Ok friends, I'll start by saying that I don't know a great deal about self-publishing. But I am thinking about it and I'm trying to get an understanding of what all this entails.
First, let me explain what got me to thinking about this today: I bought a copy of Closing the Deal on Your Terms: Agents, Contracts and Other Considerations by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an educational book for sure. She expresses an opinion rather boldly, multiple times, that writers today probably don't want to bother with an agent, and says that with fewer publishers available running fewer titles and restrictive contracts, you're better off going the self-publishing route. (She calls this "indie," but I read the forum rules and won't go there.) She also says so what if a commercial publisher will get you in to brick-and-mortar bookstore, most books are sold on-line now. These were quite surprising thoughts to me as I had not thought of self-publishing as something I could do.
So I reached out to an agent who puts on seminars about how to be a hybrid writer, and asked her how one gets started, and she offered to consult for me for $200/hour. (Sticker shock!)
Now, about my own project: It is a memoir, an inspirational / medical memoir about the extremely premature birth of our only son, who was born at 22 weeks and 6 days of gestation, an age at which the doctor told us it was unethical to try to save him and that he wouldn't provide treatment. That doctor did provide care, and since then the national standards for initiation of care have changed. Themes through the book include a test of faith, developing fatherhood in the narrator (me) and of course the obvious question of how well does the baby do (remarkably well, considering). My reasons for wanting to publish the book are to inspire readers who are looking for a good story of hope, and to let people know that you can push on the "boundaries" that doctors set up around what they think is proper medicine, especially when a family member is on the line.
A little more about me: I'd like to get a new day job once I get a new accounting credential and my kid is in full-time kindergarten. I have more things I'd like to write some day, but I'm not going to be one of those novel-every-six-months series writers. I have no particular need to climb to the top of the non-fiction market, but I do want to tell my story. In the marketing / platform / following category, I do get invited to speak at nursing schools sometimes, but nobody ever pays me (they like me, but I'm not in high demand). I have a few hundred Twitter followers and readers of a e-newsletter, but I'm not at the head of any particular "movement." (I did once get our story on to the front page of the Sunday Seattle Times, as it related to a significant medical-ethics question.) The short version is -- I'm a newbie to marketing.
This project has been submitted to a large number of agents, a few of whom asked for additional materials, and then they declined. It's been a few months since I submitted to any one as I am presently polishing some scenes and changing a few things.
Looking around on this sub-forum, I've seen a number of people who have self-published and liked it and I'm interested in what made them choose it versus commercial. And, if you were to do your first book self-publishing, how would you do it?
p.s. Please be gentle in responses. I'm writing this to get my feet on the ground, which necessarily involves asking stupid questions and....
1. I know that self-publishing isn't a "consolation prize."
2. If you're tempted to say, "Eric, I've read your threads on other boards and it's obvious you're trying too hard on the wrong points and you're not ready," let's just not do that please.