Do you remember that Teen Talk Barbie Doll from the early 90s that was promptly removed from shelves after accusations of sexism? She had an embedded speaker that said, “Math class is tough,” probably in that whiny hyper-feminine pouty voice Barbie would undoubtably have.
Well, that’s how I feel right now. I’m just like Barbie, propped on the floor of my studio-turned-office, surrounded by boxes and boxes of special edition books, marketing materials, paperwork, to-do lists and a thousand other home/life tasks that get pushed aside daily, crying out, “Goshdarnit, publishing is tough.” In a whiny hyper-feminine pouty voice.
But seriously…this shit ain’t for kids, yo.
Anyone can sign up for KDP (Kindle’s self-publishing platform), upload their work and be instantly published. Voila! Author. I always figured those folks just didn’t want to take the next step. But what I’ve learned is that there is no next step. There are 500 of them.
I did not go the instantly-published-to-Kindle route. I went the harder one. Or what we like to call in our household: THE LONG CON.
Because I never want anyone who holds my book to get even a whiff that it might be self-published. I want brick-n-mortar stores to stock me on their shelves because they can’t tell the difference. In essence, I quit the traditional publishing world to sneak in through the back door of the traditional publishing world. And I assure you – it’s a BIG difference.
I began The Postmodern Press in March of this year, assigning Oct 4th as the launch day for my sophomore release, Bands of a Small Hurricane, thinking that 6 months would be plenty of time to finish edits, arrange for reviews, and record the audiobook. What I didn’t plan for was, well, everything else. For starters, all the paperwork. (My god, the paperwork.) Forming a corporation. Obtaining resale certificates and an EIN and a huge block of ISBNs.
And then there’s the Library of Congress. And registering for an LCCN. Establishing shipping partners and a relationship with a respectable printer and distribution channels for different book formats. There are barcodes to figure out. And copyrights. And CIP data blocks. And a dozen other things my brain is surely blanking on right now.
Yay! It’s finally time to record that audiobook I thought I had plenty of time for! Turns out it’s not just about sounding good at a mic. I am currently teaching myself all about audio production: dBs and RMSs and peak values and noise floors and kpbs and CBRs. Otherwise my audiobook will be rejected from distribution channels for not hitting the requirements. And nobody got time for that!
Man, I should’ve just uploaded a pdf to Kindle and gotten on with it.
No. I shouldn’t have.
But these days, in a word, I am tired.
I know it’s worth it. As I sit at my computer, I have a Limited Edition copy of Bands of a Small Hurricane right next to me, and boy, is she pretty! And about as legit as you can get.
When I hold her next to my first, Thieves Beasts & Men, the quality cannot be compared. Hurricane is simply on a higher level in terms of quality. From the premium paper stock to the silk-laminated, double-sided reversible cover, the champagne gold Limited Edition sticker on the front, just…everything. And it was possible because I took control. I don’t half-ass anything in my life. So if I need to wear 500 different hats in order to have a final product like Bands of a Small Hurricane, then every paperwork filing, every identification number, every noise floor and data block and blood, sweat and tears was 100% worth it.
I’m just a little high school drop-out over here, figuring shit out. So if I can do it, you can, too.
(But Barbie would probably fall flat on her ass.)