I just came from a book signing for my friend Kris Tualla at Mostly Books. She is the author of the Hansen Series of historical romances (A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, A Matter of Principle) and A Primer for Beginning Authors. With the encouragement of her agent, she self-published these books because “they didn’t fit in the publishers’ box.” (They’re historical novels set partly in North America, partly in Norway, and they don’t feature kilted highland Scots.)
Several of Kris’s author friends showed up for moral support and they asked Kris about what it takes to be a self-published author. Among her answers: she works about ten hours a day on all aspects of her job including writing, editing, book design, and self-promotion. Asked if she’d made any money yet, her answer was that like any new business, she’s reinvesting her profits back into her business. Her goals aren’t short term. Instead she’s looking to establish her reputation over a five year period. It takes time to build word-of-mouth.
I find the road that Kris is taking fascinating and daunting. Self-publishing is a boat-load of work, but it seems to be very emotionally rewarding for her and the other self-published authors I’ve talked with.