My Self Publishing Journey

My mother always told me I could do anything I set my mind to.  If I didn’t know how to do it I could learn.  Being a reference librarian, and a self taught one at that,  she was all for research.   Even with all the information on the internet, the library is a great place to bring the kids for a life lesson…but I digress.

One day in April 2011, I was having chest pains and ended up in the hospital.  Thankfully it was not a heart attack.  Unfortunately, it was a severe anxiety attack brought on by stress at work.  I was subsequently laid off in June, but again I digress…imagine that.

While in the hospital I finished the book I’d been working on for ten years.  This book, CENTAURI DAWN, I hadn’t been able to finish or even work on since the death of my younger brother in 2006.  I’d already finished one, TAME A WILD HEART, had it edited and submitted it to several publishers just to be turned down.  So now I have two books that are finished with nowhere to go.

I told my critique group that I’d finally finished CENTAURI DAWN and one of my CP’s said “now you can publish with me”.  Considering that my first book had been turned down and that I have no patience, I was intrigued to say the least.  I started researching the self publishing entities of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.  Later on I’d add All Romance eBooks to the mix.

My CP’s went through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb and I must have read the finished product a dozen different times and found something wrong every time.  I hired an editor who went through and critiqued the first chapter for me then fell off the face of the earth.  I never did hear back from her and had to go through PayPal to get my payment to her back.  *Note to self, do not pay for services in advance.

One of my CP’s is in discussion to become a freelance editor for one of the big publishing houses, so I had her go through it again.  There were still minor errors which I fixed.  Then I went on to publishing the book.  Even after it was published, I found minor errors in my Kindle version.  What I’m saying here is that no matter how many times you read it, check it and recheck it there are still going to be errors in your manuscript.  That is just the way it is.  I bet there is not a book out there, that doesn’t have some errors whether indie or traditionally published.

Formatting drove me crazy.  It’s not as easy, especially the first time, as the companies would have you believe.  I ended up loading the book three different times.  The last one just to get the cover into the Kindle file.

This doesn’t even go into the process of getting the book published in paperback.  I’m not a techno geek or a Photoshop pro, so the process of setting the book up to the format they required for printing, especially the cover, was a nightmare for me.  I highly recommend having a professional cover done by a cover artist who is familiar with this process.  It will save you many, many headaches.

So despite all the glitches, the stumbles and completely landing on my face, I got back up and got my book, Centauri Dawn, published.

Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat.  Even if it meant going through the agony I went through with the first book, would I do it again?  YES!!  As a matter of fact I did.  I published my second book, Tame A Wild Heart, one month after I published the first book.  And made some of the same mistakes I make the first time.  The worst part of the paperback printing process I did avoid by using CreateSpac rather than Lightning Source for the print version.

Anyway, I did it.  I published my book.  I made my dream come true.  There are two books that now have my name one them.  I wrote them, they are a part of me, my work, my babies and I’m proud to have my name on them.  Whether I’ll ever make any money with them I can’t say, but I’m going forward with my writing and with my publishing.  It feels good.  It feels right.

Mom was right.  I can do anything I set my mind to.

16 thoughts on “My Self Publishing Journey

  1. Cynthia, very nice blog! I also did a Create Space paper version of my first book. And it sells very nicely in person! LOL But only 1 paperback has sold through Amazon/CS. No worries, though. The ebook sales are slowly climbing. My total sales this month come to 51 so far! That’s twice last month’s numbers.

    But for me, it’s finding readers and having a motivation to actually WRITE again. I had basically let it all slide after 30 years of submitting ms and getting rejections. Nice ones, encouraging ones, but always “not right for our line.”

    • Thanks Regina. So far I’ve sold 3 from CreateSpace and 2 from Lightning Source, both much to my surprise!. I will probably do better hand selling them. Everyone keeps saying that this month is slow and since I don’t sell hundreds of books, I think I’m doing okay. I’ve sold about 50 books this month and that’s twice what last month was, so it’s going in the right direction.
      As to writing, have you thought of doing NaNoWriMo? It is basically a butt in chair hands on keyboard for the month. Doesn’t matter what you write or how good (no editing allowed), it only matters that you write. 50000 words for the month. You can do it.

    • Thank Debra. I would have paid someone to do it if I could have afforded it at the time. Who knows maybe these will sell enough that I’ll be able to afford it with the next one. 🙂

  2. I’m started down that path. Purchased ISBN numbers. Stumbled on the formatting issue (am looking into hiring a professional formatter). Have just hired a professional cover art person. Plunked down a huge amount of money for a professionally designed website, where the books will also be sold, and where I’ll have a forum for discussions with fan(s) — which won’ t be ready for 30 days, so I can’t give the link, LOL! Have no idea how this is going to come out! Now have to consider ways to market and get word out! Just like any other publisher! And it is very expensive. So far I’ve probably paid about $4K, which is way more than potentially the books have the ability to earn back. But you don’t learn if you don’t try. And it’s very freeing. I feel more invested in the writing, because I own how this is going to turn out.

    • Claudia, I couldn’t agree more. I’m doing most everything myself and it’s still costing a lot to get it set up. Of course, the second and all future books will not be so expensive, but this first one…
      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Congratulations, Cynthia. Loved your story of publishing! Yeah, formatting is a nightmare but it does get easier I believe. And you learn from it, too. Your CPs sound wonderful! Best of luck with your next one…and the one after… Deb

    • You’re right Deb, I have the best CP’s ever. I wish that everyone could have CP’s as good as mine. I know that the formatting will get easier. Even though I still made some mistakes with the second book it was very much easier than the first one. Thanks so much for your comments.

  4. Thank you Cynthia for the information on self-publishing. What a great blog. I’m years from publishing as all I ever get done is editing. My CPs are great though and have faith and patience in me. That’s all that counts.

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