I am delighted to welcome Beth Duke to Creating Perfection today to share her self-publishing journey.
Hello, Beth, please tell us a little about you and when your journey began?
I’m Beth Duke, and I’ve been a dedicated reader pretty much since I opened my eyes. I’ve always loved words, and specifically, putting ideas and stories into words. I began writing fiction around 2007.
Where you are on your journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish etc.?
I have three published books and a tiny mountain of short stories in magazines and journals. I publish paperbacks and e-books through KDP and paperbacks for wholesale distribution through IngramSpark.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
There is no greater agony that the query process. I have been embraced and whirled around the dance floor, only to be left alone by the punch bowl, too many times. This was particularly heartbreaking with my third novel, which an agent adored and kept locked up over a year. I was eventually offered a fairly crappy deal with a small house, and it wasn’t for me. I realized at that point I could start over and hope my book would be out within eighteen more months…or I could publish it. I’m thrilled I did, because it’s been atop an Amazon Best Seller list for well over a month solid and earning all the money I wish I’d made over the last eight long years or so. I still could’ve made more overall by grilling burgers, but I am thrilled so many are enjoying my work.
What’s best thing about self-publishing?
I love having control over my content and cover. I love having a much greater share of royalties than trad pub even more!
And the worst?
There were long years (2011 on) of trying to scale my sales and gain a wider audience, years in which I hadn’t the vaguest idea what I was doing.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?
It matters not one whit if you’ve written a brilliant novel: if your cover isn’t professional-looking, it will never sell on a big scale. People *do* judge books by their covers!
If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?
I’d have sought out a reasonably-priced, talented cover designer like Rachel Lawston, and hired her for my first book. She might have still been a teenager in 2011, though…
Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?
Never, ever pay someone to publish your book. Educate yourself on book promotion. Join ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors), ask questions, and listen to the answers you receive. There are many great resources for indie authors these days. Make yourself available for book club discussions (via FaceTime or whatever if necessary). Have a strong social media presence. Be a nice human, help other authors when you can.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m grateful for this opportunity to share, and hope there may be one small thing that may help someone. Please feel free to contact me if you’re starting out and want to commiserate by the lonely punch bowl. I’m always happy to talk to fellow writers. We all learn from each other!
Thank you so much, Beth. Self-publishing can be a lonely place if you don’t know others are in the same boat.
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Now, here’s her book …
War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing. Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world .Everybody loves her.
In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers. Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention. When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year. As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time. It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs. Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline.
But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person. And they don’t stop. Everything changes. Alternating chapters between Homecoming Queen Violet in 1947 and can’t-quite-find-her-crown Ronni in the present, IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU is book club fiction at its hilarious, warm, sad, outrageous, uplifting, and stunning best. In the tradition of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, Duke delivers an unforgettable elderly character to treasure and a young heroine to steal your heart.
About the author …
Beth Duke is the recipient of short story awards on two continents and is eyeing the other five. Her novels DELANEY’S PEOPLE, DON’T SHOOT YOUR MULE, and IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU have earned a great deal of critical praise, including ‘Beth Duke is a wordsmith of the best kind and her stories rank with the best in classic Southern fiction’ from Dan Brown, Author of Reunion. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and literary digests. Beth lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, one real dog, one ornamental dog, and a flock of fluffy pet chickens. Baking is a hobby, with semi-pro cupcakes and amateur macarons a specialty. And puns-she is a proud punslinger. Travel is her other favorite thing, along with joining book clubs for discussion. Please visit bethduke.com for more information and photos of the most beautiful readers in the world.