Thursday, January 21, 2010

Authors, Self-Publishers: Roundtable, Part 2

Welcome back!

If you missed the post on Monday in this series, you really should check it out. Check the archives, or the post immediately after this one. You don't want to miss out!


Liberty Speidel:  Someone going the so-called "traditional" route has the help of an editor and agent along the way to make their book as good as it can be before going to print. Who, if anyone, do you rely on to help make your book(s) as good as they can be?

Victor Travison: Myself, mostly, plus critiques from friends and family. is invaluable for use of their workshops to present my work to my friends, and accept comments on how to improve.

Tommie Lyn: I have a background in graphic design, so I do my own cover designs. I’m fairly conversant with the English language, and I rely on that ability as well as several proofreaders to catch any typos or outright misspellings or grammar mistakes.

Lee Adams: I have a small collection of literate friends I lean on, bless their ever-lovin’ hearts. However, I need an editor. A real one. Maybe for the next book the right editor will come along. And by right I mean free. As it is, my syntax gets squirrelly (I know it) and there’s an occasional typo. But then I love the old pulp fiction, from Chandler to Spillane, and I own nary a one of those old gems that doesn’t host a bucket of typos and trouble, so I’m in good company. Perhaps my lack of proper editing adds to the books charm. …maybe not.

P.A. Hendrickson: I relied on a small critique group and a professional editor to help me take Dreamstone to the next level. If you go the self-publishing route, you must have at least two or three people with whom you can share your work along the way. Critique groups or "crit groups" are essential for brining a writer out of his or her comfortable, safe, feather-lined nest. Writers need a sounding board for sharing ideas, story pacing, and content. Hiring a professional editor is also a must. Never skimp when it comes to editing. I don't care how great Aunt Sally was in English. Hire a professional!

LS:  What reasons would you give to someone considering self-publishing to not go that route?

VT: Lack of critique services and other helps. Also, since anyone can publish their work through a self-pub outlet, there’s a tendency for them to put out a lot of badly formatted writing. However, I do know a few exceptions within my circle of authorial friends.

TL: If you have very definite problems with English grammar and have no one to help you polish a manuscript, self-publishing may not be right for you. Or if you think that folks will beat a path to your door, looking to buy your book, self-publishing may not be right for you (actually, if you have this belief, publishing in general may not be right for you). It requires a lot of intensive work to prepare a manuscript and cover for publication, and even more work to sell it after it’s published. Fortunately for me, I enjoy every step in the process, from writing to editing (I somewhat enjoy this part, LOL), to cover design, to getting out and meeting people and selling the books.

LA: I would never dissuade anyone from self-publishing. Guerilla art (all of it) is pure and raw and visceral. Might suck, but it’s authentic. If I signed a big book deal tomorrow, I would still want to manufacture the books myself, from cover design to the back-cover blurb.  

PAH: You should not go the self-publishing route if...
•    You are not good at making decisions.
•    You must have the acceptance of a publisher or agent to feel like a "real" author.
•    You have a fear of the self-publishing stigma.
•    You do not want to spend a lot of time promoting your book once it is completed.
•    You do not want to spend money publishing or promoting your work.
•    You are not creative outside of your writing.


P.A. Hendrickson is a new voice in modern fiction. Born in Southern California and raised in the historic river town of St. Charles, Missouri, his imagination grew from liberal doses of Science-Fiction and Fantasy. Although he loves to write, his favorite occupation is that of husband and father. He currently resides in Illinois with his wife and children.
His website is and he's the author of Dreamstone, available through

Until next time,


K.M. Weiland said...

Just looked Dreamstone up on Amazon. Sounds like a good read!

Liberty Speidel said...

Katie, it is very good. I really enjoyed it when I read it last year.

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