DIY Project Pitch

Initially….

I planned to create a unique platform to encourage amateur authors to share and publish their works. However, sharing sites are already abundant and I do not possess the faculties or time to publish other writers’ works. Therefore, I decided to work with existing DIY platforms to create a solution for myself: a fully realized, self-published book. I hope to go into book publishing after graduation, and would love to apply any lessons I learn through self publishing a book to the realm of traditional publishing in the future. I believe lessons learned from DIY publishing can grant wider access to upcoming authors.

The project

I will not create a unique platform for aspiring publishers but will instead  extensively use resources to maneuver every aspect of book publishing for myself. The areas I need to tackle include: cover design, book format/layout, and of course, the actual writing. After I complete and redact a complete manuscript that I am satisfied with, I will use design software such as Photoshop to craft a front and back cover tailored to my personal aesthetic tastes. Sites like Createspace and Amazon offer opportunities for both physical and e-book publishing and distribution.

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The most attractive aspect of DIY publishing is enjoying complete autonomy over design. Usually an author unwillingly surrenders this control to traditional publishers. Self publishing also expedites the actual process of making a book available to the public. Wait times through a conventional publishing approach could extend upwards of a year, whereas self publishing guarantees instant gratification. In a similar vein to maintaining artistic control, self publishing permits total control over content. Many people most likely have valuable ideas in them that they could manifest into a book. However, it is equally likely that publishers will not recognize the message an aspiring author looks to convey. Ultimately this leads to sacrificing choice. Self publishing rightfully bestows choice to one person: the author. It grants the compelling freedom of absolute authority over your writing.

Marketing

Amazon is a high traffic website, frequented by millions of people on a daily basis. Any one of these millions of generous consumers could stumble across a self published book on the already established platform that they know and trust.  This is an ideal situation for making my prospective book available to the public with little additional effort on my part. A self published book on Amazon allows for all walks of life to access and enjoy the efforts of an amateur author – further justifying my decision to publish through Createspace. Additionally, I could take to my own social media accounts to promote the book’s availability.

Survey

While I did not conduct a traditional survey, I did ask a number of people close to me regarding their reservations about reading a self published novel. Many believe that, because the book did not go through a traditional publisher and marketing circuits, its quality suffers. Some even view self published books as a waste of time. I seek to abolish this notion and restore credence to the field of DIY book publishing.

Limitations of traditional publishing

DIY book publishing is thriving due largely in part to the limitations set by traditional publishing solutions. Access seems to be the greatest infirmity plaguing traditional publishing that DIY publishing methods seek to remedy. Agents and editors turn away most proposals and manuscripts that they come by, severely stifling the exposure of upcoming authors.  Inadequate marketing also deters writers from going through traditional publishing. Seldom are authors satisfied by the amount of promotion publishers give their books. If a book appears to be lacking in early sales, a publisher’s efforts will most likely be deferred. Finally, a limited share of profits bar many authors from receiving fair compensation for their work. Authors given deals by big publishers are lucky to receive 15% of revenue share from sales at best.

Helpful Link for Publishing on Createspace

A Step-by-Step Guide to Book Publishing with Createspace

DIY Project Proposal

I propose to self publish an original short story or novella that I will meticulously write over the course of the project’s duration. Upon completion, after extensive redacting, I plan to self publish this story via Createspace.

My idea is forthright: to self publish a unique and inspired work of contemporary literature. I will begin planning the story immediately. At first, I will brainstorm the initial story arc; facilitating a free flow of consciousness as to explore all literary ideas thoroughly. It would be ideal to flesh out a story of approximately 50 pages. Perhaps this is a bold plan, but I feel that keeping a fairly lenient schedule of writing one page per day will guide the writing process naturally and allow for substantial ground to be covered with little worry. After I am satisfied with the manuscript, I will turn to Createspace to complete the publishing aspect of my project. I will select both paperback and Kindle availability. Additionally I will design the front and back covers, assuring that they are tailored to my personal aesthetic tastes. Within a few days I hope to see my completed work on Amazon.

There are several reasons to favor DIY book publishing over traditional publishing methods. The most attractive aspect of DIY publishing is enjoying complete autonomy over design. Usually an author unwillingly surrenders this control to traditional publishers. Self publishing also expedites the actual process of making a book available to the public. Wait times through a conventional publishing approach could extend upwards of a year, whereas self publishing guarantees instant gratification. In a similar vein to maintaining artistic control, self publishing permits total control over content. Many people most likely have valuable ideas in them that they could manifest into a book. However, it is equally likely that publishers will not recognize the message an aspiring author looks to convey. Ultimately this leads to sacrificing choice. Self publishing rightfully bestows choice to one person: the author. It grants the compelling freedom of absolute authority over your writing.

Amazon is a high traffic website, frequented by millions of people on a daily basis. Any one of these millions of generous consumers could stumble across a self published book on the already established platform that they know and trust.  This is an ideal situation for making my prospective book available to the public with little additional effort on my part. A self published book on Amazon allows for all walks of life to access and enjoy the efforts of an amateur author – further justifying my decision to publish through Createspace. Nothing would make me happier than to establish an ethereal connection with multitudes of unidentifiable masses by way of the unifying human peculiarity that is creative expression.

Uploading and publishing a book through Createspace is an easy and accessible process. In fact, it is as easy as going to their website and completing the convenient step by step book formatting guide. This is accomplished through starting a new project with a simple click of a button. From there, a title and ISBN number must be chosen. Next, the layout and style of the interior will be formatted and finalized. Designing the cover is the final step before reviewing the assembled book. After attentive review, Createspace gives the option to extend distribution beyond Amazon for an added fee. Once the price of the book is settled and a description of the story has been written, the book will be available for allocation in digital and physical formats.

DIY book publishing is thriving due largely in part to the limitations set by traditional publishing solutions. Access seems to be the greatest infirmity plaguing traditional publishing that DIY publishing methods seek to remedy. Agents and editors turn away most proposals and manuscripts that they come by, severely stifling the exposure of upcoming authors.  Inadequate marketing also deters writers from going through traditional publishing. Seldom are authors satisfied by the amount of promotion publishers give their books. If a book appears to be lacking in early sales, a publisher’s efforts will most likely be deferred. Finally, a limited share of profits bar many authors from receiving fair compensation for their work. Authors given deals by big publishers are lucky to receive 15% of revenue share from sales at best.

The crumbling atmosphere of the traditional publishing world creates a space for DIY publishing to flourish. Due to conglomerates’ focus on squeezing high profit margins out of big name authors, new writers struggle to find publishing deals. Even authors who have enjoyed moderate success have found publishers turn them away on a consistent basis. Smaller advances on book deals are a mere fraction of what they used to be as well.  Authors can expect as little as $1,000 on their advance as opposed to the $50,000 publishers used to dole out for debut literary fiction. Needless to say, these festering sores on the publishing world are often deal breaking aversions for new writers. Thus, they turn to DIY media spheres.

With the publishing industry a shell of its former glory, there is no time like the present to DIY. The boom in the Internet’s influence has created numerous digital outlets for hopeful authors to self design the book they envision without external interference. By following the aforementioned steps, I believe I will be able to effectively self publish a book that I can take immense pride in. Not only will I be able to flex my creative writing muscles with unadulterated freedom, but I will also be able to mold the visual layout and cover in union with the aesthetic I wish to convey with my work.