New directions in self-publishing

Self-publishing [used to be] a scar; now it’s a tattoo.
— Greg Cope White

Last night four of Canada's most savvy publishing professionals addressed the subject of new directions in self-publishing together with Editors Canada (Toronto branch), PWAC Toronto Chapter, and the U of T School of Continuing Education.

This morning I am reviewing my notes, and I share them here:  

  • Many in the biz draw a distinction between self-published authors and hybrid-published authors; both are "independent," but the self-published authors are a special breed, who understand art and business and (usually) gladly develop proficiency in all the technical and administrative details of the process.
  • Not surprisingly, options for authors continue to change rapidly. What worked best in 2011 is irrelevant today. Many quality companies offer publishing services and hybrid publishing deals. (Many companies will pretty much just steal your money. One must read up before signing up.)
  • The best publishing option for e-only genre fiction won't be the same as for a debut hardcover business book. It's a wide world of independent publishing.
  • Authors: If you don't love technical things (formatting ebooks, working Amazon's categories, tweaking descriptive copy), you probably won't enjoy starting a publishing house of one.
  • Editors: Working with self-published authors is a specialty and those editors who are good at taking on that relationship and guiding the process are worth their weight in gold. (Isn't it about time we begin to mentor each other in why this kind of author-editor relationship is unique, and how it borders on the agent role at times?)
  • Editors who already specialize in working with self-published authors: Let's talk about how to partner with reputable publishing services companies as well as with other independent designers and book marketing professionals to launch great self-published books that sell!

Thanks to panelists Stephanie Fysh, Meghan Behse, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Nina Munteanu, and to my audience buddy Bronwyn Kienapple. Let's keep sharing!



Vanessa's success story


Vanessa's success story

Let's be honest: it's a risk to withdraw yourself temporarily from your business in order to make the time to write a book. Consider Vanessa Lapointe's success story in this Q&A with her business advisor. Vanessa's risk paid off in a big way!

I had the pleasure of being her editor from initial concept development through to substantive edit. Throughout her writing process, I knew she was on the right track because:

  1. She was disciplined with her time (in this way she could protect her energy and time for her kids and her staff);

  2. She remained focused on her readers' interests and needs (in this way she wouldn't stray from the book's central ideas;

  3. She knew that the writing process involved more than generating a word count, but was transforming her ideas into an even more clear and energized message and fanning the flame of her passion for helping families.

See a pattern here? Yes, Dr. Vanessa put relationships first and she wrote a bestselling book that grew her clinic and strengthened her brand. (Her book is about creating healthy relationships with your kids so you can "discipline without damage.")

(Vanessa didn't do it alone: she had a professional publishing team from hybrid publisher LifeTree Media: publisher Maggie Langrick, editor Michelle MacAleese, designer Ingrid Paulson, publicist Zoe Grams/ZG Communications, sales director Jen Gauthier at Greystone Books, and major distribution in Canada, the U.S. and abroad.)

Let's assume you know you should write a book--a good book--to benefit your business, illuminate your tribe, and act like the best possible business card. Where should you start? You could jump in and put pen to paper, but I'd suggest you begin by looking at the important people in your life, where you spend your time, and what you truly want to say. Then, as Vanessa says, get organized, get excited, and get writing!


If you want to grow yourself, grow your mind, grow your brand, then writing is a spectacular conduit.
— Dr. Vanessa Lapointe