OK, once I decided to sell Minder unagented, I had three options.
I could go to an existing independent press.
I could self-publish.
I could start my own indie press.
I did my research. There's a LOT of research in a decision like this. Basically, I needed to figure out what agents and publishers brought to the publication process--professional editing, formatting, cover art, distribution, pricing, marketing, publicity, etc.--and then decide how I would get those things for my book.
After checking out my choices, I decided to start my own press. And thus, Spencer Hill Press was born. It's not just for my own work, although I'm figuring out the best methods as I put Minder through the process. I'll open the press to new submissions in October--if you write YA (or New Adult) urban fantasy, please consider querying!
I filed the proper paperwork with the State of New Hampshire, adding the "Doing Business As" name to my LLC. I set up my website, and opened the proper accounts with printers, distributors, and Bowker (the ISBN assigners). I got a bank account and a credit card. I've run my own business before, so I knew the drill. I created a business model that took into account my target demographics, a realistic sales projection, and included marketing the rest of the series, since there will be at least six Ganzfield books. I gave myself a six month lead time to get the book released; I've found that to be a tight (but doable) time-frame, so I'll expand that to about nine months for future releases.
My publishing checklist has nearly 50 items.
I covered item #1 yesterday: write a book. The two most important--and expensive--remaining items were marketing/publicity and editing. I hired professionals to do both, and my company paid a premium to get really good people. I figured out that, with my expenses to date, I need to sell at least 3,400 copies of Minder before I see a profit. That's not much compared to Stephenie Meyer's 85 million units of the Twilight saga, but it's substantial when you consider that 95% of the books published each year sell fewer than 5,000 copies. How do I plan to beat the odds? First, I strongly believe I have a really, really good book. I wouldn't put in all the time, money, and emotion into a mediocre product. Second, I have an innovative marketing strategy and a great team on-board.
I'll tell you more about marketing and publicity tomorrow in part 3.