I'm delighted to have Laura Kurk as our guest today on Go Teen Writers! When I sent out questions about self-publishing, Laura responded, and I'm so glad she did.
Laura Anderson Kurk is the author of Glass Girl and its upcoming sequel Perfect Glass. A member of ACFW and Cross Reference Writers, she lives in College Station, Texas with her husband and two children. For more information about her writing, visit www.laurakurk.com or find her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glass-Girl/313266928052).
Check out this beautiful cover:
Enough of me. Here's Laura to talk to you about her experiences. If you have questions for her, feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I'm betting she'll be happy to answer them.
One Writer’s Viewpoint on Alternative Publishing
If you want to make a roomful of writers sweat, just drop words like Kindle Direct Publishing or Print-on-Demand presses. The growing pains in publishing are real and are tracking the shift in the music industry as it moved rapidly into indie music and highly-targeted niche releases.
Getting your prose read by others has never been more possible—there are blogs, e-magazines, self-publishing, subsidy presses, and traditional publishing. I’m proud of you for starting early, sticking with it, and looking for ways to gain confidence and loyal readers.
My first novel, a YA book called Glass Girl hit me like a ton of bricks. It came out of nowhere and begged to be written. Armed with a graduate degree in literature and a career’s worth of experience as a writer, I dug in and produced a 100,000-word book that came straight out of my heart. I believed in it. I loved it. But I didn’t know what to do with it. Wracked with insecurity and unsure about what I had, I made the best decision I’ve ever made and I found an amazing freelance book editor. (A good line edit can cost two cents a word.)
After my manuscript was polished, I still felt like I wanted to test the waters before diving into the world of queries/rejections/contracts. I was a newbie, plain and simple, and I needed to see if my story and style resonated with teen readers before I pursued agents and traditional houses. I liked the idea of Westbow Press because it was linked to Thomas Nelson so I researched the packages available through Westbow, chose the one they call the Bookstore Advantage ($2,500 at the time) and took the plunge. Cheaper options are available and perfectly viable. If you strip the services down to no-frills, subsidy presses can be very reasonable options for you while still giving you the backing of professionals who can walk you through the process.
The good news is that my sales have been brisk, my book signings have been well-attended, and I’ve garnered national press as a new face in Christian fiction. I’ve connected with my readers through Facebook and guest blogging and have a loyal group waiting for the sequel, which is written and ready. I feel like I got my writer-legs and now I’m ready to take things to the next level with confidence.
As teens early in your writing careers you might find tangible benefits in subsidy presses and self-publishing including:
• You’re in control of your work and how it is presented;
• You retain rights to your work;
• Your work releases quickly and you can begin to form a loyal audience that looks forward to hearing from you often. This builds your confidence as a writer.
But bear in mind that you must be ready to market yourself. Many of us are naturally introverted and self-promotion feels awkward but without a publishing house behind you, you must be ready to put yourself out there. You also must work harder to make sure your writing is good, relevant and polished so that it has a chance to rise above the growing wave of self-published works. Do your research, know your audience, get the advice of editors, and then, if alternate publishing methods are right for you, go for it.
Thank you, Laura, for being here!