OAAA 2017: Liz Coley on Publishing VS Self Publishing

April 10, 2017     erinthebooknut     Interview, OAAA

Welcome back to The Book Nut’s favorite Hybrid Author, Liz Coley!
1. Liz, you’ve participated in both years of this event, welcome back! What have you been up to in this past year? 
Thanks for hosting this celebration again. Over the past year I’ve been like a seven-headed hydra! I’ve been shopping two different novels as I try to hook up with a new agent. I’ve been working on finishing 3 different manuscripts that I started at various times. I took a playwriting masterclass, and I have been submitting scripts to 10-minute play festivals. I’m adapting one of my YA novel manuscripts into a play for high schools or college acting classes. My tennis game is improving, and I’ve been visiting California a lot to see my aging parents.

2. You are both a traditionally and self published author, what is the biggest difference for you between the two?
The biggest difference is the sense of control over production. The biggest similarity is the sense of helplessness over sales.

3. Why did you decide to go the self published route? 
I self-published both before and after Pretty Girl-13 was traditionally published by HarperCollins. In all cases it was because I had a story that I really loved but wasn’t “big” enough to sell to an editor. People who have found these novels have generally loved them, which is gratifying.

4. What is your favorite part of self publishing? 
I love holding the first proof copy in my hand–the one that contains all my design decisions: the layout, the cover, the fonts, the chapter headings, etc.

5. What did you like about traditional publishing? 
Traditional publishing puts a whole marketing team ahead of the publication. They are able to get far more advance reviews than I as a self-pub author have been able to pull together. Also, you get shelf space in physical bookstores for a while, and that’s exceedingly nice.

6. What are the biggest cons of both? 
In self-publishing, the biggest con is the difficulty in reaching both reviewers and your target audience. In traditional, the biggest con is that to a large extent, the publisher decides ahead of time how successful your book is going to be based on how they market it and market you, the author.

7.  Criticism and rejection are huge parts of the business. How do you deal with them? 
Before I started submitting, I prepared myself for rejection, knowing it’s a guaranteed part of the business, and I made a resolution to be strong. For a long time, knowing I was setting an example to my kids helped me keep an even keel. Like anyone in arts and entertainment, I know the highs are few and brief, the work is hard and long. I know I’m not a special snowflake in that regard, and that helps as well. Writers are really good at commiserating and supporting each other.

8. What is the first thing you do when you finish a manuscript? 
I send it to my sisters! They do my first read and help me celebrate.

9. We’re you a big reader as a child? What was your favorite book? 
I was a huge reader as a child. I had different favorite books at different ages, and I’ve blogged about all of them (checkout my website lizcoley.com). They are Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, I had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew also by Seuss, Jennie by Paul Gallico, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I need to add Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold to the list as I consider the books I would happily read again for the fifth or fiftieth time.

10. Anything else you’d like to talk about? 
I’d like to encourage readers to buy a few books a year, even if they are heavy library or Kindle library users. The only way authors can bring a new book into the world is if they have a track record of sales for their former ones. It also helps us for readers to request that their libraries carry the print or ebooks by their favorite authors if they can’t find them. I buy 50-60 novels a year as a mixture of print and ebooks.
Enter to win the massive giveaway here.

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