". . . an inspirational memoir for anyone afraid to follow their passion, and a helpful guide through California wine country for those who want to road-trip vicariously. It's for anyone who thinks a girl needs more than four pairs of shoes."
Why did you decide to self-publish? Did you have any doubts?
I chose to self-publish after weighing the usual risks and benefits: more work and upfront costs can yield more revenue because you don’t have to share it. But that’s an oversimplification because it’s really not about money. You always have to share revenue because even if you self-publish, you may want to use Amazon or other huge resellers. Ultimately, I wanted to learn how to design a book cover, page layout, and eBook while tackling a marketing plan, social media, ad campaigns and all the other facets of the process. I had doubts, fear, and insecurities because I know nobody is good at everything. But, now, no one can ever take away what I learned or experienced in the process.
It's akin to having a kid. After giving birth, most mothers want to raise their babies themselves. You can hire other people to do the jobs you’re either not qualified for or don’t want to do. But, they’ll never love your baby the way you do. I did a lot of the work myself as a labor of love. But hired qualified people for their expertise in certain areas.
What did you like best?
It’s ironic. What I liked best was what I didn’t want to do or have time to do. I procrastinated hiring people because I didn’t know what skills to look for or request. Yet, each person I interviewed helped in a different way, leading me down the right path, even the ones I didn’t hire. Each expert I contacted gave me advice that was invaluable. I let their stories guide me. I trusted that each would help in some way and they did.
What was the hardest part?
Marketing! Nobody can know their book will sell. But you can learn by studying the market, doing comparative lit reviews, and reviewing top sellers in your categories. When that still doesn’t work, you can build a social media platform, run ads, and take creative opportunities. You’d run into the same marketing pitfalls with traditional publishing.
In the end, you’d be wise to get started on your next work. That’s the fun part.
What does an author need to know to self publish?
It helps to be a little tech savvy or at least let go of all your technophobia. And it wouldn’t hurt to know the publishing world and how it works.
But truly determined authors learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. Isn’t that true with any endeavor?
How long will it take and how much will it cost?
These can vary depending on your book, its categories, and what you’re trying to accomplish. But all these are ultimately up to you because it is your book.
This means that you’ll have to be diligent in assigning deadlines and meeting them. But it also means that you decide what you want to do, how you want to do it, and when to hire an expert.
Would you do it again?
In a hot minute! It’s an exhilarating feeling. I’m filled with excitement to do it all over again, even the tough stuff. I’ve experienced an indescribable elation in having something that’s been part of my subconscious for years to now be free, living on its own in the world, becoming whatever it can be.
What advice do you have for authors just starting?
Trust your gut. Follow your passion despite the pain. Tap into that voice inside you; it may not even use words but believe in it and give it a voice.
Carolyn Dismuke is a California native raised in a family that spent most summers road tripping from their home in Silicon Valley. After earning a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, Carolyn explored the Golden State's hidden gems, a journey that transformed her into a California travel aficionado. Drink Your Words is full of her appellation adventures and the life lessons of a solo traveler. You can find her at www.carolyndismuke.com Here's where you can find her book on Amazon.
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