Stephanie Berger chose hybrid publishing, and believes there are pros and cons to the approach. Read about what she has learned through the process.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
The Happiest Birthday Ever is inspired by my 40th birthday when I did 40 random acts of kindness around town in one day. I knew that people would have as just as much fun as I did, they just needed the idea to get them started. I especially wanted to inspire kids and let them experience that giving is even more fun than receiving. I wanted the book to be realistic where the readers could visualize themselves participating in a similar birthday celebration. So I wrote about a boy turning seven years old and he and his friends do seven random acts of kindness as his birthday party. It may be a different spin on birthday parties, but most of all, it inspires kids that spreading kindness is a lot more fun than they ever imagined.
2. How have your sales been?
My sales were great at first. Especially when I would do an author visit at a school, my pre-order sales for the book were great, until COVID-19 hit. My school visits were cancelled and my school orders are non-existent. Online sales have also come to a halt.
3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
I chose to go with a hybrid publisher. This is my first book and I wanted a one stop shop with the resources to guide me through the process, edit, design layout and illustrations. I knew going into it that I would be paying for these services whether it be with the publisher I chose or finding independent contractors to help me with the process. I paid an upfront amount of money to cover these services and I liked that they don’t keep a royalty until I recoup 100% of those fees. I also liked that they wrote a press release which gave me visibility on an out of state news channel and helped me sell over 50 books in the United Kingdom. I would not have been able to do that on my own.
The biggest negative is that I did not get to set the price of my book and it is priced higher than I would have liked. I also do not have the ability to set up marketing on Amazon as self-published authors do.
I was forewarned that you stay far away from any publisher that charges you in advance to publish your book. Other authors said they won’t sell your book for you. I knew going into this project that I would be responsible for marketing and selling my book. I feel like those that self-publish have to do their own marketing and selling, too. Having a publisher backing my book has given me access to large big box stores online that would not be listing my book if I did this all on my own.