Interview: Examining the Author/Self-Publisher Relationship
by Margo L. Dill
Original version of this article published on www.wow-womenonwriting.com.
Welcome...readers! We have an interesting interview today with these two ladies. We're interviewing Author Advocate, Laura Pici, with Infinity Publishing and author, Katherine Blanc, who used Infinity for her book. According to their website, Infinity Publishing has been the leading innovator in print-on-demand book publishing since 1997. They have worked with over 4,800 authors and published over 6,000 titles. We hope this interview will shed some light on a company that may be a great choice for you if you are considering self-publishing.
WOW: Welcome, ladies. We are so excited to have you here today! If you could each share a two to three sentence bio with us, just to give us a bit of your background before we get started, that would be super.
Laura: I started at Infinity nearly five years ago and have worked with over one thousand authors at all stages of the publishing process. My role now as an Author Advocate is to guide new authors prior to submission of their book and make sure they are well-informed and well-prepared for publication.
Katherine: I have spent most of my life surrounded by cartoons and other interesting characters. My father-in-law was the late Mel Blanc, known as the “man of 1000 voices” including most of the Looney Tunes® characters for Warner Bros. My husband, Noel Blanc, carries on his father’s tradition.
WOW: Thanks, ladies—Katherine, what an exciting family to marry in to! You decided to self-publish your book, Gold Mountain Girl, with Infinity Publishing. Why did you choose to self-publish, and why did you choose Infinity?
Katherine: Gold Mountain Girl is a novel of historical fiction, set in 1901 in Southern California’s last Gold Rush days. I felt that it had a small target audience; so rather than approach traditional publishers, I decide to self-publish with Infinity. I chose Infinity over competing self-publishers because it ranked highest overall in the book, Top Self-Publishing Firms by Stacie Vander Pol.
WOW: Thank you for sharing the title of that book with us. It looks like a great resource, and I’m sure many readers would be interested to read Ms. Vander Pol’s book! What was the process like with Infinity Publishing?
Katherine: The process was simple and user-friendly. After completing Infinity’s straightforward, no-nonsense publishing agreement, I formatted my manuscript in Microsoft Word and sent it via e-mail. Then, by phone, a wonderful lady named Michelle Shane (I call her my “publishing angel”) walked me through the rest of the process. Chris Master designed the book jacket, which was better than I’d anticipated it could be!
WOW: It sounds like you had a terrific experience! Have you had any special challenges with marketing or distribution because of your choice to self-publish? What are some strategies that have worked for you?
Katherine: Infinity handles the distribution, including online retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble and Infinity’s own store. I also paid a small extra fee to include Ingram’s distribution, which allows brick-and-mortar bookstores to order my books.
As far as marketing: that pretty much falls on the author’s shoulders. I could have done more to “push” my books, but I’m a bit shy about self-promotion. Fortunately, people enjoy reading my book, so it has gained its own little following via word of mouth.
But more aggressive authors can have huge sales if they arrange personal appearances, conduct seminars, and use social media.
WOW: Thanks for the tips, Katherine. Now let’s turn to an Infinity Publishing Author Advocate to get the lowdown on how to get started with Infinity. Laura, can you describe two or three of your most popular packages that authors often purchase?
|Laura, Author Advocate
Laura: Because e-books have been increasingly popular, any package that includes an e-book is popular right now. We offer a variety of print, e-book, and audio programs. It really depends on the needs of each individual author and their book. Having more than one product available allows our authors to be more visible in the market and have greater success reaching all types of customers. It also keeps a book current and valid in today’s ever-evolving book market.
WOW: That makes sense--authors AND readers have many different needs these days. It's nice to have different formats to reach everyone. What’s the process like on your end when an author buys one of your packages?
Laura: Our process is very hands-on, so each new package receives attention from every part of Infinity’s team. Each author starts with an Author Advocate, such as myself, who provides them with in-depth assistance prior to their submission. Once the book is submitted, the in-house representative serves as that book’s coordinator throughout the process and assigns the ISBN, the interior of the book is formatted and laid out by the editing department, the graphics team custom designs a cover for each book, and the production department prints, binds, and packages book proofs and orders. Our entire process, from receipt of the manuscript all the way to publication date, takes approximately three to four months. Through it all, we make sure the author is always involved and in control of their book.
WOW: That is very important—especially if you are self-publishing! To both of you, why do you think many authors are choosing self-publishing today?
Laura: In today’s publishing world where choices abound, I believe that authors choose Infinity for our quality products and service with a personal touch. We do our best to make sure that authors have a positive and successful publishing experience. We offer simple, yet high-quality, packages that provide our authors with attractive products and great distribution to some of the largest book outlets in the world. Infinity authors retain the rights to their book; however, we treat that book as our own, always working to make the book (and author!) as successful as possible.
Katherine: First of all, the number of traditional publishers is shrinking dramatically. This means that more manuscripts are submitted for fewer acquisitions. Secondly, e-book sales are soaring, and Infinity has a great e-book publishing program. And finally, the old image of self-publishing as “vanity” publishing is disappearing, and the quality of published work is increasing (although I strongly recommend having your manuscript professionally edited–something I didn’t do the first time, but will DEFINITELY do for my revised edition!).
WOW: Thanks for sharing your opinions. You have great insight into today's publishing world! What is the first thing an author should do if she is interested in working with Infinity?
Call me! (smiles) Really, contacting one of our Author Advocates is the best way to get started because we possess the knowledge and materials you need to publish with Infinity. We can answer any question you might have and make sure you’re fully knowledgeable about Infinity’s packages and services. Of course, you can also always visit our website, www.infinitypublishing.com
Katherine: Contact them. Even if your manuscript is huge and intimidating (like my friend Craig Tennis’s 400+ page tome: Show Business is Faux Business), they will make the process a lot less painful than if you tried to do it yourself.
WOW: Is there anything you would like to add about your work or experiences?
Laura: After years of working in publishing, I can honestly say that now is an amazing time to be an author. There are so many options and so much potential, even if you’re not a big name with a big publishing house. I suspect things will only continue to get better, and that’s why being with an author-friendly place like Infinity is so exciting right now.
Katherine: I’d like to add that Infinity is much more than a “self-publisher”; I think of them as my publishing partner. The true self-publishing process is a nightmare—trust me, I did it once. You have to buy your own ISBN number and bar code, do your own formatting, work with a print broker, and find your own distribution. Then you have to store a ton of books in your garage. Yuck!! Let the pros at Infinity handle it instead. They’re an all-in-one publisher—they even do their own printing. Not many other companies do that.
WOW: Thank you for your time and sharing your experiences, Laura and Katherine. Muffin readers, if you have questions about Infinity Publishing, you can leave them in the comments or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a time to talk to someone, go to this link: http://schedule.timetrade.com/S9Z26.
Interview conducted by Margo L. Dill