Since her departure as chief operating officer from the highly successful AllHipHop.com, Jamilah B. Creekmur has begun building her own empire, which includes book publishing. The Baltimore native recently self-published her memoir, Raised by the Mistress, a candid story about her struggle growing up while having to deal with her mother’s alcoholism and 20-year affair with a married man.
The idea of self-publishing can be attractive to many business professionals; but knowing what key steps you need to take to be successful at it are as important as your passion for sharing your tips with the world. Blackenterprise.com asked Creekmur to share her tips on how to successfully navigate the self-publishing maze.
Determine whether self-publishing is right for you: For Creekmur, self-publishing was a strategic move. “When I had my meetings with book publishers, they weren’t in a place to offer me more than I was able to do on my own,” she says. Since major publishers were unable to provide access and resources that she could not provide on her own, Creekmur knew she would receive a bigger payoff pushing her own book.
Know your constraints: While self-publishing can give an author more flexibility when it comes to packaging and how a book is distributed, there can also be drawbacks. “The biggest challenge was that my distribution would be limited because I am a self-publisher,” says Creekmur. “I thought that a few weeks before we released the book we’d start shipping copies to book stores.” Instead, Creekmur turned to the world she was most familiar with–the Web world. She leveraged social media and websites like Amazon.com to spread the word about her memoir.
Study the industry: Creekmur spent nearly one year researching information on how to self-publish and gaining an understanding of the literary world. Even though she decided to self-publish, she said it was important to be versed in the industry when meeting with major publishers.
Take stock of your resources. There’s more to putting out a book than writing. “You really have to consider the investment and the amount of money you personally have to invest in your product, and how best are you going to use those funds,” says Creekmur. While self-publishing may be a good route for those having a difficult time attracting the attention of major publishers, it’s important to understand that distributing your book will take time and resources. Creekmur says a budget between $5,000 and $10,000 is sufficient to produce a book and pay for a minimal amount of marketing and public relations.