Interview with Jennifer Connor
In the past year we have heard all the stories of big houses vs self-publishing. Local author, Rowena Portch, has had experience in writing for both.
When did you consider yourself a professional writer?
” At one point in our creative writing endeavor, we ponder the question of how to publish our cherished prize of passion. Having been a professional writer for over 30 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of experiencing the traditional form of publishing through a publishing house, having an agent, and publishing my work myself.
I owned a publishing business in California for several years before selling it to move to the Northwest. I tried my hand at typesetting, cover design, and marketing, all of which offered an eye-opening experience into the amount of work that goes into publishing a book. Doing most of the work myself, the cost of purchasing the bar code, the ISBN numbers, the business license for the publishing name, and a professional editor, I discovered that the cost of preparing the book for print would run between $700 to $1000. Printing the books, depending on the finish size, paper, and print options, could run anywhere between $5.00 to $9.00 per book. Given that I really didn’t have the time to do the work myself and didn’t have the funds to hire help, I decided to look into other options.”
How was your experience working with an editor?
“Of course, finding a good agent that worked hard to sell my book to outstanding publishers was a true boost to my ego. Once I found that agent, she took some time to convince a publishing house to look at my work and consider it for publishing. After some stressful negotiations and contract signing, my book was placed into the release queue. My book would be out on the market in a little over one year. The marketing department decided on my cover design, the title of my book, and the typesetting look and feel. I was never consulted on these decisions. I was also told to change the storyline substantially to fit the projected trend in the market. The story I was so very proud of quickly became a distorted monster I hardly recognized.”
You stopped writing? But now you’ve started again with a new direction.
“After a 20-year hiatus, I have written a series that I am very excited about. Having been down the traditional publishing path once before, I wanted to consider the self-publishing route. To some, this route may seem like a cop out, or perhaps selling your work short. Au contraire, it demonstrates just how much you believe in yourself. Believe it or not, the self-publishing route does not involve more or less work on your part. You just have a lot more say in how your finished book looks.
After researching many of the self-publishing avenues, I comfortably settled on Outskirts Press to publish my latest novel, “The Protected, Book 1 of the Spirian Series. Outskirts Press was registered with the Better Business Bureau, had some outstanding reviews, and offered an impressive contract and endless support.
Three months later, I’m holding a beautiful copy of my book and am immensely impressed with the professionalism of the Outskirts Press staff. The up front investment of $1,500 was substantial but well worth the money. Now, I’m ready to market the first novel of my five-book series. Book two, “The Union,” will be out toward the end of this year.