I’ve met Bobbie at Faerie Festivals and such and was very intrigued by the fact that she has grown such a successful following for her fairy books. I thought I would pick her brain a little for those writers thinking about self publishing and man did she have some great things to say.
Why did you choose to self-pub and not shop around?
I’ve actually been involved in the world of books since the early 1980’s when I started my writing career with cookbooks. When my first cookbook was published (by Prima Publishing Company), I was so young and naïve. I thought I would just sit back, relax and collect my royalties while happily writing my next volume. It didn’t take long before I discovered that, if the book was going to be successful, I would have to step into the arena of marketing and promotion. And I did. I traveled all over the country as a featured speaker and guest on radio and TV shows (even the Regis Philbin Show). The result was a total of seven very successful cookbooks. It was exciting to have written some of the first lowfat cookbooks to appear on the shelves, however the amount of promotional work was something I really hadn’t expected.
Several years ago, I decided to re-invent my career. My degree in Education and Children’s Literature was calling to me to re-enter the book world. I thought about shopping around for a publisher, however, I was quite a bit older now and was up for a new challenge in my life. I thought long and hard about independent publishing. I knew that I would be solely responsible for the marketing of my book, however, I realized that I had had to do much of this anyway with traditional publishing. So,why not? The kids were grown, my husband and I had plenty of free time, and starting a publishing company would ensure that our “golden years” were filled with new challenges. So, I formed a corporation and launched my own publishing company, Best Fairy Books.
How did you avoid the pitfalls that many self published authors fall into?
Before I began, I did mountains of research and studied hundreds (maybe even thousands) of children’s books that were both traditionally and independently published. I was able to pinpoint a few possible pitfalls that I was determined to avoid. At this point, quality was my major concern. I hired an award-winning illustrator, a talented graphic/cover designer, an editor and (after more research) just the right printer. I was about to invest a lot of time and money, so there was no choice but to do it right. Failure was not an option. As an independent publisher, I felt that my books would be judged more critically and held to a higher standard than traditionally published books. If I was going to represent myself, I needed to be sure my books could compete among the very best.
What has been the hardest part of self publishing?
There have actually been three huge challenges to face: First, as I mentioned above, I have HAD TO make sure I was producing high-quality products! This has meant watching over every last detail. Second, I had to be willing to promote, promote, promote… and then, promote some more! And, third, I had to find a top-notch distributor. Oh yes, and fourth, I have to force myself to step back every once in a while and just relax. This isn’t easy because my mind is always racing away to the next project.
What has been the most rewarding?
In 2007 The Knot Fairy was released. Four months later, I was thrilled to place an order for my second 5000-book printing. It’s now four years later and I have published four books: The Knot Fairy, The Sock Fairy, The Belly Button Fairy, and The Fart Fairy. The books have received nineteen book awards and I have several other books in the works. All of the books (except the newest book, which was released a few weeks ago) have had multiple printings. My recent book launch party for The Fart Fairy drew a crowd of 350 people! People are “collecting” my series! Life is exciting! A part of me will live on. What more could I hope for?
I don’t think you could have said it better! Every writer and artist creates, at least in part, to leave a bit of themselves behind. You can visit Bobbie online at BestFairyBooks.com. And visit her wonderful blog too!