Writing a book is relatively easy, right? You come up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. You add in some characters, maybe a plot twist or two to keep your readers on the edge of their seats. Slap a catchy title on the front, and you're done. Okay, maybe that's simplifying things a bit. But compared to getting your novel published, which can involve a long series of hoops to jump through just to ultimately result in nothing, writing the thing can seem like a piece of cake.
Sounds rough, but it's reality. That is, if you go the traditional publishing route. Enter Steve Luna and Clayton Smith, whose Dapper Press, launching December 1, will act as your 21st-century, completely digital guide through the seemingly daunting world of self-publishing, turning final drafts into novels that can stand "shoulder-to-shoulder," as Luna says, with those traditionally published books.
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"This is where we really come in," Luna says about authors who approach Dapper Press. "They don't know what's involved in bridging that gap from 'I've written a book that I like,' to 'I think I can actually sell it to people if I can just get it up [online]."
Both Luna and Smith know all about the ins and outs of the self-publishing process. That's actually how they met in the first place. After they both independently self-published their own novels, they set out to find an audience.
Luna says he turned to the "robust" community of self-publishing authors on Facebook. He found Chicago-based Smith's collection of short stories, read them, and reached out. Digitally, of course, as Luna lives locally in Phoenix.
The two began talking and realized they shared common ground in their frustrations with the comparatively low standards for self-published books and the traditional publishing world, Luna says, where an author needs and agent, publisher, and a good amount of cash to even have a chance at getting their book in the hands of readers.
Eventually, the idea of Dapper Press was born, and the two set out to raise the level of ease and professionalism of self-published novels with Smith in Chicago and Luna here in Phoenix. Yep, Luna says he and Smith have yet to actually meet in person.
"The Internet kind of made the world very small, very possible," Luna says.
This simple idea really creates the foundation of both general self-publishing and Dapper Press. Luna says that authors often don't realize how easy self-publishing has become thanks to online services like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He adds that once you have a finished manuscript, you could really publish your book in an afternoon. Plus, it's free and completely in the author's hands.
"For me, that is the driving force of 'Oh, I can actually control this entire thing, instead of hoping someone sees the value in what I'm doing,'" Luna says. "I think that's been driving a lot of people."