It would have been understandable if author (and American Way contributor) Allison Winn Scotch had stuck with a traditional publishing house for her fifth novel, The Theory of Opposites (Camellia Press, $14), in stores this month. After all, her first four books earned her plenty of accolades and fans, and some of them, such as Time of My Life, earned spots on The New York Times’ best-seller lists. But for The Theory of Opposites, about a woman whose life takes unexpected turns after her husband proposes they take a two-month break, Scotch hired a team of publishing-industry veterans to help her self-publish. We talked to her about the decision to put her own stamp on the book.
American Way: So why self-publish?
Allison Winn Scotch: I suppose the easiest answer is that I’ve been watching the winds shift in publishing, and I thought that I could do a better job being my own advocate than a big publishing house could do for me. No one is going to care more about my work than I am.
AW: What do you want to get out of self-publishing that you don’t get with traditional publishing channels?
AWS: Control. Any author will tell you that the loss of control over your book is the hardest part to accept. You have very little control over pricing, marketing, distribution — even the cover.
AW: You already have a solid fan base. Did that make it easier to go your own way?
AWS: Absolutely, and I think this is the most important factor. Finding an audience is so, so, so difficult, and I think a lot of self-published authors underestimate that.
AW: So, three pieces of advice for not-yet-published authors?
AWS: 1) Revise at least five times. 2) Listen to constructive criticism, and take your ego out of the writing equation. 3) Be tenacious. Don’t give up.