I recently published a novel with X-Libris. It was not difficult but it was expensive. For those of you interested in self-publishing, here’s how I did it.
First, I researched about four self-publishing companies including X-libris. I read their web-sites and found they were all similar. I picked the website that gave me the best feelings. Not very scientific but there you are.
Once I picked X-Libris, I sent them an email from their website asking for information. In about two weeks I got a nice package in the mail from X-Libris with all their publishing information. It contained the different publishing packages and prices. I sat on the information for a while.
Meantime I was receiving emails from them as well. “We sent you our information, do you have any questions? Call....” I still waited, I don’t know why. I think I was a little overwhelmed by the information about formatting and stuff.
In any event, I didn’t act until I got an email advertising 50% off their prices. Then I called. By then I had figured out what I wanted them to do for me. But with 50% off I could afford a more expensive package, one I hadn’t considered at the full price.
When I called, in the background, I could hear that the speaker was in a call center. But he was knowledgeable and was able to answer all my questions. At that point, I committed to a package of services. He did not take my credit card information. He transferred me to someone else, also in a call center, who did take the information. They emailed me some paperwork for my signature, which I mailed back.
Once they got that information, I received a phone call from a woman who was in charge of the next step, the downloading of my novel and the cover design. She also was in a call center and I have to say I found these things a little distracting. The call was noisy and I didn’t feel like I was getting personal service. But at this point I was committed so I had no choice but to complete the process.
Once the novel was in their hands, they created a cover for both the paperback and the hard cover versions. I have to say it was very professional looking and I was happy with it and made no changes. I was in charge of writing my own cover information about the book as well as about myself. The woman I was working with (a third person at this point) made some suggestions and I did have examples from the materials they had sent me. So I wrote a short blurb and they put it on the cover.
I was turned over to a fourth person who helped me through the editing process, again in a call center. I had already picked out a template for what I wanted the chapters and title and font to look like. The templates had come in the initial package of materials. X-Libris sent me an electronic version of the book as a galley.
I did my own editing as it was not included in my package. I did a pretty good job, the final edition had just a handful of errors. Unless you have someone to help you, which I did not, it can be hard to read your own stuff over and over. Once you approve the editing, there’s no going back unless you fork over more money for changes. I could live with the errors I subsequently found since they didn’t effect the intent or meaning of the story.
So after I signed the forms approving the galleys, the book was on its way to being published. It took about 10 days for it to be available as an electronic book and about six weeks to get the printed versions. My package included 2 hardbound copies and 10 paperback copies. They arrived about two months later.
The company communicated by email as well, especially when they were sending stuff. My package included marketing posters and postcards, which are still in the box. I picked my package because they took care of getting the book copyrighted, something that when it was described to me sounded like a giant hassle.
My package also included a one year subscription or access to their Author Learning Center on their website. For those of you who do lots of writing and would like to see your work published, this site is probably very helpful. For me, since I have no second book idea at the moment, I don’t visit the site.
Since publishing the book I receive emails periodically from X-Libris with all kinds of marketing packages, usually at some kind of discount. They also call me every once in a while with offers for marketing. It would be fun to see the book advertised in the New York Times Book Review (X-Libris usually has a one page ad every week) but I’m sure that costs a fortune that I’m not willing to spend.
So there you have it. It was obvious to me that the people who helped me were clearly under pressure to get as many people signed up and through the publication process as fast as possible, which meant I was being handed off from one person to the next which I clearly did not like .
My experience was completely different from a friend’s experience a decade ago with iUniverse. He was assigned one person who took him through everything. She did not sit in a call center and was available to him by phone without having to go through operators. And of course a decade ago the cost was peanuts.
The above was written by Ayla Teal. I would add one other comment and that is that self-published books generally sell for more money on Amazon and similar sites than books that are published by publishing companies. However, if you are interested in self-publishing, Ayla has given a detailed, realistic account of what the process is.
If you are interested in purchasing Ayla's book or learning more about it, the name of the book is: The Insurance Man. It can be found on Amazon: CLICK HERE to purchase book: www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com?_encoding=UTF8&tag=wwwtos5com-20