If you asked me years ago if I thought self publishing was a good idea, I would have given you mixed messages. I would have presented to you an extensive list of pros and cons and why going with a traditional publisher is the only ‘real’ option anyone would have. But today things have changed significantly in the publishing world – enough to merit some accolades. So here are a few tips for those of you seeking to self-represent, self-market and self-publish your work.
The first thing you have to do is look at your glass as half-full. Ignore anyone that tells you that you can’t do it on your own. Whether you are publishing a novel, a cook book, an art or photography book or children’s book – you CAN do it. There is a whole world of opportunity for you. It’s called the internet – you may have heard of it. It has all these places you can go to print, publish and market your work. It’s really fantastic!
There are literally dozens of sites you can go to and create a print or e-book, poster, cards – anything for that matter. If you do your research, you will see a whole new world open up to you. It’s a lot easier than you think. Just combine initiative, motivation and creative juices and you’re good to go.
Speaking of Initiative...
Are you motivated? You need to be motivated. You need to want to create the world that you envision could actually be your future. It’s fine to dream big, imagine yourself a rock star on the New York Times Best Seller list, but remember that the do-it-yourself approach is a little (a lot) different than that. Every artist knows that humble pie tastes great and should be shared. But that shouldn’t stop you from setting some lofty goals. I know a few people that made it big just by taking initiative. So get up, get going and take on the world! You need your motivation to do research (lots and lots of research), list yourself on hundreds of sites and plug away socially.
Alright, so maybe not narcissism, but at least healthy doses of feel good about that person you see in the mirror. Taking the do-it-yourself approach requires you to sell yourself, your soul and your work to the world. Create a biography and an artist statement that sums up in 150 words or less what you are all about. Memorize this mini-bio and be ready to share it with anyone interested in listening. The biggest mistake people make is not offering enough information. Sure, you don’t want to be that annoying person that sells insurance or time-shares to their family members... but what you do want to do is make sure people know about your work. So don’t be afraid to plug yourself once in a while (or all the time). Just remember to listen to your friends sometimes, too – we’re all in this together and we all have something to share.
Take a class
Last but not least (for the purpose of this blog that is) – take a class. There are many outlets for writers and artists who are turning to the self-publishing world. If you’re trying to write a thriller or just want to publish your art, there are classes for you in your local community. Get together with writers groups (even if you’re trying to publish a photography book) and meet with people of like minds. You will be pleasantly surprised by all the help that’s available to you.
And above all –
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.
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