The old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true with anything, and self-publishing is no exception. When I made the choice to go with iUniverse I knew that the bills could get pretty hefty. So I told myself that although the returns may not be promising, I knew I was giving my novel Raincloud the opportunity to be the best it could be. Short term pain for long term gain? Perhaps. But definitely not for those prone to “buyer’s regret”.
After paying the inital start-up fee to iUniverse I submitted my manuscript, bio, cover photo and headshot. Within a couple of days I received a personal phone call from my Publishing Assistant, whose name was Michael. He seemed to take a genuine interest in making my book into something special and always returned calls and emails with promptness and courtesy. Big thumbs up for Michael!
Everything was off to a great start and I waited anxiously for the results of my Editorial Evaluation, which was included in the Premier Package I purchased. And to my delight, the evaluation turned out to be pretty good. They provided me with grades for different areas such as title relevance, characterization, structure, plot, pace, dialogue and spelling and grammar. One thing though – although the editors were generally impressed with my manuscript they highly recommended I purchase their Developmental Editing package for a mere .053 cents a word.
Sound reasonable? If you have a manuscript, do the math on .053 cents and decide for yourself. Like I said, short term pain. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. So I gave them more money and waited again, this time for the Developmental Edit to be completed.
Again, I was duly impressed. I received my document back with all the suggested edits and changes, leaving me with the power to accept or decline each one. And when I was done, I can honestly say that Raincloud was much, much better than before. As I’ve said previously, you won’t be sorry if you invest in preproduction.
It was almost like watching a child develop and grow, which although rewarding can also become dangerous. Getting too emotionally invested can lead you to the poorhouse. I read somewhere about a man who bought virtually every service (production, marketing, and otherwise) his self-publisher had to offer. His final bill: a whopping $35,000! This is all well and good if you can go without that new car or believe in spending your way to success. But I think for most of us, investing this much of your money in a self-published novel is somewhat excessive. Don’t get confused and keep your eye on your budget, unless you plan on living in the box your first shipment of books come in.
Of course this sage advice is all in hindsight. I did wind up purchasing a few more levels of editing (Line and Content Editing and Proofreading) but none of the marketing services (to be discussed in a future blog). And was it all worth it? From strictly a financial standpoint, no. From virtually every other standpoint, most certainly. Raincloud has been garnering some great reviews which it wouldn’t otherwise have. You can link to some of these reviews on the Events & Testimonials page at www.richard-todd.com .
Tip of the Week: It’s your story and no one can change it but you. But keep an open mind when it comes to editing suggestions. That fresh set of professional eyes will see things that you may have missed. Honestly, do you think even James Patterson’s work goes straight from his hard drive to you local retail bookshelf?
During the course of production I was disappointed that Michael, my PA, had been moved to another project. I was assigned a new PA, and from there iUniverse’s high level of customer service began to level off, and by the time I was on my fourth PA (yes, fourth) it had taken a serious nosedive. More about that in my next installment.
Don’t miss another installment. Click at the top right of this page for your Free Subscription!