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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest Post: Michelle Davidson Argyle Discusses Self-Publishing

Today I have the pleasure to introduce a guest post by Michelle Davidson Argyle.  Michelle is the author of the novella CINDERS and she'll be sharing her insights about the self-publishing process.

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!
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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!
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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.

15 comments:

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I have plenty of copies, do don't enter me into the contest, hahaha. :)

Thanks for doing this, Gabi! Can't wait to see who wins!

Jolene Perry said...

Thanks for sharing - this makes self-publishing sounds like an interesting project.
That... and... I totally need to be in the contest.
Thanks!

Shallee said...

Great guest post! Thanks for sharing such good info about the self-publishing world.

a.m.harte said...

I am definitely one of those adult YA readers. :-)

I definitely understand the joy of being able to go wherever you want with self-published writing. I had tried repeatedly to write a novel and kept getting blocked halfway through and giving up. Then I started writing an online novel, knowing it would never see some editor's desk, and the writing just flowed and I'm onto the sequel now.

And of course, I am a big fan of indie publishing and hence would love to win a copy of Cinders. :-)

just-cassie.com said...

good information indeed. I think at some point, it's something I might look into. That said, my writing has a way to go yet to get to that point I think ;-)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Jolene: Thanks for stopping by!

Shallee: You're welcome. I think it's important to share what I've learned. That, and it has been a lot of fun!

a.m. harte: I'll have to go see if I can find your work, then! It sounds exciting. It's always exciting when the floodgates open like that for your creativity.

just-cassie: It's not a bad option if it suits you and your work is ready, yes. I think it's important to make sure you know.

Najela said...

I liked this post. I can totally relate to this idea. My current work in progress is technically being written for the web fiction market. It's been fun to write because I don't have to worry about trying to get it published.

I have a question for the author, did you have a professional editor and book cover designer?

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Najela: It's very freeing, isn't it? As for you question, no I didn't have a professional designer for the cover, but that's because I'm a photographer with a studio and other such resources at my disposal. I realize most people don't have that. As for editing, I was lucky enough to have a friend who used to work as an editor and she offered to edit the book for me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Angela M. said...

I totally get the marketing thing. Many books fall into a gray area where it could be cross-genre. I'm glad you shared your experience with self-publishing with us. I thought about it, but I'm too darn new and don't have a clue what I'm doing yet. Maybe something to consider some time in the future (after much research). It's kind of nerve-wracking to go it on your own.

J.C. Martin said...

Interesting post! Self-publishing is a path I am considering for my WIP, but the uncertainty of it all is daunting! Thanks for sharing!

Kerryn Angell said...

I thought you made an interesting point about being more free to take the story where ever you wanted it. I think a lot of writers are stifled by this when writing a story because they're thinking of publishing rather than enjoying the process of telling a story they love. I'd like to be published "traditionally" but I'm totally keeping my options open and I hope my stories will be more interesting for not thinking about publishing while I'm writing them.

CINDERS is on my to-read list at Goodreads so I'd love a copy! (P.S. I'm in the UK. Not sure if this was limited to the US.)

darksculptures said...

I'm every so happy you shared your experience with us. I've debated the self-published route a thousand times and you gave me some clear insight. Thank you!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Angela: It's VERY nerve-wracking, yes! I think experience is a must to self-publish, but it's always a good thing to know that, for sure! It sounds like you're aware, and that's a fantastic start.

J.C.: I hope you'll check out my self-publishing series over on The Literary Lab!

Kerryn: I think that's a sad fact, yes. It's nice to have the freeing feeling for all of my work now. It made all of this worth it, even if I never sold another copy. Hope you get to read Cinders sometime! I'm also holding a contest for my blog tour (see my author site) that involves a free copy of the book, and it is open to International entries.

gabi said...

Hi all - Just to let you all know, the contest for the copy of CINDERS is open to international entries so feel free to enter if you're outside the USA.

Cheers!

Shaddy said...

Your enthusiasm is contagious! Thank you for sharing.

I'd love to win a copy of CINDERS.

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