Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Self Publication: The Adventure Begins

Sure, it’s easy enough to say you’ll self publish via ebook. The tools and resources to do so are all at your fingertips. But, what you may not realize is that you’re in for a boatload of work if you plan to be successful. Here are a few things to address before you press the submit button.

This list assumes you’ve got a completed manuscript. I would even go as far as saying this assumes you’re past the second or third draft. It’s a manuscript that’s ready to move forward. It’s one thing to consider what’ll happen when you're done, but don’t let the “what I’ll do when I finish” get in the way of actually finishing.


  1. Find some honest readers. Whether it’s a writing group, a book club, or someone you’ve become friendly with through their blog. Your mom, sister, boyfriend, wife, just won’t cut it at this point. Sure, they may give you feedback, but how much are they holding back because they don’t want to hurt your feelings? Now is not the time to seek praise. It’s time to grit your teeth and get some criticism that can improve your book.

  2. Make friends with an editor. There’re lots of them out there. Trust me…I was one. And, I would have loved if someone had asked me to edit their novel. Now, mind you…if you can’t befriend one, you might just have to pay one. If you have any doubts about your ability to self edit, it will be worth the money. No one wants to read a book filled with typos and poor punctuation.

  3. Research cover designers. Yep, your ebook still needs a cover. Let’s face it, when browsing in the store, if you don’t know the author, you pick up the book because you were drawn to it by something on the cover. And, even if your release date is still a couple months off, you’ll want to have the cover in order to build buzz for the book. It makes a great marketing tool and once you’ve purchased it, it’s yours to use however you like. Now, in my time of due diligence, I came across a wide spectrum of services. Everything from $30 to $900 and up! And, like all things of quality, you get what you pay for. Take a look at what $30 will get you and you’ll understand why it only costs $30! However, having seen some of the examples on the high end, I’m pretty sure you don’t need to buy the Ferrari. Do your homework and find an artist and a price point you can live with.

  4. Epublication sites like Smashwords.com will upload your book for free to multiple platforms (Amazon, B&N, Apple, etc). However, there’s quite a bit of formatting involved prior to upload, especially if you want to be included on the premium vendors list (this also refers back to #3…cover is required for sales on Kindle et al). Now, you can either go through the formatting guide and probably spend a lot of time cursing at the cruel makers of Word, or pay someone to do this thankless task for you.

  5. Blog! If you don’t have any sort of web presence, what are you waiting for? How can you expect to generate buzz for an ebook if you don’t have the beginnings of a platform. Blogs cost nothing and are fairly simple to navigate. I use blogger.com, but this is only one of many blogging sites (eg, wordpress, livejournal, weebly, xanga, and yahoo just to name the first few that popped up on Google). Blogging gives you a voice outside of your novel. It allows you to build an audience of like-minded folks. And, it gives you a fairly inexpensive stage to show off your writing prowess.

As far as my progress goes, I’ve lined up readers (a few of which are also editors…I know…that’s cheating), contacted a cover artist, and established this shiny new blog. I’ll have to take a crack at #4 before deciding whether I want to pay someone to do it.


Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join me again as I detail my path toward epublication.