Now that The Hydra Effect book 1: Zihuatanejo is testing with "beta" readers, I'm thinking about what comes next. I'd love to find an agent and land a three-book deal sweetened with a fat advance, an editor, a publicist and a deep pocketed promotion budget. What writer wouldn't? But is it realistic to expect my first book to be noticed by the traditional publishing industry? Or is that the right publishing route for me?

There's a lot of talk about traditional publishing vs.  self-publishing. Agent Nathan Bransford blogged last year, "These days it seems like traditional and self-publishing are increasingly pitted against each other on blogs and forums, as if one side or the other is the bastion of all that is good and pure in the world and the other side is the bastion of all that is horrible and evil." But it ain't so. There are pluses and minuses to both.

Self publishing is a viable option for may of us. In our favor, digitally published books are out-selling paper books. I haven't found a statistic that compares 2012 paper book sales to digital book sales  but Amazon's 2012 digital book sales jumped 70% over the prior year and trends suggest Kindle  and Kindle aps are expanding into international markets.

Amazon may not be your ideal solution, but their publishing subsidiary, Createspace, may offer you the opportunity to launch your book into the world as it has for Nathan Robert Winters, author of the soon to be released, Omaha Kid. His local Launch Party will be held on April 6 at the Rianda House in St. Helena. We asked him to tell us about his experience using the Createspace publishing tools and he gave us some pros and cons of using this service.


  • you don't need an agent
  • your book publishes much faster than through a traditional publishing house
  • you control all aspects of your book
  • you control all aspects of your publicity campaign
  • you keep a higher percentage of the profits


  • you don't get the support of the agent or publisher
  • you find and pay for your own editors
  • there is no advance
  • you will have to maintain your own records

He went on to inform us that when you begin the Createspace process, your manuscript must be ready, corrected, formatted and error free. Although it can be a bit of drudgery, if you do publish with errors in your book, you can take it down and re-upload a corrected version—another possible feature for the CON list. Your book will also need it's copyright and ISBN number, and a cover either predesigned, or you can use Createspace templates.

If you do choose to publish through Createspace, get a copy of Blake Webster and Steve Boga's book, How to Self-Publish Your Book The Createspace Way,  A Step-by Step Guide to Writing, Printing and Selling Your Own Book Using Print On Demand. It's a nifty little book with plenty of screenshots that point out just what to do to upload your manuscript.

I haven't made up my mind how to approach my publishing dilemma, but learning about the many options is opening my eyes to what lies ahead. At least I've got two of my three jacket blurbs even if there isn't a jacket yet.