The Self-Publishing Journey Columns
Below are the columns written by Paige Crutcher as part of the "My Self-Publishing Journey" series. For more about Paige, visit her website here.
Look for her next column on the Ingram Spark program, coming soon.
A Publishing Journalist Turned Indie Author
Paige Crutcher on Her Self-Publishing Experience
Nashville writer Paige Crutcher is a staunch supporter of traditional publishing and a journalist at Publisher’s Weekly, yet she chose the indie route when publishing her debut book, The Odyssey of Falling. Crutcher’s entire experience producing the book has been chronicled in her PW column, “My Self-Publishing Journey,” an invaluable analysis of the indie publishing experience.
The novel itself shows the hard work and thought that went into its production. The story follows an unusual young character, Audrey “Odd” Ashworth, an intelligent girl dealing with the aftermath of her best friend’s death. Crutcher weaves a beautiful tale that captures the complexities of Odd’s emotions in dealing with the loss, from her infatuation with her late friend’s boyfriend to her need to follow “signs” from the universe. After finding a bucket list that her friend had composed before her death, Odd decides to finish the list for her and in doing so embarks on a heart-wrenching and moving adventure.
Crutcher’s own journey to publish the novel is just as interesting as Odd’s journey. For the sake of her informational columns, Crutcher has analyzed the process with the clarity and insight of an industry professional. The release of The Odyssey of Falling is the result of Crutcher’s careful attention to every detail of the self-publishing process; she heavily researched by reading blogs and articles about tips or trends in the self-publishing industry. Her unique position as industry professional and indie author has allowed her to contribute an incredibly informative perspective to the self-publishing process. Her research is evident in the methods she has chosen to produce the book; for example, by producing the book as an ebook first, she can better gauge sales and use that information to determine the size of her first print run next year. Crutcher’s methods contain invaluable information on self-publishing that she has made available in her PW columns (to read these columns, check out the sidebar).
IP got the chance to speak with Crutcher about the experience. Read on to hear her thoughts on self-publishing.
How did your decision to indie publish the book impact Odd's story, if it did at all?
I had to approach the publishing process from more of a business point-of-view than I previously had. There are so many elements to going the indie route, and it can be seriously daunting. I hired three editors (two for content, one for line-editing), a graphic artist, and photographer. I researched everything from publicity to formatting, and learned to trust my gut (a lot), as well as ask every question (many silly) possible. I believe the story is better for it, because so much was put into it -- including a whole lot of love.
As a writer, did you find it difficult to devote time to everything that goes into indie publishing (editing, designing the book, publicity, marketing, etc.), and do you have any tips for managing all these different tasks?
Yes, it's an overwhelming process. BUT. It's also rewarding.
I believe art is about creating, and getting out of your comfort zone. This was all so far out of my comfort zone that there were, and are, days when doubt was/is my constant companion. There are no right answers in publishing, there's only what's right for you right now. I would say try to take it one step at a time, and don't be afraid to ask questions or seek help from other indie authors. (That was the most delightful part of this all, how willing and kind other authors in the community are to share their experiences and offer support).
Also, spreadsheets. The can be tedious and annoying little buggers, but they are helpful!
What has been the most challenging part of the indie publishing experience? The most rewarding?
Challenging: The marketing aspect is a trial for me. I am not a salesperson, and I'm very uncomfortable talking about myself and my work. I would much rather talk about other authors, and their amazing books, and let my work speak for itself.
Rewarding: Hearing from readers. That part has been a dream, when someone tells you your book helped them, or gave them hope. It's the best feeling in the world. I wish I could bottle it.
What advice would you give to other writers thinking about following the indie publishing route?
To make the book the best it can be. It starts with story, always. Write your absolute best book, polish it, and get other eyes on it. Remember this is a marathon, and not a sprint. Believe in yourself, and know you can do this.
Lauren White graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in History and English. She is serving as Assistant Editor and Awards Account Manager at Independent Publisher. Please email her at larenee [at] umich.edu with any questions and comments.