Thursday, January 12, 2012

Author Heather Justesen on Self-Publishing

I'm very excited today to introduce my first guest author, as promised in my previous post, to talk about the topic of self-publication. Heather Justesen has joined us to answer some of the questions about the self-publication industry that I had mentioned earlier.

You can learn more about Heather by clicking here, which will take you to her blog. Here are two of Heather's self-published works:

Shear Luck, by Heather Justesen :

Chelsea Robison has never forgotten the older boy next door whom she crushed on as a teen, so when she runs into him at the restaurant he’s preparing to open, it’s a delightful shock. And learning he’s available again is more than a little tantalizing.

Vaughn Krenshaw had never seen his neighbor as more than a nice kid—but Chelsea had definitely grown up in the decade since they saw each other last. He’s attracted to the feisty red head, but still struggles over his wife’s death the previous year. And then there’s his five-year-old daughter, Molly, who really liked Chelsea—until she realized the woman was dating her dad.

As Chelsea starts to wonder if their love for each other will be enough to make things work, a specter from Vaughn’s past rises, making her question whether she really knew him at all.

Blank Slate, by Heather Justesen:

Adrianna Mueller may be a world-renowned concert pianist, but when she wakes from her coma after a serious car accident, her ability to perform has disappeared as completely as her lost memory.

As she recovers from her injuries, she struggles with the expectations of everyone—her family, friends, and fiancĂ©, Brock—who all want everything to go back to the way it was. Everyone except Gavin, Adrianna’s brother’s business partner, who finds himself drawn to the woman she is now. But he has his own problems. As he tries to get a handle on a former employee’s embezzlement, he fights his growing feelings for Adrianna. And then a trip to the emergency room shakes everything up, leaving her to stumble as she tries to regain her footing all over again.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I did submit my book to my publisher first and several other publishers after, and I considered submitting it out to other publishers outside of my usual market, but just felt like self-publishing was the right option for that story (with Blank Slate). As for self publishing a novella, I only intended it to be an ebook, unless I do an anthology later. Though traditional publishers are terrific for getting books into stores, I didn't feel like the advantages of using a publisher for an ebook was stronger than doing it myself--especially since ebooks never die.

Which company/business did you work with?

I printed with CreateSpace, but I did my own cover and typesetting on "Blank Slate," thanks to my background in desktop publishing. I did use a cover designer at for "Shear Luck."

Would you recommend them to others? Would you be a return customer?

I'd definitely use CreateSpace again and Paul was a terrific designer to work with who took some information I gave him about the book and came up with a much better cover idea than I had on my own. And he worked his guts out for not much money.

In your opinion, what are the pros to self-publication?

Being in charge of it myself, having creative control and seeing it come together under my own control.

In your opinion, what are the cons to self-publication?

Being in charge of it myself...okay, really trying to get the word out when I couldn't afford much in the way of advertising was a major drawback, and even though authors have to do most of their own publicity regardless of whether they have a publisher or not, there's definitely still extra pressure if you're doing it all yourself.

What’s one piece of advice you’d offer authors considering this option?

If you're doing this wanting to be taken seriously as a professional, then you need to treat it as a professional would. Make sure you have a good cover, that the formatting looks like traditionally published books, and that you've edited the heck out of it. The details are what prove that you're a professional, so pay attention to them.

Thanks to Heather for stopping by and answering some of my questions! I haven't had the privilege of reading her work yet, so I will have to get reading to see the fruits of her hard work. You can find Heather's books on amazon, or at her webpage:

More authors, with more answers, yet to come: stay tuned!

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