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The Legal Side of Blogging

Self-Publishing vs Using a Publisher – The Joys and Frustrations

ruthcover smallerI’ve had the privilege of becoming a book author. I self-published my first book The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed last year (and published a revision of it this past summer). That book led to me getting a book contract with the American Bar Association to write Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans, which came out this summer and The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers, which is due to be published in February 2014.

Both types of publishing come with their joys and frustrations. I love the independence of being an indie author but then the responsibility is on me to do everything (or find people to outsource to). On the flip side, I’ve had a mostly great experience working with my publishing teams, but that also means more cooks in the kitchen and having to play by their rules.

In regards to my next book, I turned the first draft in to my publisher in August with the expectation that it would be published before the end of the year. (I turned the first draft of Flash Mob Law in to my publisher in May and it was published in August.) I did not expect to hear in October that they wanted a major re-write. In the big picture, it was the right thing to do, but definitely required me to rearrange my calendar a bit. I busted my ass to get it done by Halloween so they could get it out, or at the very least get me a galley, by December.

I was frustrated as hell when I heard that wasn’t possible, especially after I worked so hard to keep things on schedule. How long does it take to format, copyedit, and print a book? It’s already cleared legal review and I know I can review edits in 24 hours if I have to. My publication date is only delayed by a few months and in the long run everything will be fine but I definitely had a few expressive moments while I was adjusting to that information.

Here’s my compilation of the joys and frustrations that come with being an indie author and having a publisher.

INDIE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
PUBLICATION DATE I pick it. They pick it.
WRITING My work. My way. They can require re-writes.
DEADLINES No one’s holding my feet to the fire but me. Hard deadlines.
COPYEDITTING I’m responsible for hiring a good copyeditor. They take care of it. I have 5 days after receiving a draft to approve edits.
COVER ART I’m responsible for hiring a graphic designer and describing what I think I want. They have a team of artists and I get to pick the final version from the options they provide.
MARKETING That’s my job too. They have a team for that.
EBOOK OPTION Of course! They say they’re going to do it.
PAPER OPTION I got frustrated trying to figure out CreateSpace and gave up. Available on the ABA website.
PRICE I decide ($3.99). They decide ($39.95).
ROYALTIES Monthly. Annually.
SALES I work for every sale. Minimum sales guaranteed.
MY WORK Never ends. Basically done once the final draft is done, except for reviewing galleys.
COPYRIGHT Guaranteed mine. Had to negotiate to keep it.

Created with the HTML Table Generator

There is no one right way to be an author but it’s good to understand what you’re getting into when you decide which path you’re going to take.

Undeniable Recap of 2012

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

It’s been an incredible year! Looking back, so much has changed and so many wonderful things have happened for me this year – personally and professionally. I never could have predicted so many good things happening. Of course, I didn’t get here alone and I want to thank all the friends, family, and colleagues who helped make this year fan-fucking-tastic. It was hard to pick the top five events from this year, but here you go!

1.  Carter Law Firm Opened!  I opened my own law practice on January 4, 2012 and I’m happy to report that I’m still in business and haven’t been disbarred. It’s been an amazing year creating and building my own business with all the trials and tribulations that go along with that. I love my work and I’m so lucky that I get to build the professional life I’ve always wanted as the approachable geeky lawyer who wears t-shirts and does awesome work. I love that I’m building my niches in social media and flash mob law and being invited to do things like speak at major conferences.

ruthcover smaller2.  My First Book  I wrote and self-published The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. I’ve always wanted to write a book and all the pieces fell into place to make it happen. The book has been well received so far and appears to be opening the door for more books. Special hat tip to ePublish Unum for teaching me everything I know about self-publishing.

3.  ABA Legal Rebel  I’ve always looked up to the American Bar Association Legal Rebels, but in my wildest dreams I did not expect to be picked to join this illustrious group only months after becoming a lawyer. I’m tickled that they chose me because of my work in flash mob law.

Rosie!

Rosie!

4.  I Got A Dog!  Adopting Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue was probably the biggest life changing event of this year. It had been years since I had a pet and because of her we go walking every day and I’m on a more structured schedule. She can melt my heart with one look and it was so hard to leave her at the kennel for a few days. I love the way she looks when she runs and how she howls at the phone.

5.  Half Marathon Personal Record  This may seem petty, but it was a big deal to me to finish the race under two hours. I was blown away when I heard I finished the race in 1:52. I’d never run that hard for so long before. It was a great experience to do so well.

 

Celebrity Encounters in 2012

 

Firsts in 2012

  • handstand bean1st trip to Chicago where I leave the airport – included my 1st ride on the L Train and my 1st visit to Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • 1st trip to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Bought my 1st Powerball ticket
  • 1st time using Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp
  • 1st time at Phoenix Comicon
  • 1st time owning a pet that wasn’t formerly a family pet
  • 1st business trip to San Francisco
  • Sent my 1st DMCA Takedown Notice
  • Put up my 1st yarn bomb
  • 1st trip to the ABA TechShow
  • 1st YouTube channel

In Memorium

  • Peg Grucky
  • David Malcolm

This has been an incredible year. I’m excited for what’s to come next!