Advice to the Self-publishing Writer


Just gave a presentation to the Moore Public Library Writer's Group and signed a copy of "The Habitant" for Michael Hallows, group organizer and aspiring author. I've listed below some of the advice I gave the group. The big takeaway is plan your marketing strategy before you launch.

  • The copy editor I hired is Jackie Kelley. Her contact information is: jmkelleyok@gmail.com

  • I did not hire a content editor, because it was more than I wanted to pay at the time. I might do that differently if I had it to do over. That is still to be determined, and it will be based on reviews that I receive in the first year. My book had about eight readers whose opinions I value (friends and family members who will be forthright)

  • My cover designer is Dianne Bianchi. diannebianchi@yahoo.com. She also helped me with book formatting, typeface, etc. You need someone with an editor’s eye to review the formatting and tell you what needs to be fixed. Dianne did this for me, as she is a former magazine editor and knows how to look at a book and tell you what is not appealing.

  • Jan Tindale is the cover artist. jtindale@cableone.net

  • The self-publishing marketing expert who has helped me with online marketing on Instagram, Facebook and other venues is Shayla Eaton. Her business website is curiouserediting.com. She also does content editing and provides other self-publishing services for independent authors. She is from Yukon, Oklahoma. She is reliable and has valuable advice to give.

  • Createspace.com is the Amazon website in which you can upload a file and publish it at no cost. You only pay for copies you order. Amazon lists your book on their site and tracks orders and pays out royalties, should your book sell. This site will automatically format your book for ebook release as a kindle title, if you select that option. Read about the formatting issues before you get into Createspace and consider using Scrivener, which is a writer’s software that is supposed to be very good. I used Word and didn’t read enough when I started and therefore ended up loading my book about thirty-five times. This is not unusual, even when you are prepared, according to my magazine editor friend.

  • Createspace and Kindle Self-Publishing Masterclass by Rick Smith is the guidebook I used to get started with Createspace. This book has good information about pricing your book and gets you going. Get this before you start your project.

  • Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc. or OWFI sponsors the writers' conference in Oklahoma City where you can meet book agents, other authors and hear presentations on writing techniques and self-publishing. There are lots of copy editors, editors, etc. who you can make contact with at that conference. My book was considered by an agent I met at OWFI, but was rejected. I did get valuable feedback from her. OWFI.org

  • Persist. When you get frustrated because your book loads badly or you just don’t get it. Quit for the day and start again the next morning. Never give up, never give in.

  • Once you get the book published, your real work begins. As a self-published writer, you must become an adept book salesperson. If you don’t see yourself enjoying that aspect of the journey, then publish what you have to say and don’t worry about it. If you want people to read it, you are going to need to do that kind of work or be prepared to hire a publishing assistant/editor.

  • Costs: $420 copy editing, $295 ISBN (not required), $450 cover design and other artwork, $400 website assistance, $150 copyright releases, $275 marketing consultation, $250 book orders for book signings, giveaways, $35 space on Fussy Librarian, $475 conference booth, travel to talk to groups, etc.,

  • Join writers’ social media groups and be kind to fellow self-publishers. Review their books and provide feedback when you have something useful to say. You need them to review your book, like your Website and follow you on Instagram, etc. You need to accumulate reviews on Amazon to initiate some of their algorithms for sales promotion.

  • Sales promotion takes time away from writing.

  • I'll share more in my next post.


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