Friday, October 23, 2015

THE JOYS OF SELF-PUBLISHING

It's my pleasure to welcome the wonderful and talented Karen Walker to my blog. Karen is a kind woman that always has an encouraging word to share when you need it the most. Please, show her some love. 


Thank you, Murees, for hosting me today.

Two words – control freak. That’s me. I am an extremely organized, detail-oriented person and I want things done the way I want them done. Now, over the years, I’ve mellowed quite a bit in this regard. But, for the most part, I like to feel as if I’m in control, even if I’m not.

Truth be told, I really wanted to be traditionally published. Back in 2009, when I finished writing my memoir, I spent 1 ½ years sending query letters. I wasn’t successful and ended up self-publishing my memoir. This time around, I was more realistic. I still wanted to be traditionally published, but I knew the likelihood of that happening was very small. So I had a plan B in place. I only spent a few months in the query process and then began the self-publishing journey. Yeah, I can have creative control.

The only downside as far as I’m concerned is the money you have to spend to get a professional book. I’m talking paying for editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design, interior design, photography for author photo. These are things a traditional publisher handles for an author. But after that, unless you are already a best-selling author, you won’t get much marketing support, so you’re on your own, just as if you self-publish. If you are a traditionally published author and I’m incorrect about this, please say so in the comments.

I worked closely with the photographer (Kathleen Mesmer, www.kathleenmesmer.com) and designer (Mark David Gerson, www.markdavidgereson.com) who put my cover together. It was a collaborative creative effort and it was so much fun. I had input as well on font choices, whether to capitalize initial words in first paragraphs of chapters, and other things along those lines. The finished product is something I feel proud of, not just because I wrote it, but because of how it looks. It feels as if it is truly mine.

I am lucky enough to be able to afford to pay for the services I can’t do myself. In addition to the above-mentioned editing, etc., I had to pay to have my book formatted as well. This is something I know many Indie authors do for themselves. That would have made my self-publishing experience less than joyful for me. I’m not a techie person.

I think we are so lucky to be living in a time when a writer can go to a site like Create Space and upload something they’ve spent time and energy on so they can share it with the world. Self-publishing has come a long way even since 2009, when I published my memoir. It’s lost its stigma. There are still some self-pubbed books that are not well written and not professional. But the same can be said for traditionally published books. We, as readers, have to do our homework when we choose what to purchase.

Thanks again, Murees, for having me here today. Here’s the scoop on The Wishing Steps.

Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia

“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess

Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.

“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander



Karen Helene Walker is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at www.karenhelenewalker.com



The Wishing Steps is now available in both print and ebook versions at: Amazon.com. You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.

22 comments :

  1. I totally admire the work you guys put into self-publishing. I never realized it until I met so many of you, but it's like running your own business. You're EVERYTHING, the writer, the art director, the publicity department... Trad published authors still have to do a lot of our promotion, but we take for granted that someone handles getting the book put together and out there on bookshelves and Amazon, etc. My mom just went through all of this because she self-pubbed and the little details were crazy. Of course, someone had to walk me through some of that, too--setting up an Amazon Author Central account, Goodreads giveaways, etc. I think it's great that authors have so many opportunities. Karen--there are also a lot of smaller publishers, if you ever want to go that route, as well. Medeia Sharif and others write for those. And Kelly Hashway is a blogging friend out here--she acquires for Leap Books and is always looking for great reads. SO many options and you can combine self-publishing, small presses, and even big pub companies if you want.

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  2. I love that self-publishing has lost much of the stigma it once had. There are so many wonderful books, like yours Karen, that we as readers are now able to read. Before I think many authors just gave up when a publishing company didn't like their work.

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  3. I also used to want to be traditionally published, but now that I've gone over to the "dark" side, I don't really see myself going back without some REALLY good incentives.

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  4. Doing it all would be tough, but if you have the resources, you can do it right. Which you did!
    My small press does pay for some marketing, but I am expected to match and exceed their efforts.

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  5. Good morning, Murees- sorry, I overslept and I'm late to the party - but here I am. Thanks so much for hosting me today.
    Stephanie, you're right and I did try some small presses, obviously not all of them. I think everyone needs to find the path that's right for them for the particular book they've written. This book seems to have wanted me to do it this way.
    Mason, Yes, we writers are very lucky things have changed so much in this regard.
    Misha, Ha - the "dark" side. Love that
    Alex, that's interesting to know. Thanks.

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    1. You are very welcome! It's a pleasure having you over.

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  6. Are other people seeing the images in this post. All I see is white space with a question mark in the middle?

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    1. Nope, not seeing the images. Thought it was my browser.

      But congratulations, Karen! You've really got something there to be proud of. Well done. :)

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  7. A good article on self-publishing, Karen and wishing
    you much success with your book.
    I only see white spaces too.

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    1. Thanks, Manzanita. Hmmm about the white spaces.

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  8. I know there are a few of my novels I likely will have to self-publish due to there not being much of a traditional market for them right now, but the others I'd really like to try and get them out there traditionally first if I can. I read somewhere that you shouldn't give up until you have over 100 rejections - at that point there really IS something wrong with your query letter or story itself if you've gotten nothing in that time. I figure, hopefully someone likes my idea before 100 rejections. But it's also good to know that self-pubbing is a great fallback seeing as it's so easy now and not so looked down on. I'd have to save money for the cover and editing though, which sucks, but oh well!

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    1. Oh and yeah, the pictures are not loading for me either. Broken links. They say gmail.. did you copy them over from your email?

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    2. Good luck with your publishing journey, Madilyn. Yes, I sent the images through email to Murees. Something must have gotten lost in the translation.

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  9. Ah, Murees, thank you for fixing this.

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    1. You are very welcome! I'm so sorry about the pictures in the first place:(

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  10. I apologize for the disappearing pictures. I think I fixed it now. Sorry. Congratulations, Karen. It was a pleasure having you. You are welcome back anytime.

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    1. feeling bad is not allowed today!!! no worries, Murees. You're an angel

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  11. Good post on self-publishing! It's good to have another option besides traditional publishers for getting your work out there.

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    1. Sherry, I think it's crucial. Most of us will never be lucky enough to be traditionally published. Should our books languish in our computers or desk drawers. I don't think so.

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  12. You're so right, this is a great time and it's amazing what authors can do for themselves now. I'm with you on the formatting, I don't think I could ever figure out how to do that myself without going totally insane in the process.

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  13. I love this post - personally, I love getting down to the nitty gritty and doing all the techie stuff (not that it always turns out right mind you) and I love how self publishing gives me so much control over my own writing/schedule. I'd never say no to being traditional published, but I'm having a blast self-publishing right now :).

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