Sometimes when people think about writing a book they assume that the traditional way, of creating a manuscript and then submitting to an agent, who then submits to a publishing house, is the way to go. This way does work for some but the success rate is slim, especially for a first time author.
Before I wrote Love of My Life: Memoirs of a Love Lost, I took a seminar on book publishing. I found out about how traditional publishing really works, from both an accomplished author and an agent at a publishing house. One of the things that I found out is that once you release your book to a publishing house, you lose all rights to it. Yes, you will make a percentage of the book sales, but the final say-so on book design and even content is no longer in your hands. On the upside, the publishing house helps a lot with the publicity for your book and is able to get it into the hands of many wholesalers, whom are not open to the public. This wasn’t enough to convince me to go with a traditional publishing house to publish my book though.
Love of My Life is a very personal book with lots of African lingo and slang and I didn’t want any of that changed. I wanted the right to put anything in my book that I wanted and leave it that way. I wanted as much of the original language as possible and wasn’t sure if that would be maintained if I allowed it to be edited by someone at a publishing house, not familiar with the story. That’s why I decided to self publish through Amazon.com for the Kindle.
At Amazon, I had complete control over all content in the book and book cover layout. The result is a book with writings in their purest form, with only slight editing of grammatical or spelling errors. Also, by choosing Amazon.com, I was able to reach a worldwide audience with just the click of a button and not have to wait for my book to be put in stores before it was available to buy. The downside is that now all of the promotion for the book is up to me. This is more challenging than I thought it would be. I have to come up with creative ways to get the word out to people.
Overall, I am still happy I chose to go with Amazon.com as an eBook, but I am also looking to get the book into print. Some people just like to hold the paper in their hands and I might be nice for me to see an actual book in print. Printing will still be done through the self publishing avenue though; I want to maintain complete control over content. More details to come.