Self-Publishing

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There’s enough I don’t know about self-publishing to fill a self-published book on self-publishing. The old days of submitting your manuscript, awaiting rejection, rinsing & repeating, is no longer the only option on the block. That may be a good thing or a bad thing. On the positive side, not having to wait two years to have a manuscript accepted, edited, and finally printed, is alluring. On the other hand, the fact that anyone can self-publish, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should.

I’m in the middle of revising a first draft, and while it’s a bit early to begin looking into publication, I find I need the occasional break from editing. I’m often found lurking on Amazon, perusing ‘inside peaks’ of novels written by aspiring authors, those with similar qualifications as my own (none). Call it gauging my literary capacity, being nosy, or simply judging the caliber of fellow writers, I find the process both exhilarating and debilitating. The debilitating part rears its head when I stumble across a brilliant piece of fiction –available for digital download at .99 cents. The exhilarating side emerges when I find a novel selling for $2.99, wrought with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.  It’s like fishing, only instead of largemouth bass, you’re hoping to land a glimmer of reassurance or a glint of inspiration.

It’s a risky pastime, but like an addiction, hard to quit, once hooked.

Lurking aside, as I plod along, happily revising, anticipating the day when ‘The End’ will finally mean ‘The End’, I look to my next steps. Aside from Amazon’s Kindle, there are a number of publishing platforms, offering a multitude of options, each with their own distribution stream, revenue percentage, marketing incentives, you name it. The variables are plenty, and the selection of platforms, overwhelming.

Self-publishing, as I’m finding, is all over the map.

Editing will play a significant role in the final product. My writing style often skirts the boundaries of traditional prose, I‘m not a natural wordsmith, but I’ll argue that style is subjective, rules are restricting, and sometimes you go with your gut. With that said, I like the idea of having a polished product. Whether or not I outsource my final draft for a professional edit is something I have to consider. There’s only so much personal editing that can be done; line by line edits, read-aloud edits, software programs that detect repeat phrases, clichés, and awkward sentence structure, spell-checks. If I do outsource, I’ll likely be looking for a copy edit, or a proofread only, I’m not intending on spending large chunks of cash, not on my first go-around. I have the expertise to do much of my own prep work, formatting, cover image, and so forth, so my only financial investment, if I choose that route, will be editing.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For those of you who have self-published, I’m interested in your process. Did you opt for a free platform, or fee-based? Did you do the heavy lifting, or did you outsource (formatting, editing, beta-readers)? Lastly, if you did outsource, did you survive the notes, or did you run out and buy a box of wine and a tub Häagen-Dazs?

wine in a box (2)

Until next time,

32 thoughts on “Self-Publishing

  1. I am a bit reticent when it comes to self publishing but in the same time I am scared of submitting a manuscript as well. The problem with self publishing is like you said: anyone can although not everyone should. I found some bad writing for lots of money and amazing ones for nothing. It feels like the good writers don’t quite have space out there because of the ones who shouldn’t even think of writing.
    Oh well, not even readers are like they used to

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. There’s so much out there, so much competition, if your only driver is fame and fortune, good luck. Most of the writers I’ve met online write because that’s what they love to do. Publishing is an added perk, but once you do so, you move on to the next project. If you sell a few copies, get positive reviews, that’s a bonus. Even if you don’t, you keep writing because you want to. Cheers!

      Liked by 5 people

      • Writing is my escape, my way of expressing myself. I did start a book few years ago and haven’t finished it yet. To be fair if it gets ever published would be a WOW, my bonus. But I would be happy only finishing it and having maybe few close ones read it

        Liked by 3 people

      • That’s the scariest part, someone reading it. It’s always recommended that you get beta-readers to review your manuscript, then use their notes to revise it. I don’t think I can handle beta-readers, I’d rather just self publish as is, then cancel my internet for a few months.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting look at self publishing. Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves an author these days. While I enjoy the opportunities like you, should everyone be an author? Then again, most artists are not appreciated on their first foray. If you do go the outside editing/proofreading route Mike, check credentials. Some people shouldn’t be doing that either.
    I wish you best of luck. Can’t wait for your entertaining final product.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Susan. And yes, I’ve been barraged by all kinds of editing sites/offers, many through my Twitter contacts. Prices for an edit of 70,000 words ranging anywhere from $900 to $5000. I realize it’s big business, capitalizing on all the aspiring JK Rowlings out there. Once I’m finished my final draft, I’ll take a cold, hard look at it, and decide. This book is no ground breaker, it’s a stream of consciousness piece, flawed and likely irreparable, so I have a feeling I will let it fly without investing a penny. Time will tell. Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have so wanted to self-publish a book of poems for a long time now. I have been encouraged over and over again by other writers to do it and finally I have promised to gather up my material and get online and do it. I am thinking of going through Amazon. For this project I will need every prayer. Right now I am looking over all of the information I can find on self-publishing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rasma- A friend of mine explored four different publishing avenues before stumbling on CreateSpace. By far the best set up, least expensive and most flexible. I used it to publish my dissertation and make it available for the children and grandchildren of WW II veterans. I also published a book of poetry to share with family and friends. (you can take a look at both on Amazon – Theresa Ast — HubPages) Using their templates and my photographs I designed the covers myself and I also included pictures and family photographs in the book of poetry.

      I am technically and technologically inept and I was able to do it. Less expensive because there are no copies gathering dust on a shelf anywhere; copies are printed after they are ordered. I pay $4 to self-order Confronting the Holocaust, and $2,50 to order a copy of the poetry book. You can order 2, 4, 6, copies or none at all. I have ordered as many as 10 copies and the postage was about $9. My upfront cost per book was less that $20 each and that was for an ISBN # and Amazon in Europe publishing rights, and you also get to set the price for selling to the public if you wish. I highly recommend CreateSpace. 🙂 Theresa

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you for the info Theresa! I actually Googled CreateSpace yesterday, just prior to posting, as I’d not heard of it, but it was in the image I used for this post. I will definitely check out your publications (that’s what I do). I’ve come across the print on demand option with a few platforms, and that’s a definite ‘must have’. I often wonder how some of the publish-for-a-fee online businesses convince first time authors to dish out large chunks of cash, on what realistically, for most of us, is a huge gamble. Your upfront costs, for what ends up being a professional product, is minuscule.
        Thanks again, I appreciate your comments. Make sure you take Rasma to task, get her to publish her poems!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mike – Glad to pass the info along. The prohibitive upfront costs of other companies had always been a problem for me. This was an entirely new approach. I have sold @ 80 copies of “Confronting” and often hear from the people who bought it, because a family member was involved in WW II. Now Dressing the Bones, being poetry, may never sell more than five copies. lol But I have probably given away 30 copies or mores. And the book gives me great pleasure as the cover art is an oil painting by my Polish grandmother in the 1970’s. I will stay after Rasma to get her poetry together and published. 🙂 Theresa

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s a great achievement, and must feel rewarding. So many people set out to write their novel, but only a handful see it through. Here’s hoping I’m part of the handful. Thanks again Theresa!

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      • Thank you very much Theresa. You have given me more than incentive you have given me courage. As soon as I can I will make this project my top priority and as they say – full speed ahead.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful! From the little research I’ve done, Amazon seems to be the dominant player. Please keep me in the loop, I’d love to know how things go. My ‘unofficial’ goal is to have my final draft complete by October 1st, so I have time over the summer to look into publishing options in more detail. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry Rasma, I typed a reply earlier, but it disappeared. Go for it! Writing, especially poetry, touches people in different ways, when you publish, you never know who might fall in love with your words. Amazon seems to be the major player, I doubt you can go wrong publishing through them. Let me know how things work out, I’d love to hear your about your process. Cheers, and thank you for commenting!

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      • Thank you for writing this. I gave me answers I needed particularly from Teresa. So yes, as soon as I can this is my top priority and I will get it done. I will let you know how things went or when you see me shouting I did it all over the Internet!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. All the best, Mike. We are going for CreateSpace for our Anthology (that Cinderella re-telling project). We will pay for the design of the cover but we plan to do everything else. A fellow blogger has self-published a few times and her website (mind-flight.org) has quite a bit of info on this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. First of all, I can’t congratulate you enough on working on the Novel! That alone is the hardest part.

    As you know I have self-published. I use Smashwords and Amazon – two reasons – One I don’t like for anyone (Amazon) to dictate to me that I must sell “exclusively” through them, sorry but F.U. I can do what I want.
    Secondly, smashwords pays more and has a wider distribution base (there are just too many sheeple that only buy from Amazon)

    Createspace is the best and FREE for creating the paperbacks to sell directly from Amazon.

    I make most of my own Covers Free – One I bought and love and she was only 35$ UK.
    As for Editing, Luckily I have some ppl doing it for free for the time being, although a much slower process I just can’t afford to pay.

    The hardest part for me is the formatting, I feel like a computer newb when I cant get the formatting right and it can be frustrating. But my first book I paid a company and they didn’t do such a bang up job, so I need to learn how to do this myself.

    As you see any questions throw them out into the Web and everyone will pop in to help! Let us know if you need advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great info, thanks Theresa! I don’t mind tinkering with things like formatting (if you’ve ever worked with WordPress, sometimes you need the patience of Job to align paragraphs and photos). My book is wholly Canadian-based, setting, references, characters, etc, so I know my potential audience is limited, that may have some bearing on who I publish with in the end.
      Thanks again for the info!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, Mike. Just a couple thoughts: For both of my books, I did everything myself, including format, design, editing, promoting, etc. (I should point out that my books are currently only available in digital format.) If I had to change any of that process, it would be the editing. The one fairly regular comment I get about “Screaming in Paris” is that it’s just too damn long and needs pruning. I finally caved on that angle recently and there are now a few folks beta-reading “Screaming”. (As a courtesy, no money involved.) I plan to publish a revised edition later this year.

    For the record, I’m in the “KDP Select” program at Amazon, which means I can only publish through them and therefore I have not explored any other options. I realize some folks have commented that this limitation is not a good thing, and to some degree it is, but I I’m content with it for now because of the higher royalties and the automatic inclusion in Kindle Unlimited, which allows folks to borrow these books without actual purchase and you can earn a tiny fraction of change for every page they read. There are some months when I make more from page reads than book sales.

    I would be happy to answer any more specific questions you might have. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great info, thanks Brian. I’m not overly concerned about limitations, and I’m prepared to handle as much on my own as I can (formatting, design, etc.) Everything I’ve read so far about Amazon’s publishing options look positive, I don’t think you can go wrong using their services. I’ve got a ways to go, but your info is much appreciated. I may take you up on your offer, once I get through a couple of rounds of editing. The first round is going painfully slowly.
      Cheers, and thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Will do Lorraine. Much of my early feedback supports a couple of the platforms I’d already looked into (Amazon & Createspace) I wanted to limit my options at the outset so I don’t spend more time researching, than writing. I’ll post some updates as I eventually close in on a final draft, my goal is early October. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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