Self-Publishing in a Nutshell

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I’m putting up my Wednesday self-publishing post early because tomorrow I’m participating in Talli Roland’s Launch of Watching Willow Watts. It’s an online party/blogfest and everybody will be writing around the theme 'If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be...'

Now to the business at hand…

Here’s the stuff I’ve learned about self-pubbing in a nutshell. Not to oversimplify, but there are TONS of great articles out there on the process. This is simply a listing of what has stuck in my head from the articles and ebooks I’ve been trolling through.  I've added a few gems of my own too. Here we go.

  • Read everything you can find about self-publishing before diving into the business.
  • Write a mind-blowingly awesome book or two or three.
  • Pass first-book-to-market around to blogging buddies for feedback.
  • Edit or get said book edited until it’s so sparkly, it hurts to look at it with the naked eye. 
  • Have a decent cover done if you aren’t a creative do-it-yourselfer. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and who wants to be entered in an ugly cover contest? Yes! They do exist.
  • Since most self-pubbers take the e-book route first, get the darn thing formatted properly.  Pay, if necessary.  See second chance/first impression comment above.
  • Write a blurb that will make readers want to run out and buy the book.  Yes, the marketing picks up here.
  • Market the book properly. I have a lot to learn in this department because the minute I mention my books, I feel like a prostitute in New Kingston (the local business district) plying my wares or like a self-centred boor.  Note to self – get on with posts/interviews.
  • Grovel Ask people to review your book.  Get some honest reviews not written by a doting mom, hubby, or first cousin.
  • Be willing to take advice, learn from each experience and try new methods.
  • Dust off that thick skin you had to don during critiquing sessions. Reviews can be brutal.
  • Oh, yeah and have fun while on this adventure!

My first point above said ‘business’ and that’s what this venture is to me. So, it isn’t about making scads of money – as if - but I’m likely to do better if I treat what I’m doing as a business. I’m already beating back my lazy side as I go along.

So to practice what I’m preaching, here are my covers and blurbs.  Bear with me if you've seen them already.  My writer friend, Courtney and I are on stream to release my babies below on Monday, September 19, 2011. Giving up the Dream is a single story, and will be gratis and Don't Get Mad...Get Even is a collection of five stories, and will be $0.99.

Love, honour and obey. In a perfect life, these promises are easy to keep. When faced with spousal betrayal, idealistic oaths take a back seat. Justine Charles made the ultimate sacrifice for her dying husband. Will she rally after his death or be forced to give up a final chance at happiness?

What choices do you have when you are abused, cheated on and left with a trail of broken promises? Don’t Get Mad…Get Even.  Take an inside look at Jamaican culture and lifestyle through a collection of award-winning stories. You will laugh, cry and commiserate with a compelling cast of characters, who conquer their challenges in unique ways.

Have I forgotten anything on the self-publishing front? I appreciate any advice or help you can give.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me on this journey.



  1. I can't wait!

    And everything you said is exactly true, especially the covers and formatting. It's so important to have a pretty book, not just a well-written one. It needs to be the complete passage.

  2. All excellent advice...and other than the marketing part, I've followed most of it :)

    My feelings on marketing are similar to yours. But friends like you have helped me spread the word, so I'm grateful.

    Please feel free to take possession of either of my blogs any of these days to talk about your writing! :)

    All the best, Joy, may you succeed in this business beyond your wildest imagination!

  3. All good tips. I would add this on book trailers - better not to have one at all, than to put out one that looks cheesy/amateurish. (See JL's first impressions, above.)

    If you DO get reviewed, and it's not pretty, don't make things worse by ripping into the reviewer, or disputing reviews on Amazon, etc. Be gracious and professional, and maybe people who hated your first book will still be willing to read your next one.

  4. Marlena, yes, I do like me a nice cover to go with a book. This is one of the things I miss when reading an ebook - as weird as that sounds.

    Damyanti, marketing like a pro does provide something of a challenge. You bet I'll be emailing you. Thanks, as always, for your support.

    Beverly, oh yeah. I like watching a good trailer. Good points on responding to reviews. Thanks!

  5. Great tips! And best of luck with your releases! (Very exciting!)

  6. Awesome. I'm collecting all the info I can. =)

  7. I love your blurbs! Really, they're fantastic. Good luck with everything!

  8. Thanks, Susan.

    Elizabeth, Collecting information has been half the fun for me. :)

    Susan, thanks. Sometimes they come easy. Another time it's hard to shake anything loose.

  9. Thanks for the tips. I'm at the 'reading everything you can on epub stage...' I'd buy Don't Get Mad, Get Even' just because of its excellent cover and blurb. Great stuff. Keep us posted...D

  10. Have you come across Dean Wesley Smith, J.L. He has some very interesting things to say about The New World of Publishing

  11. Denise, thanks for dropping in. Thanks so much for your encouragement! I'm happy the blurbs are doing their job.

    Deborah, oh yes, I have come across his site and have bookmarked it. Now if only I could remember to visit more often than once in a while. He has some sensible, on-point advice.

  12. I read this in the morning but had no access to comment.
    I hadn't realised that the 19th was around the corner. Please send me info and stuff to publish on my other blog also about the new releases.
    They both sound so scrumptious I can't wait and the covers are awesome, so proud of you.

  13. Really helpful insights on self-publishing. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. No problem, Wendy. I'll send you mail.

    Ishmael, thanks for stopping in. I'm happy to share what I'm learning.

  15. Great tips! I'll have to keep these in mind when I finally finish a couple of stories I want to self-pub. Great way to start thinking about it without getting too overwhelmed.

  16. Oh, yes, I like to break things down to smaller bits, because my attention span is tiny. Thanks for dropping in.

  17. Three years ago I self published a poetry book "Negative V. Positive.
    I was very pleased with the quality and service.
    I am now self publishing my second one as my poems have accumalted over the past three years.

    I enjoyed reading your blog and thanks for the information.

  18. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm glad you found the information here useful.

  19. I agreed with everything you said! First imppressions, like a cover and blurb are everything and you can't imagine how much reviews can help sales. Great post!

    *fellow romantic suspense campaigner waving hello!* :)


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