Thursday, September 12, 2013

Self-Publishing Lessons Learned

Self-publishing a book involves lots of steps and tasks across a few different skill sets. I won't pretend to be an expert, or to be able to do a perfect job explaining it all. There are entire books and websites and communities dedicated to self-publishing.

Instead, I'll talk here a bit about my experience and what I learned.

Mainly, there's so much more to it than just writing the book...

For example, you'll either need to be a graphic artist/illustrator, or hire one to make your cover. If you're not an editor (or even if you are!) you might want to hire one to review your book.

You may be a writer, but are you good at desktop publishing and layouts? Do you know what a gutter is? If not, you'll need one.

Do you read ebooks? If not, you may need to bring in an expert to help you create the ebook version of your book.

And then there's actual act of publishing... Do you want to join KDP Select, Amazon's exclusive publishing system? What about publishing to platforms other than Amazon? D2D or Smashwords? What about the printed version?

In all, I counted about a dozen things that I either had to know, learn, or hire out. I could do the layout myself, and I muddled through the various publishing steps (or, rather, I'm still muddling through). But I couldn't make my own cover, and I'm a firm believer in not editing/proofing your own work.

And then there's marketing! This is most definitely not my strong suit. Arranging blog interviews/tours. Getting the word out. Finding places to show off your book. This is all alien stuff for me. Things about which I should have done (and am doing) much more research.

At least now that I've been through the cycle once, I can take the lessons I've learned and the friends I've made and apply them to books going forward.


  1. Congratulations! This is so exciting. And thank you so much for writing this post. I am currently trying to get mine in finished so I can create my PDF/X-1a:2001 file and get it uploaded! Most of my boxes are checked and the learning curve has been tremendous because I've done all the writing, photography, layout, design, and cover work myself. Thankfully I had good proofreaders who made a huge difference!

    I'm so encouraged by your success, and I hope you get the marketing figured out and sell many copies!

    1. How exciting! Can't wait to see it out there in the world!