This is something I Wrote and/or put together a while back… I think I may have even posted it, or parts of it as well
I hope it’s helpful
Self Publishing… At Least The Way I Do It
by James Mahoney (DarkJade)
When thinking on it, aside from the ideal possibility of actually making a living as a writer someday, I’d have to say the major reason that I started to pursue Self-Publishing, is because I want to get my stories out there to as many people/readers as possible, and don’t want to sit around waiting for a publisher to make that decision for me.
Self-Publishing Your First Book;
I have so many books that I want to write, but to some, the idea of Self-Publishing their ‘first’ book alone, is intimidating enough… And I get that… After all, our books are printed pieces of our souls… Right? Or at least, our ‘creative’ souls.
The fact is that EBooks are now a huge part of the writer/reader/publisher landscape if you will.
In fact so much so, that some people publish books straight to Ebook/Digital Format, and may actually skip ‘printed copies’ all together.
Though, for me, this is not the case… I, like many others, still love the idea of a physical copy of a book being in their hands… During a rainy day… With a cup of hot cocoa, and a warm reading light nearby… Or something like that, Lol
But, being business minded as well, it would be foolish to deny the validity of also making your book available on this format as well… And I’m not saying you’re a fool if you don’t, I’m just saying, well, you know what I mean.
Enough of all that, here’s a list of my process for Self-Publishing… Keep in mind, this is only the way that I go about it, I know that there are many other ways, and printing companies etc. that are also available. That said… The list.
My Personal Self-Publishing List;
1) Choose Your Printer – First of all, I explored LuLu.Com (Which I believe a lot of writers use), and because I’m not the most patient of one’s, I found the process wasn’t quite quick enough for me. That said they may have improved it/made it easier, or perhaps you’re just more patient than I. Not bagging on them at all, truth be known, I don’t know much about them, but judging by the pictures of their printed work, they look pretty good.
I also Tried a Printer called Kablam, but after some slow shipping issues, I decided to move on… At least as far as printing books… However, I am still using them to print my 8 page partial comic book, “White Jade“.
Mainly because their Product is very good (I love the way these comic cooks came out), and also because the other company I pursued to print my comics, simply didn’t get back to me.
In the end, for all my book printing needs (Poetry, Novellas, Novels Etc.), I ended up trying, and going with a company called CreateSpace.Com.
There are several reasons for this…
A) Their process is pretty straight forward – Once you choose the size you want the book to be (Height and width that is), you then choose if you want to use their ‘cover builder’ (Which I’m not too familiar with), or if you want to ‘supply your own’, you just need to upload a PDF file which Includes both the ‘front’, and ‘back’ cover on ‘one document’… Not two different documents. (Sample up above)
Now I will admit, the absolute most time consuming element, for me at least, was sizing the document correctly. Maybe it won’t be for you. Why it ends up taking time is, every time you upload a new edited copy of your cover, you have to ‘submit’ it, and then wait a hand full of hours for them to ‘approve’ It… And then once they approve it, you have to take a look at it and make sure it looks ok. When they ‘approve’ it, they’re not saying ‘It’s lined up’ correctly… That part of it is up to you to determine by just looking at it.
My very first book that I Self-Published, “Winter, Lust, And Wonder”, was my hardest to get right. Now this picture up above is only the front cover (As I don’t have a JPEG of the front and back combined), but trying to get that title Centered was hell, Lol…
Keep in mind though, this cover was meant to be very simple… So simple in fact, that I basically used a Word Document, which I then turned into a PDF file. So, no fancy graphics software for me, Lol
My next book, “I Died Once”, was much quicker.
But, like I say, the rest of the process is fairly straight forward, so try to be patient with the setting up of the cover documents. Because honestly, the rest of the Self-Publishing process is pretty much a cake walk.
B) Their royalties system seems pretty fair *See Part D for a bit more Info.
C) Their customer service is phenomenal… I repeat, their customer service is phenomenal, Lol – If you need to talk to someone, you literally go to the site, and click a button that asks them to ‘Call You Right Now’ (You just need to get to the page where this option is), and Whamo an actual human being calls you… You may hear some hold music for a bit, but for me at least, that hardly lasts long before someone gets on the line.
D) For every book you Self-Publish, you get Your Own Webpage specifically for that book, where people can purchase your book…
But at the same time, you automatically get an Amazon.Com Page for that same book
What are the ‘differences’ between these two pages? And/or, why have two different places to buy your book?
Well it really seems to come down to ‘royalties’… On the custom webpage they assign you, ‘you make more royalties’ on purchases… Compared to the Amazon Page, where purchases pay you less royalties.
Why would you ever suggest someone buying from the Amazon Page? Well, as far as I can figure, having your book on Amazon mostly just gives you ‘more visibility’ out there in the great big book selling market.
And, in some cases, people feel more comfortable buying from Amazon, than they do from some Webpage leading to the book.
Don’t let this bug you… Let them buy from where they want… At least in my opinion. I suspect people just feel safer buying from Amazon…
Ok, back to my list
2) Write Your Book – This seems obvious… Well… Because it is obvious, Lol
3) Edit Your Book – Many people edit their own books… Whether it’s because they’re trying to ‘save money’, or maybe they just don’t want anyone else messing with their words. For me this isn’t an option, as frankly, My English skills just aren’t good enough to edit my own book.
That being the case you need to ‘find someone you know’ that might be willing to edit your book, or ‘hire’ someone.
In my case, I asked my eldest sister if she’d edit my poetry book… It was only 3,500 words-ish, and she was not only good at English, but also had written poetry herself when she was younger. This worked out brilliantly.
For my second book (Which was a Novella), though it was only 6,500-ish words, I still felt that I should ‘hire’ an Editor, even if that Editor I hired ended up being the same sister that edited my poetry book. I’m not big on asking people over and over again to do me favors… I believe in a back and forth kind of thing, even though she is family.
As it turned out she wasn’t going to have time to edit my Novella, and so I started to research Editors.
In my research I determined that Editors are generally paid anywhere from $20 and up per hour. Now keep in mind, I didn’t do an extensive amount of research into this… This is only what I found.
As I was low on funds, I decided to do a Kickstarter Project to try to generate a budget to pay my Editor.
The budget that I had in mind was about $200, and would be a flat fee, so I was hoping that 10 hours (at $20 an hour) would be long enough for us to edit my Novella… And in the end, that was about right. (For me that is, it will be different for everyone)
Keep in mind, you don’t have to do a Kickstarter Project like me in order to hire an Editor… It’s just what I decided to do being I was broke at the time, and my nephew who is a professional Ballet Dancer had, had some success using Kickstarter to fund a dance project he was doing.
For me doing a Kickstarter Project worked the first time, but 5 months later it didn’t go as well for “Chess With Agatha”, my first fantasy novel.
4) Design Your Cover – Up above is the cover I designed with the help of my good friend Kirsty, who is a Professional Photographer, for my up and coming Fantasy Novel, “Chess With Agatha”.
Originally I was going to hire an artist to draw a specific cover design (Which included characters from the book in it), but after my friend and I banged our heads together a bit, we came up with this… Which is basically a picture of an enchanted forest that is in part of the story.
I will say this about designing your book cover… One of the things the book store manager where I have my Poetry Book, and Novella, said is that my “I Died Once” cover was much better than most of the Self-Published Books she had seen.
That in mind, do yourself a favor and pour some of your ‘coveted blood, sweat and tears’ into your cover, not just your writing.
Maybe for me this came naturally, as prior to pursuing writing, I pursued Film Making… And really favor myself more of a ‘Visual Artist’…
To me, my cover is an extremely important thing… And I would suggest you make it an important thing for yourself, and your projects as well…
Remember, your writings are your babies so to speak… And thus, treat them as so… In my opinion that is.
5) Format Your Book Pages And Cover – Once your book is edited, and your cover is finished, format your book pages to fit the size of the book that you choose with CreateSpace (Or with whoever you choose to use as your printer). Also, format your cover. After they’re formatted correctly, create PDF copies of both the inside pages of your book, and your cover. Once you’re done with that, upload them onto your printer’s site (Be it CreateSpace, or another company).
Keep in mind, at least with CreateSpace, you can start to enter info. about your book onto the site, long before you have the inside pages, and cover documents finished… Just to get a jump on the game.
Wola, that’s basically how I Self-Publish my books…
Beyond that is making your book available as an Ebook, and marketing your book, which are a ‘whole other ball of wax’.
Thanks for Reading/Listening
I Hope some of this is Helpful for all you Writers, and/or Photographers Etc., who might like to Self Publish a Book at some Point.
I Shall Leave you with these Words.
There is ‘Nothing’ Like Holding a Copy of a Book that you’ve Written in your own hands…
There is ‘Nothing’ Like Selling your First Book
There is ‘Nothing’ Like Having, and/or Seeing, a copy of your own Book in a Bookstore
For me, I didn’t want to wait around for a Publisher to get back to me about Publishing My Books… When I Wrote Screenplays back in 2003-2005, I sent out many Query Letters just trying to get an Agent to Read one of My Screenplays, so that I had Representation… And then they could Submit My Screenplays to Potential Clients… Though I only sent a hand full of Query Letters out, I had no response.
And then I sat Screenplay Writing down for 4 1/2 years.
I don’t want this to be the case with me in regards to Writing Books… And so Self Publishing is a way that I’m trying to Take Control of My Own Destiny.
There’s nothing that says I will ever be Truly Financially Successful in regards to being a Writer… But at least I know I’m getting My Stories, and Writing out there… I’ll let the Public Decide that aspect of My Writing.
And, at any point, I can Submit My Self Published Books to an Actual Publisher if I want… But I haven’t decided to do that yet, and I’m not sure I ever will… Time will tell.