I have now seen this sort of thing pop up three times, enough that I know it’s probably happening more often, and frankly I have to say it baffles me. There’s this website Kickstarter.com where you can set up a project (creative is implied) and ask for donations to help fund your project. I have seen several indie authors with projects set up here with goals to raise $1500, $2000 etc. so that they can put their book out.
I’m sorry, WHAT are you spending all this money on? Is this supposed to be the indie version of an advance?
It seems to largely be indies who think you must come out in print first, that you must hire a professional copy editor from New York and a pro layout person in order to put out a quality product. That you have to buy a big block of ISBNs from Bowker and create a small press in order to be taken seriously (even though we all know it’s still ONE PERSON). Yet so many of them still seem to be neglecting having professional cover art (though that may just be the few I’ve seen).
I find this to be largely ludicrous and an unnecessary expense.
Are these authors so unconnected in the writing world that they don’t have other writer friends who are grammar Nazis and good editors with whom they can trade work to get it cleaned up and edited? Do they not have a group of beta readers for that purpose who are happy to do it for free or trade? Do they not grasp the concept that you can get professional, freelance copy editors without spending your first born? Hello, I do professional copy editing and I only charge $35 an hour.
And I’m here to tell you that it’s entirely possible to design a good interior layout without using InDesign or selling off your second born. You just have to bother to LEARN SOMETHING NEW. Now, no doubt you’re thinking–well Kait, you don’t have a print edition, so how do you know what you’re talking about?–because I have friends who’ve done it. Will a professional typesetter know the difference? Sure. Will most readers? No.
Why am I on about this anyway? I hate to see authors acting like they can’t put out their work without the charity of others donating. It DOES NOT COST THIS MUCH TO PUBLISH. I think it bugs me because it feels like it further supports the notion that self-publishing means you’re paying to be published rather than the other way around. Yes, you’ll have some outlay, but not this much. I’ve already talked at length about why I think you should start your self publishing journey with digital. One of the biggest being that it’s a lot cheaper to start with and you can use the profits to fund bigger print projects. And you won’t look like anybody’s poor beggar cousin.
Take home message: Make friends, get a good cover artist, and dare to learn a new skill. You’ll save a bundle.