Jessica Lourey, author of the Murder by Month mysteries, began searching for a new publisher for her novel The Catalain Book of Secrets after she realized her current house, Midnight Ink, doesn’t publish magical realism. Lourey got close to a traditional publishing deal, but ultimately “couldn’t let Catalain wither on the vine.” So she chose to self-publish.

Publishers Weekly praised The Catalain Book of Secrets—about four generations of women using magic to confront a family curse—and described it as “Exquisitely written in naturally flowing, expressive language.”

Lourey crowdfunded the publication of her book with a Kickstarter campaign. After meeting her Kickstarter goal, she used the money for professional editing and design services: “I differentiate between what I call snap publishing—write approximately 60,000 words, upload to Kindle, and -- snap! -- you have a book—and self-publishing. Snap publishing is free, but self-publishing requires the writer to take on all the expenses of a traditional publisher.”

Lourey is completely committed to being a hybrid author: “Traditional publishing gives me the street cred necessary to get my indie books in stores, to speak at conferences and workshops, and to get reviews and media attention I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Self-publishing gives me an outlet for projects that are outside the mainstream and a more regular -- though smaller -- source of revenue as my self-published titles earn monthly royalties, whereas traditional publishers only pay twice a year.”

We asked Lourey for her self-publishing tips for aspiring indie authors:

Submit First

“Try the traditional route first. You can always self-publish if traditional publishing dead ends, but it is difficult to sell a book the traditional route if your self-published book didn’t have stellar numbers.”

Be Professional

“Hire a professional editor and cover designer. Join an online writers’ group -- Facebook has many -- to get recommendations, and consider trading services if money is an issue.”

Don’t Expect Immediate Success

“With a few notable exceptions, self-publishing is a long game, so consider writing a series so you can build an audience.”