Harlem Book Fair Author Tanya Wright Discusses Self Publishing with Amazon’s CreateSpace

Self publishing isn’t new. It’s been around since the dawn of man. Self-publication was created and utilized to spread the word, be it good or bad. Some of our classics and many texts of the religious order are self-publications that have grown over time to become part of the literary canon. Nowadays, self-publication may be considered the alternate route rather than the rule when it comes to publication. Self-publication is a means for authors whose work may not be properly marketed or “understood” by publishers and allows the author to take back control of their work.

“Control” was something author and actress Tanya Wright, debuting her book Butterfly Rising, cited when I spoke with her about publishing with CreateSpace at the 2011 Book Expo of America in New York City in May. For Ms. Wright, a native New Yorker and actress currently featured on HBO’s True Blood, “independent” rang true of her aspirations for Butterfly Rising. Self-publishing was the best way for her to “take control over my life as an artist.”

Ms. Wright wrote the first draft of her book then put it away for a year. When she knew she wanted to make Butterfly Rising available to the public she revisited it, asked friends she trusted to be diligent in their critiques, and upon receiving the seal of approval searched for a self-publisher that would aid in a collaborative process but allow for her to remain at the helm of producing her tome. “CreateSpace afforded a lot of flexibility. They have great programs, they have awesome designers,” Ms. Wright noted of the ease of working with CreateSpace staff and having a “personalized relationship” with copyeditors, designers, and marketing.

CreateSpace is affiliated with Amazon as the self-publishing sect of the conglomerate. It offers a variety of services to choose from in each aspect of the book production & manufacturing process including editing (copyediting and editorial evaluation), layout & design (custom cover creation, printer-ready PDF, interior layout), marketing (press releases, review services, book paraphernalia such as cards, book marks, video trailer, etc.), and an overall publishing plan that includes aspects of each of the above areas in your books creation.

For CreateSpace the connection to Amazon is a big draw to authors. This provides CreateSpace with an already popular platform as a springboard for customers. At Book Expo they had a very visible booth among other publishers near the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) section of the book industry’s largest annual convention. CreateSpace added to their presence by having their authors on-hand for interviews.

Tanya Wright believes in elevating self-publishing and that CreateSpace is helping to do this, especially in terms of the look of books. She credits the design team with being talented in illustrating her vision perfectly and creating an “ethereal” look better than she had imagined. In terms of publicizing her book Ms. Wright has already made appearances at Hue-Man bookstore in Harlem and premiered Butterfly Rising the movie at an African-American film festival in Seattle in May.

Her publicity plans include being included in a televised program that Marva Allen (Hue-Man owner) is creating where she and twenty or so other authors and actors such as Victoria Rowell and Blair Underwood will tour the U.S. to talk about their books. She also seeks to get a “Butterfly” bus and tour with film co-star McGhee Monteith to screen Butterfly Rising, sell the book, and perform small concerts since Ms. Monteith has a band: McGhee and Me and the Star Landing Band.

Tanya Wright’s Butterfly Rising is currently available on Amazon.com. The movie of the same title based on the book is in previews on the festival circuit. You can get more information on Butterfly Rising the film at www.butterflyrisingthemovie.com.

Ms. Wright will be at the Harlem Book Fair on Saturday, July 23rd signing Butterfly Rising. She is also offering a workshop titled Business of the Unique Artist that will be held at the Countee Cullen Library during the fair.