Guest Post: Previously Published Authors & Their Decision to Self-Pub

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Christine Bell/Chloe Cole, Dee Carney, Cari Quinn, and Dee Tenorio here at Fiction Groupie. These lovely authors are going to talk to us about their decision to venture out into the self-publishing world AND they have been kind enough to offer a big ol' contest along with it! So yay!

And before I turn it over to them, I just want to let everyone know that you should tune in to this blog on Friday because guess what? I'M GOING TO REVEAL MY COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (**if I'm allowed, still checking on that.) I got it today and am SO EXCITED to share it with everyone. So don't miss that.

Now take it away, Christine...

The Decision to Self-Publish

Thanks so much Roni, for allowing us to take over your fabulous blog today! To celebrate the upcoming release of our erotic romance anthology, Undercover Lovers, Dee Carney, Cari Quinn, Dee Tenorio and I are going to talk about our decision to self-publish and give some insight into how we went about it. We’re also running a mega-contest and will be giving away an ARC of Undercover Lovers to TWENTY random commenters!

Dee Tenorio and I have been friends for a while and have talked endlessly about the recent shift in publishing, the phenomenon that is e-pub and the really great (varying, and often confusing) opportunities out there for authors right now. Self-publishing came up time and time again in these discussions. Not so much as an alternative to working with our current publishers, but as a way of increasing our visibility, offering a product that was entirely within our creative control (SO much fun!) and selling more books. Never one to let the grass grow beneath my feet, after several of these discussions, I said “Okay, I’m doing it. I’m writing a novella and by June 1st, I’m going to self-pub it. You want in?” and she said “Absolutely.”

I’d love to tell you that we had it all worked out from the get go. We didn’t. But we did have the basics. Dee is a tekkie (thank God) and volunteered to handle the formatting and cover design. I researched some tax laws and contracts, wrote up a two page contract and volunteered to handle the finances (as most retailers will not pay to more than one person for a single work*). We also settled on the parameters of the book. We wanted a four story anthology and we wanted it to have a unified theme. Dee suggested Undercover Lovers and I thought it was a brilliant theme. All the stories would be around 20k words, and would feature either a hero or heroine who was hiding their true identity from the other.

Now that we had our ducks in a row, it was time to find two more authors. After bouncing some names around, we settled on our choices and sent a professional email, letting them know that what we were looking to do, citing our publishing credits and asking Dee Carney and Cari Quinn if they would like to join us. They both said yes and we were thrilled! They came in with vigor and ideas and suggestions to streamline the contract and the process and we were off and running.

Because one of the biggest benefits to self-publishing is the ability to write and see your work on virtual shelves very quickly, we wanted to take advantage of that. We set up a tight deadline, allowing about five weeks for writing then another five for editing, formatting and cover art. Due to our collective experience, we felt we could edit for one another in a sort of round-robin fashion. This allowed us to each receive three passes of edits before doing one final pass for ourselves. It worked out really well because each of us has a particular strength in this area. Where one of us might be weaker in grammar, they would catch any timeline issues or plot problems. We had a lot of laughs during the process and aside from jitters (we all wanted to impress one another!) it was as painless as any editing experience I’ve ever had.

Now I’m going to turn it over to my writing partners so you can get an idea of why each of them made the decision to self-publish this time.

Q: Okay chicas, what made you decide to sign on and self-publish this book when it’s very likely that all of you could have sold them to one of your many publishers?

Dee Carney – Honestly, although friends have had great successes with self-publishing, I’ve been on the fence. Although I have one title that’s self-published, the experience wasn’t a great success. I work full-time as a nurse and honestly, don’t feel I have the time needed to dedicate to the marketing, editing, promotion, etc. that is necessary. However, when approached about this anthology--and the opportunity to share that burden--a smile lit my face. Not only was I asked to join a fabulous group of authors, I knew with our combined experience, we have the talent to make this seriously rock. So far, my prediction has come true!

Cari Quinn – I've been interested in self-publishing for a while, but it's not something you can jump into without doing some research. When Dee and Christine approached me, the timing was perfect. I felt confident that they had investigated a lot of the ins and outs and I knew what I was getting into. Best of all, I'd be able to test the self-publishing waters in an anthology with three other incredible authors and we'd be able to cheer each other on to write high-quality stories that worked well with the others. I think (hope!) we accomplished what we set out to do. Plus it was a ton of fun! I loved that we set the timeline and we were our own editorial directors. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, especially with these talented ladies. All three are now on my TBR.

Dee Tenorio- Well, to be honest, as much as I love my publishers, I wanted to have something out a bit earlier than the slots they could offer. Currently, you're looking at a book out—at the earliest, six months after submission and you're competing with the other 4-6 titles released that week. Self-pubbing is a really exciting arena right now and the time was ripe for experimenting. You're competing only with yourself... You know, yourself and the other thousands of books that are out there, lol. But I try not to let odds like that bring me down. It's a new challenge, which, honestly, is why I started with epublishing in the first place. I'm a ground floor kind of girl. :) Getting to write with friends just put it over the top and I dove right in. Plus, well, I had this really great idea about a wounded hero and a woman risking everything to love him… Really now, who can turn down something like that?

Now for our contest! Undercover Lovers is out now, and we’re hoping to get some ratings and reviews cooking on Goodreads, Amazon etc. Today we’ll be giving away TWENTY ARCs of our anthology Undercover Lovers today here on Fiction Groupie! To enter, just comment and leave your email address and preferred format (pdf, epub or mobi) and you’re in. We would love it if, after reading, you would consider taking a minute to give it an honest star rating or review if you have the time (no obligation).

Thanks so much for having us Roni!

*I won’t bore you with contract details, but if anyone has any specific questions regarding that process, maybe pitfalls and things to make sure you include, feel free to ask questions via comments, or email me directly at I don’t profess to be an expert by any stretch, but I think we all felt good about the end result. 

Thanks so much, ladies, for visiting! And now everyone go enter the contest! :) --Roni