Michelle is a contributor over at The Literary Lab, which is where I was first introduced to her writing and we bonded over a mutual love of poetry. When CINDERS was published, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review it and fell in love with Michelle's lyrical writing style. But before I gush any more, I'll let Michelle share her self-publishing experiences.
Read on to hear about Michelle's self-publishing insights and advice and also for info on her blog tour this week and an awesome giveaway!
First of all, thanks to Gabi for having me over here! Gabi was interested in knowing about the self-publishing process and how it relates to creativity.
When I first decided to publish CINDERS, I knew I'd have to have a marketing plan in place and create an awesome cover and figure out how to not only get the word out about the book, but get them to want to buy the book. This is trickiness on all sorts of slippery levels. There is no sure-fire way to sell a book, and every book is different. I'll admit I had to get really creative to figure out what would work best for CINDERS.
With a traditional publisher, you've got press releases and marketing strategies already in place. They take a book because it fits a certain strategy that is most likely tested and true. For me, this being my first self-published work, I had to figure it all out from scratch, and I'm still figuring it out.
(1) Pick a genre - I decided to market CINDERS as seemingly Young Adult, although it's much more adult than YA. I did this because I knew the older YA readers would pick up on it and spread it around. The YA market is filled with eager, actively engaged and loyal readers. This looked like a good start, and my cover has a very YA feel, as well. That, and the novella truly does have a wide age appeal, both male and female.
So...you're saying...but it's not YA...Yes, true, on a certain level. That may be a matter of perspective. Walk into the bookstore and see what books are on the shelves that could be shelved in 5 other spots than where they're placed. Marketing. It's slippery.
(2) Because I self-published CINDERS - and wrote it to self-publish it, I knew I could go anywhere with it and do anything I wanted as long as it came out a professional, well-written story. Knowing this opened creative doors I never even knew were there. I wrote the book faster and with more excitement than I have ever written any long work. I did few revisions and let few people read it before its release. Keep in mind I'd written 3 novels before this and had been writing for 16 years.
(3) I've had to be open-minded about creativity during every step of this publication - since I've had to wear many, many hats: writer, editor (with help), designer, artist, photographer, marketer, secretary, mailman, website designer...and on and on.
Why would I want to do all this?
I like to learn. I like to take risks. I like forging my own path. And I knew I was ready...
That's probably the trickiest thing of all.
In the end, CINDERS has done well according to my standards. It's out there and available and selling. I'm getting it into bookstores. People I've never met before are reading it - one of my ultimate rewards for creativity!
The Blog Tour! Michelle will be giving a blog tour this coming week (starting tomorrow!) She's hosting a FANTASTIC contest related to the blog tour, so check out the link and visit the stops on her tour for a chance to win.
The Giveaway! Here at iggi&gabi we're hosting our own CINDERS giveaway. Leave a comment below and you'll be automatically entered and one lucky reader will get a signed copy of CINDERS. So leave your comments between now and Thursday (Sept 23, 11:59 EST) and I'll pick the lucky winner by lottery and announce it in Friday's Week-in-Review.