Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Leap Into Self-Publishing -- Laurie Laliberte

Laurie Laliberte is something of a renaissance woman in the world of self-publishing. Not content to just edit and proofread, she's also published a book of saucy short stories and a print book of crochet patterns. In addition, she's a great believer in the power of the writing community.

Without further ado, here's Laurie.


My first forays into self publishing have been an adventure. Simpler, and yet more difficult than I expected.

I’m primarily an editor and proofreader. I’m good at it. I love it. More than that, I’m passionate about it. That said, know that I’m also a crochet pattern designer and a fiction writer. And while wearing these hats, among others, can be overwhelming sometimes, I have no intention of giving up any of it.

The Crochet Book

I had been planning this project for a while, but I kept pushing it aside to work on other projects. Earlier this year, my buddy Bernard Schaffer decided it was time for me to put me, and my projects, first. He put me in touch with the designer he’s used for several of his own book covers.

Next thing I knew, I had five days to pull together the files to make up my first crochet book or wait a month until the graphic designer had an open window to work on the project. My project would involve more than just cover design. It would require about 50-100 photos and 70 pages for the interior. So I punted.

My original intent was to bring together a completely new collection, but time was at a premium and I had let it go so long (six months) that the new collection was not an option for the first book. Instead, I gathered together and rewrote twelve existing patterns. I revamped the whole deal and put the collection together the way I would if I were to publish it completely on my own. By the first week of March, right on their schedule, my “baby” was in the hands of the pros.

After much back and forth, and many delays on both sides, I finally uploaded the files to Createspace on June 7, three months after we began. The actual process of the upload was really simple, but the lack of instruction and explanation on the website made the task a bit confusing.

There isn’t a whole lot of guidance on the Createspace site to tell you whether you’re doing things correctly, so I sort of felt as though I was feeling my way in the dark. Fortunately, I’ve got a great network of support via the Kindle All-Stars team. Various members held my hand, answered my questions, and encouraged me when I needed it.

Now all I have to do is wait for the formatter to finish with the Kindle files.

The Smut Books

About the same time I began throwing together the crochet files, a friend via the KAS gave me the idea for an anthology of what I fondly refer to as my “dirty shorts.” The friend in question, Aaron Bloom, planted a seed by asking a simple question: Was “Fear of the Dark” originally written as erotica and cleaned up for the RF antho?

So I opened the FOTD file for the first time since I submitted the final version to Bernard and I read the story. I was in shock. I had been told more than once that my writing style was very sensual but I suppose I didn’t really see it in that final cut until then. It practically begged for a love scene, so I tweaked the story that was already there and added about 6 ½ pages. Easy Peasy!

Then I sent it off to my editor who suggested a few minor changes. I did a quick proofread, and uploaded to KDP.

The KDP process could not be simpler. And again, I have enough KAS buddies that if I had needed help, I had a safety net.

Formatting for Kindle is pretty simple and there are numerous guides available to help you do it, just in case you’re afraid to go it alone. I don’t recommend paying a formatter unless your book includes a lot of pictures or tables. If you’re going to pay for anything to do with publishing your work, hire a good illustrator to design an eye-catching cover and a good editor/proofreader to make sure your writing is the best it can be.

Honestly, even if you think you don’t have a safety net, you do. Chances are, if you are a writer and you’re on twitter, you’ve got other writers following you. Throw a tweet out there and see what you catch. Don’t be afraid to take the leap into self-publishing. Why not?

You can find Laurie's blog Tales and Yarns here.

Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath is available from Amazon.com

Strange Kisses is availbe for Kindle and Kindle Apps on Amazon.com

And you can enjoy her brief musings on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LaliberteLaurie