Self Publishing in 2012 (Links From My Ignite Talk)

This post, by Kevin Dangoor, originally appeared on his site on 10/26/12.

Last night, I spoke at Ignite Ann Arbor 7. As always, the Ignite talks covered quite a range of topics and the speakers gave us a great time!

My own talk was one about self-publishing, which is something I’ve had some experience with this year. Back in 2006, I co-wrote a technical book (Rapid Web Applications with TurboGears) for Prentice Hall. That year, I also self-published a DVD (the TurboGears Ultimate DVD). But, my focus in this talk was my experience this year self-publishing the first three books in my 11 Quests children’s fantasy series.

Publishing companies have their place, and I’m not actually against using their services. My view is that we, as authors, should recognize how much more powerful self-publishing is today than it was even a few years ago. The Internet and modern technology and services are making life increasingly difficult for middlemen of all sorts.

After that bit of background, I dove into things that I found useful in my publishing adventure. First, I started with the writing. I wrote the first 11 Quests stories during National Novel Writing Month 2011 (NaNoWriMo, as it’s more succinctly called). I did all of my writing in Scrivener, which is a fantastic program that is available for Mac and Windows. Scrivener helps organize your writing. And, as an added bonus, Scrivener did a good job of producing my ebooks and the interiors of my print books!

MacHeist, which has been extended for 3 days (through Monday, October 29, I’m assuming), currently offers Scrivener along with a bunch of other apps for just $29. It’s a really, really good deal. And, with NaNoWriMo starting up again on Thursday, the timing is wonderful.

Next, I got into cover design. 99Designs, CrowdSpring, and DesignCrowd all allow you to post a price you’re willing to pay for a design and have a bunch of different designers produce artwork from which you pick the winner. These sites are controversial because only one designer gets chosen, but a bunch of designers are doing the work to try to get selected. Only you can decide how you feel about that issue.

Less controversial would be to find a local artist or someone at a site like DeviantArt or Elance. It’s a much more traditional relationship where you agree upon a price and the work gets done.

The approach I took to cover design was “do-it-yourselfish”. I started with DAZ3D which is free 3D software (Mac and Windows). I’ve also used Poser a bit, but I settled into DAZ Studio for my work. What makes these programs great is that you can buy, for not a lot of money, 3D models and then pose them and otherwise customize them to get the image you’re looking for. These programs have a learning curve, and there’s a lot of work required just finding the right models to match what you’ve written. But, I was happy with the results that I got.


Read the rest of the post on Kevin Dangoor’s site.

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