you, there are some SP's that can charge you higher than that, depending on how much YOU plan to market yourself, or depending on the publishing plan you choose.  They will give you the stars, moon and the sun, but remember, YOU will pay the price for them!  No joke!  Nothing, that is, not much is free!  Keep that in mind!
1.  Author House:  http://www.authorhouse.com

2.  Trafford Publishing:  http://www.trafford.com

3.  Infinity Publishing:  http://www.infinitypublishing.com

4.  Outskirts Press:  http://www.outskirtspress.com

5.  Booksurge:  http://www.booksurge.com

6.  Xlibris:  http://www.xlibris.com

7.  InstantPublisher:  http://www.instantpublisher.com

8.  Bookstand Publishing:  http://www.ebookstand.com

9.  Red Lead Press:  http://www.redleadpress.com

10.  Omega Publications:  http://www.omegapublications.net

11.  Tri-State Litho:  http://www.tristatelitho.com

12.  RoseDog Publishing:  http://www.rosedog.com

13.  Lulu:  http://www.lulu.com

14.  Smashword:  http://www.smashwords.com
 
 
I'm not sure if these links are still good, but as I have advised in previous posts, YOU must do your homework.  So, I've listed the ones here that most of my author friends use, and also, are rated among the best of the best.  There are hundreds of self-publishing companies out there, and it's your job to find out which ones are best suited for you, and your wallet.

So, remember, future authors, it's wonderful to have the writing dream, but it is so very important that you really THINK about all that comes along with that dream.  As I stated, there will be a few nightmares along the way, but if it's truly what you want to do, then you must go for it.  At the end of the day, it's worth it to me.  I'm not wealthy, yet, and I still must work a 9 to 5, but I'm living what I have said I was all of my life, and that's a writer.  I welcome the challenges and embrace the ups and downs of being a self-published author, and as one of my fans once asked me, "do you regret doing it?"  The answer is No!  If I had it to do all over again, I'd do everything the same.

Until next weekend, Peace, Love and Write ON! Writers. . .

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/International Poet
Write ON! Website:  http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz
Write ON! Blog:  www.mellojune.blogspot.com
Email:  mellojune@kimberlyraneehicks.com