Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dee Ann Waite is Making Penguins Fly with Self-Publishing - Part 1

Part 1 of the Penguins Fly Series
on self-publishing versus small press traditional publishing 
by: Stevie McCoy
Guest Author: Dee Ann Waite

Writers are out there submitting queries like mad penguins – dressed to impress and waddling for a chance to fly – but for today’s writer, Dee Ann Waite, (Author of "The Consequential Element") she had the contract in hand from a traditional press and still decided self-publishing was the best bet for her. 

When I asked why she turned down her traditional small press contract she said, “Control: With the traditional route I would have had to give up the rights to my book, both hard copy and ebook format, for a minimum of two years.” Certainly a big thing to give up when signing a contract and it’s good to evaluate all avenues before signing anything. Some small presses end up going belly-up if they don’t have enough revenue to stay in the game. Most small presses are ran by literary enthusiasts who just love and want to support the arts. Publishing houses can’t run on love alone and sometimes they end up closing before the release of their signed titles, meaning signing a two-year contract can entail that you have to wait that long before submitting your work to another press for consideration, even if they close their operations. 

Traditional publishing also means Dee Ann Waite would have, “only [received] 35% royalties, and [she would’ve] had to do upwards of 60% of the marketing to get the word out.” That is another difference between the traditional and self-publishing route. How much effort will the publishing house be placing into your marketing campaign and is that worth the decrease in royalties? Dee Ann said,
“I felt if I had to do most of the marketing anyways, then I wanted full control of my book and 70% of my royalties. Self-publishing gave me that.”

Self-publishing means more control, but it also means more work. So if you’re dedicated like Dee Ann Waite, self-publishing might be for you. Speaking of extra work, being self-published also means you are the project manager of your book, and that includes being responsible for quality control like editing. Not all self-published authors hire an editor, but in a market where the traditional publishers have high-quality work it is important to make sure your stuff is also up to snuff.

I asked Dee Ann about her experience with hiring an editor as a self-published author and she said, "Yes, I hired a copy editor. Two, in fact. The first was not very good at all. Luckily, our agreement was in installments of 100.00 per quarter of the book. I only paid for two quarters and then let her go. She was a very sweet and a nice person, but as far as a professional editor, not so much."

It always disheartens me when an author has a horrible experience with an editor, but it's important to remember that finding an editor is like finding an agent, you have to find the right one for you and your style of writing, who also respects your voice and your goals. Lucky for Dee Ann she found the right match with her second editorial choice, "Then I came across a woman from the Florida Writer's Association (of which I belong) and hired her. It was a great match! She was professional, concise, and full of questions! She managed to copyedit without changing the context of the story. Mostly grammar and punctuation, as well as soft line editing and minor storyline suggestions." 

What advice does Dee Ann Waite have for future self-published authors when choosing an editor? "In a nutshell, when hiring a copy editor, it is wise to interview them thoroughly before agreeing to hire them. And above all, always have a written agreement between the two. It saved me a great deal of trouble." Wise words, there should always be an agreement signed verifying what you expect from the edit, how much money, and deadlines. This protects both the author and the editor.

One way that helps you decide if an editor is right for you is that they usually offer a free couple page edit; this edit is for you to get a feel for their editing style and if it matches with what you want. Best to pick a couple of pages from the middle of your manuscript, because that is where your writing is most consistent and likely to be a better indicator of how the editing will go.

Follow along with the next blog post in the Penguins Fly Series:Queries and Agent Responses.

Take a look at Dee Ann Waite’s self-published novel “The Consequential Element” for sale in eBook format on Amazon at

To find out more about small press publishing visit:, Booktrope
To find out more about self-publishing visit:,

You can reach Stevie on Twitter: @theglitterlady
Stevie is an editor currently interning with Girl Friday Productions. She has her bachelors in English and a certificate in editing. When she isn't reading, writing, or editing she is sewing up a dress and dancing the night away with some salsa, bachata, foxtrot, swing and waltz.  

Learn more about Dee Ann Waite on Twitter: @DeeAnnWaite1 , , or

Comment and share for your chance at a free copy of Dee Ann Waite's new book “The Consequential Element


  1. Hi Stevie! Thanks for having me here. I love the layout of the interview. Well done.

  2. I totally agree on the subject of control, this is one of the factors that is influencing my decision to pursue e-publishing over the traditional route. Thank you for posting this subject in the blog, I found it very interesting as well as boosting my own confidence.

    1. Thank you for reading! Always good to weight the pros and cons of self-publishing. It means more effort but if you're putting forth all that effort anyways then it could be a better fit to have the control, and money, as well. Hope you'll check out the next post in the series about her query letter and self-pub writing choices.

  3. I'm a mad penguin lol but after reading your article, self publishing seems to be the way forward. What swayed me? Giving up rights to the work. No one should be expected to give up the rights to their own work. I can't imagine doing that. Just reading it made me feel funny inside. Great interview. I shall come back for part 2. Lizzie x

    1. Most publishers require an author to give them rights for a certain amount of time for exclusivity. However depending on your publisher all rights usually go directly back to the author after that time period elapses. Thank you so much for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it, hope you'll come back for more. Part 2 is already posted.