Friday, May 23, 2014

Self Publishing

In a little while, I’m self-publishing under my pseudonym. One thing is a sixty thousand word novel with my co-author, and the other thing is a ten thousand word short story.

Self-publishing isn’t something I would have attempted before now, and it still feels a little bit like a crazy experiment. Not the craziest experiment my co-author and I are currently attempting though. Not by a long shot.

We decided to self publish because we wrote something that isn’t really a romance. At least it certainly doesn’t come with a happy ever after. I feel like I can give a spoiler here, since none of you guys know my pseudonym: everyone dies.

So much fun to write. But a publisher would have made us change it, and we like it this way. Hopefully our readers will as well.


Anyone can upload something to Amazon in a couple of minutes, but, guess what? It’s probably crap. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Not until you’ve done this stuff first:

Beta readers

These people are your new best friends. They’re doing you a favour by reading your book. Do them the favour of respecting their opinion.


Editing is never fun. Never. But it is necessary. And don’t be afraid to do your research on freelance editors. Make sure you know what you’re paying for: content edits only, or everything down to proofing? Don’t expect people to pay for a sub-par product. And don’t expect them to review it kindly if they do.

Proofing and Formatting

Ah, proofing. It is one of life’s little mysteries how something can look perfect on the screen, but once you print it out you suddenly see every glaring typo. Selling an ebook? Turn it into a mobi on Calibre and have a look at it on your Kindle before you submit it. You will pick up errors you never noticed on your computer screen.

Print the whole thing out.

Doing a paperback as well? Order galleys proofs. Because you will not believe how terrible a book can look if you make one tiny mistake in the formatting. And oh, the fun we had with page numbers and trying to get our names on the header on one page and the book title on the header of facing page.

Cover Art

Be prepared to pay a premium for a good stock photo if you want to make it yourself. I’m crap at making covers. Luckily, my co-author isn’t. If you don’t know anyone who can help you out, try going somewhere like Fivrr. Remember you can always say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Marketing and Publicity

Yes, we all hear the stories about the people who make a gazillion dollars self-publishing. But you know why those stories resonate so much? Because they’re not typical. At all. A lot of these people spend every waking hour online, networking, or pushing their book. Some people are incredibly successful at being engaging and approachable and interesting. However, some people – anyone on Twitter will know who I’m talking about – think that sending a tweet every thirty seconds screaming BUY MY BOOK is going to win people over. Hint: It’s not.

I am crap at marketing. Seriously. I don’t want to invest all my time into thinking of ways to make people notice and hopefully buy my book. You know why? Because it seems like it would be soul destroying. The best marketing, they say, is to follow up with another good book. I don’t know if that’s true or not, I’m choosing to believe it.

And I would never have tried to self-publish before now, simply because I know that marketing and publicity are my weak points. I didn’t want to build a fan base from scratch. But now, thanks to being traditionally published first, I do have a fan base.

 So, I’ll let you know in a few months how the great self-publishing experiment goes, but here’s one thing I’ve learned for damn sure: Publishing is hard work, and it’ll be a long time before I take my traditional publisher for granted.


  1. I'm thinking I'm too lazy to self-publish…

    Good luck with the project! I just read an article this morning about the author of Trainspotting and how he thought his books would never get published in today's traditional market. Says he would self-publish.

    1. Thanks for the link, LG! That's a great article.

  2. What's the name of this book in which everyone dies? Hamlet?

    Think you got your bases covered, and good luck with it!

    1. The first -- and probably only -- time that this book will be compared with Shakespeare :)



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