How To Republish Your Own Dang Book

Or: How To Rise Like A Phoenix From So Many Ashes

giphy

Seriously, y’all.

Now that the Ariah relaunch has happened, I thought it might be cool to walk you through what that looked like, exactly, in case any of you out there need similar info/skills in the future times.

What Happened When I Heard My Press Was Going Under
Oh, you know. Irritation. Resignation. Worry. But it’s the new normal, right? You can’t let yourself dwell on it too much. I got the rights reversion language from them, and filed it away. Ariah (and the other books I had under contract with them) was mine again.

And that felt a bit like freedom, honestly. Terrifying, exhilarating freedom.

Deciding What To Do Next
I went into that a little here. The options were pretty clear-cut:

  • find a press willing to reprint Ariah
  • create a press and reprint Ariah
  • self-publish Ariah

Ultimately, I went with option 3, for now, because of timing and resources. Judging by word of mouth and some of the few stats I have at my disposal, there is some momentum and demand for Ariah out there currently. I was afraid if the book disappeared altogether that the word of mouth would dry up, the momentum would turn to stillness, and Ariah would entirely lose the audience its found. It felt, and still feels, important to keep the book out there. It is as entirely legitimate as it will ever be–publishing through a press is not going to make that more or less true–and the text has already been copy edited.

Ariah’s Second Edition – Nuts And Bolts
Ok, with that decision made, I started sketching out tasks to make it happen:

  • Cover – I have always loved the cover art the press secured for Ariah, so when they offered to let me purchase it, I jumped at the chance. Done.
  • Redo Digital File – I took the epub file the press gave me for promotion purposes when the book initially launched, and plopped it into Sigil. Sigil is a free program that I use to edit and manipulate epub files until they are *exactly* how I want them.
    • Change Front and Back Matter – I needed to make changes, definitely, to the copyright page. This is a second edition, since the publisher has changed. I took out some of the language my press had in the copyright page and added some other language. I reconfigured the Table of Contents. I removed some of the back matter and added other back matter, and made the links live.
    • Tweak Book Design – In Sigil, I tweaked some of the chapter titles and section headings to be more my aesthetic.
    • Upload to Kindle – When the Sigil file was done, I uploaded it to a different program, Calibre. In calibre, you can add a cover image. You can also convert the epub to other formats (like mobi). I took the newly created mobi file and uploaded it to Kindle. Bam: that’s your ebook.
  • Redo Print File – Also in Calibre, I converted the epub to a rtf file. I made whatever book design choices I wanted in Word–important note: you have to set paper size to 6×9 and set mirror margins to match the default CreateSpace size. I found this part to be extremely, weirdly, super fun. Then, I exported the word doc as a PDF, which I uploaded to CreateSpace.
    • Upload to CreateSpace – You’ll need to go through CreateSpace’s entire finicky checklist, and you’ll need to go through the cover design process there. This was…less fun, but very thorough. Once it’s all done, and reviewed, then you have a print-on-demand paperback!
  • Update Amazon Author Page – Go to AuthorCentral and add the new versions of the ebook and paperback to your bibliography. I had to add all the extra shizz to their pages (editorial reviews, about the author, etc).
    • I couldn’t get Amazon to link the new editions to the old editions, so the current reviews are trapped forever on the old edition’s page. *sad trombone*
      • although I have found a couple of ways to inquire about this (check out this and this if you wind up with similar issues). So hopefully this will be resolved soon!
  • Update Goodreads – Add the new ebook and paperback as new editions to your book’s goodreads page. If you do this, then your reviews from the old editions will carry over like magic.
    • If you run into trouble with that, the Goodreads librarian group is full of angels.

What’s Next?
The big question is What To Do With Those Other Books Zharmae Had Under Contract. I’ve shopped them around a little, but not much. But honestly, I don’t really know what’s next.

I do know it will work out. And I’ll be around. And it’ll be great! Stay tuned.

ARIAH has relaunched!

In the wake of Zharmae’s closing, I was faced with a choice:

  • take my book and go quietly into the night, shopping it around as a possible reprint
  • relaunch it myself immediately

I’ve decided to do both things. I’ve put a couple of feelers out to people who might be interested in reprinting Ariah–people with resources and reach I don’t have alone–but in the meantime, this little book has grown legs!

There are readers who would like to buy it in the interim, in both ebook and paperbook formats, and it feels not super cool to keep Ariah out of circulation just because when it takes not a terrible amount of effort to put it back in circulation.

So: Ariah is available, as a second edition, via Amazon in both print and digital formats. One day there might be yet a third edition, if any of those feelers pan out, but maybe not, so what is there to lose really?

Psst – there is a giveaway happening right now through my newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter mailing list here, if you haven’t already, and enter the giveaway here.

Ariah_FrontCoverOnly

2nd Edition Ebook | 2nd Edition Print

The second edition has no story or grammatical changes in the text compared to the first edition. Really, the only change is that the first edition was published by Zharmae, and this edition is published by me, and thus they have different ISBNs. I did take the opportunity to make some slight differences to layout and book design, but again, the book does not have any additional content, so if you already have a copy of Ariah, I can’t really tell you in good conscience to pick up a copy of the second edition (unless you’re like OMG I MUST SUPPORT B IN EVERYTHING THEY DO in which case…thank you! You’re very sweet and encouraging!!).

B

To Be Or Not To Be a Self-Published Author

Alte_Buecher

books are books regardless of who published them…right?

That is the question with which I am currently struggling.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to go the traditional route or whether to self-publish my work. I think, ideally, I would end up doing both. There is a lot I like in the abstract about self-publishing, specifically the idea that there does not need to be a gatekeeper to determine what does and does not qualify as art. In more practical terms, I like the control the option of self-publishing affords.

BUT everyone who has given me advice on pursuing publishing has pointed out that fair or not (I think not) there is still a stigma about self-publishing. Legitimate writers are traditionally published writers – even though the face and character of traditional publishing houses is in the midst of a lot of changes. The advice I’ve gotten most consistently is that if I want to traditionally publish I should wait to self-publish until after that happens. Unless you’ve sold a preposterous amount of ebooks on your own it seems much easier to go from traditional to self published than the other way around.

The thing is that I don’t see any way that I’m going to sell a preposterous amount of ebooks. Check out this entirely well researched venn diagram:

100% representative of reality - trust me I checked things.

100% representative of reality – trust me I checked things.

The way I see it I am likely to develop a small but fervent readership. The kind of fantasy I write (secondary world fantasy mostly for adults) and the themes I write about (queerness,  frank sexuality, oppression) will ring extremely true for some people and leave others irritated or angry or utterly disinterested. Which is completely fine. I do not need to be the most popular kid at the ball, and I’m writing about specific lived experiences that are often shut out from mainstream discourse because those lived experiences are important to me.

What i’m saying is that I have never suspected that my writing will have a mass appeal, but also that it’s important for marginalized voices to be out there even if they don’t have mass appeal. And given that in the current crisis with but publishing houses that publishers do not want to take a chance on writers writing for very small markets, this often means those “niche voices”, which are often marginalized voices, do not get heard via traditional routes. And I am one of those.

So. Do I take my queer elves struggling with racism and classism and publish them myself? Do I query for agents and hope those agents have the skills to sell this stuff to publishing houses? Do I want to risk doing that if it means the publishing house or the agent or both wants to straighten out one of my queer characters? BUT if I self-publish, me with no background in marketing, me with my handful of facebook friends, can I pull my shit together enough to get a readership? Do I have the time and resources to hire and editor, get a good cover done, etc when I’m working full time and supporting a family on a not particularly large paycheck?

I don’t know.

I guess I don’t have to know right now. There’s no rush. I’m querying some agents. I’ve got projects all over the place. I’m developing a readership, I think, ad hoc through friends giving my books to their friends, who pass them along to their friends. Which is incredible and amazing and for which I am immensely grateful. So I have no answer to this question, just a lot of feelings about it. As always, I invite anyone and everyone to comment and give me their insights!