Local authors to hold seminar on how to self-publish

Join James Peet, Leah Cutter, and Blaze Ward at Cole Street Brewery on Feb. 16, 6 p.m.

Self-publishing is a world of its own, from trying to decide what programs to use to help you write and format to what platforms are successful and how to market yourself.

To help people navigate the system, three self-published authors will be giving a presentation on how you can become a self-published author at Cole Street Brewery on Feb. 16, starting at 6 p.m.

The authors giving the talk are James Peet, known for his series, “The Corps of Discovery”; Leah Cutter, who has written multiple fantasy series, such as “The Witch’s Progress” and “The Troll Wars”; and her husband Blaze Ward, who has written multiple sci-fi series, including the “Jessica Keller Chronicles” and the on-going “Handsome Rob Gigs” series.

Peet said he had stories rattling around in his head for years before he decided to commit and put them metaphorically down on paper.

But now that he had drafts, Peet had to figure out what to do next.

“I thought that, just like everybody else, you go to a traditional publisher, you send in your letters of inquiry, and then I realized — that’s not the way to go nowadays,” he said.

For all three authors, self-publishing has been a way to not only control their stories, but to also bring in passive income.

“The question I always ask people is, do you want to be famous, or rich?” Ward said in a 2020 article with the Courier-Herald. “Famous means you go get a New York contract and an agent and your books are available in The Sequel down the street, Barnes and Nobel, and all that. As a rule, where you used to make $50,000 or $100,000 advances 20 years ago, these days its $5,000 to $10,000, if you’re lucky. And you’re making 10, 15 cents a sale. You could never quit your day job.”

Of course, if you want to bring in a real income, you’ve got to publish a lot of books. Peet has published five books (including one cook book), but Ward and Cutter have published dozens — many of them series, since that seems to be most popular with readers.

“Blaze and Leah, they make a living writing,” Peet said. He doesn’t, “but then again, I’m not trying to,” he continued, adding that he does hope to secure passive income for when he retires.

For more information about the authors, you can visit their websites at jamespeet.com, blazeward.com, and leahcutter.com.