After self-publishing my first book, I am finding myself reflect on the things that I brought to the table myself and what I needed help with. Self-publishing was only true for me in the categorical sense. I am lucky to have family and friends who were willing to help me, free of charge, at every step of the process. For the authors who want to take this leap, here is a top secret list of a self-publishing author’s 5 best friends.
5. Content: As a writer without a book deal, you may have a lifetime’s worth of content to choose from, I did. If this is the case, pick the pieces of your work that you’d like to publish and proceed to #4. If you don’t have a pile of old prose to choose from, start writing. Put yourself on a deadline. Force yourself to finish a chapter/story/poem every week.
4. Editor: They seem to have an uncanny ability that writers do not. Mine can read 8 point font, printed 4 pages per sheet of paper, and tell me if I’ve double spaced something. You need to find someone who teaches english or was an editor for their highs school/college newspaper. Working with an editor can be very humbling. Keep an open mind though. Pay attention to the things they tell you about the content. This is what I struggled with most. If they tell you that a chapter/poem doesn’t quite fit, work on that section. These editors also represent an important piece of your target audience. They are not doing you the favor because they like to hurt feelings.
3. Computer Expert: Most of the writers in my circle write only on computers. From the brainstorming, to the rough draft, to the final submission process… their pens will never touch paper. If you do not use a computer to “write,” you will need to transfer your content to a digital format. Beyond that you will eventually need help with formatting the document (multiple times), designing a cover, uploading, and marketing online. If you are do not understand the ins & outs of a word processing program, adobe, ebay, facebook, twitter, etc., find someone you know that does.
2. Artist: If you are an artist, this one is easy. If not, find one that will work with you. Most of us know someone who will trade a piece for a mention of them in your book. Let them draw/paint your cover for you. Your computer expert can turn that piece of artistic beauty into a document with your name, title, isbn, and back page info.
1. Patience: The two things you need to have finished before you Self-Publish are the content and the cover. Without them you do not have a book. Expect the content to go back and forth between you and the editor 10-20 times. Expect the formatting to make you want to pull your hair out, on a daily basis. Expect that the process to be time consuming and frustrating. Expect that the finished product will be worth the time and effort that you put into it.
Self-Publishing is a rewarding process. In the end you will be a publisher as well as an author. If you are starting or in the middle of a project and have ANY questions, let me know. I also have contacts for editors, artists, and computer experts if you don’t have them runningin your circle.
Thanks for Reading. Good Luck,