Veronica Goodman is the author of the debut picture book, E is for Economics, and the subsequent book, L is for Law. Veronica and I first met on Instagram, where I learned she leads a local picture book club. I met Veronica in person at one of the meetings, along with other local writers and authors. Veronica has successfully self-published her children’s book. Now we get to hear about her self-publishing journey. Thanks for sharing, Veronica!
Tips From An Author on Successful Self-Publishing | An Interview With Author Veronica Goodman | http://www.arielmendez.com
Q: Let’s start by learning a little bit more about you. What is a day like in the life of an author?
Veronica: Before writing children’s books, I worked as an economist and in management consulting. I live in the Washington, D.C. area with my husband, daughter, and beloved cat, Galileo. If you’d ask my two-year old daughter what my job is, she would enthusiastically say that it’s her. My days are split between caring for my daughter and working on the books, be it marketing and writing, and all of the little things that life entails in between.
Q: When did you first decide to write a picture book? What inspired the book?
Veronica: It might be cliché but E is for Economics is really the embodiment of the Toni Morrison quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I searched for a fun picture book about economics for toddlers for my daughter, but I couldn’t find one. So I decided to just write my own. My background is in economics, and I wanted to be able to share that with my daughter, especially because she’s such a bookworm. I also tried to keep it entertaining for the adults reading, too.
Q: Tell us about your writing journey. What was the writing and editing process like?
Veronica: I tend to turn over ideas in my head for a while before I sit down to write. Once I do though, I’m a firm believer in just getting words on the page (or Word doc, in my case) to have something to edit. From there, writing is a very iterative process for me. Once I think a draft is in a good place, I often share it with my husband who I’m lucky to say is a brilliant editor. Going forward, I’ve realized the benefit of meeting other writers and learning from them, which is why I created the local picture book club and got involved in other groups. Lastly, I think if you don’t have talented editors around that you can tap for free help, you should absolutely seek out a professional editor.
Q: What motivated you to self-publish instead of traditionally publish? What self-publishing platforms did you use?
Veronica: It was a difficult decision, but I read just about every resource you could find online, be it from SCBWI or others, on how to choose which path to pursue. For E is for Economics, I felt that I had a strategy for how to reach the market for the book, particularly with my background in the field of economics. A lot of my research suggested if you know how to reach your audience, self-publishing might be a better approach.
That said, self-publishing requires you to be very entrepreneurial. I’ve lost track of the hours I’ve spent doing outreach and marketing. The release of E is for Economics has informed my plans for L is for Law. I am also working on some new projects for the future, and I wouldn’t rule out working with a traditional publisher for a project where I thought that would be the best fit.
In terms of the platforms and distributors, I contracted with my fabulous illustrator, Nicole Jones Sturk, through UpWork. And I used two Print on Demand (POD) providers, IngramSpark for the hardcover and CreateSpace for the softcover.
Q: What have you enjoyed about self-publishing? Is there anything you would do differently?
Veronica: The best part is the short time to market. For E is for Economics, the whole process took about six months from coming up with the idea to release date. I also enjoyed the control over the final product since I had a very distinct vision for what the book should look like in its final form. I have no regrets. I’ve learned a ton over the past year and I’ve had a blast.
Q: What advice would you give to the writer who has a finished manuscript and is considering traditional vs. self-publishing?
Veronica: Do your homework and accept that each path has its challenges. It’s important to consider your skills and goals, and the particular manuscript in front of you. I can really only speak to self-publishing at this point. It might be a good option for you if you’re willing to accept more risk, you know your defined audience and how to reach them, and you can do a lot of the heavy lifting for finding the illustrator (unless you are one!) and marketing the book.
Here are the three key takeaways from my interview with Veronica Goodman on self-publishing:
1. Research. Veronica researched her audience, how to reach them, the different self-publishing platforms, pros and cons of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and so on. Do your research before publishing to fully understand if this is the right path for you.
2. Entrepreneurial. As Jonathan Roth said, being an author is like being a small business. Veronica invested time into not only writing and planning the book, but into marketing and outreach as well. She took stock of her network and was not afraid to sell her book.
3. Connect. Veronica and I connected through the book club she started and through Instagram. She also mentions joining other groups, SCBWI, and the importance of finding other authors.
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