Friday, May 8, 2015

Tips For Self-Publishing

My mantra lately - Let there be light at the end of the tunnel. 

I am nearing the end of another book. Part of me is excited and part in awe. I've actually written 3 books! Although there is the part that is a little apprehensive, but that's normal. You worry if your readers will like it.

There is so much to self-publishing. If you haven't done it, you have no idea. But the outcome is so worth it. 

I've come to the conclusion that you have to write it for yourself first, but when it comes to creative writing skills, you need to be always working on your craft for your readers. After all, isn't that why you go to all the classes, conferences, workshops and the like? It's for your readers.

Last blog I left you with my mantra list for launching my books. But in between there is the list of things you have to do to put out a professional book. These are things you must accomplish, some before you publish, some can wait a little bit, but they must be done. 

I've talked about wearing two hats in the past, this is the business/detail stuff to accomplish.

1. Your cover - Deciding on a cover can be just as important as the inside. I've been told a buyer usually decides on a book by first liking the cover, second, reading the blurb on the back, and third, reading a few paragraphs of chapter 1. Now you know why you go over your first chapter so many times.

There are a few options when it comes to a cover. You might want to try your hand on designing one yourself. I don't recommend this since most covers I've seen where the author chimes "I did my own covers" I want to say to them, "I can tell". They usually aren't very good.

Option two, hire a graphic designer. Now I have seen some nice covers that are graphic design, but usually they aren't books like mine. Fantasy fiction, I mean. Graphic design is fine for Romance or Women's lit, but not for my genre. You should go to Amazon and look up books in your genre and scan the different covers. Hopefully you find great covers and the decision is easy for you. Either way, you still have to pay for the art. I spoke to a guy next to me at the Starfest conference who thought I was crazy to pay 300.00 for a cover. He said he has never paid more than 50.00. I looked at his covers, and let's just say, I shook my head.

Option three, hire an artist. This has been the best outcome for me. I tried the graphic art, but it just didn't pop for me like a painting. Mike did a great job on my first two covers, but he doesn't want to do book covers anymore, so I hired another artist. Karla Horst is also a great artist and I can't wait to see the new cover for Lore. For me, the paintings give the covers a more three dimension feel. but either way, it still costs money.

2. An editor - This is really a no brainer. If you think your writing is so awesome that you don't need an editor, then you've got another thing coming. Even with editors there will still be some mistakes in your books, just not as many. This is a must do and, if you claim you can't afford it, well, you need to save for this. Your reviews and sales will eventually pay for this. If you are having a hard time finding an editor, or even one that's affordable, try LinkedIn. That's where I found Susan. Or let me know, and I'll refer you to her.

3. Print on Demand - There are three options to this as well. You can look around in your area for a printer, but that's going to cost you a lot of money.

Two, you can go to CreateSpace, which is a great site, and download your book for free. They even give you your ISBN number. You pay as a book is printed but it's pretty reasonable. I pay about 6.00 per Fable print and 3.50 for Fated. It is based on the size of your book. If you order a large shipment for say your launch party or book signings, you still only pay for the cost to print plus shipping. They are the usual printer for Amazon. If you don't want to use Amazon for some reason, then you must purchase ISBN numbers for your books. 

Three, you can go to LightningSource. This site is more expensive. Usually a better site for non-fiction books. 

There are others, but I feel those two are the most used for On Demand.

4. Digital Copies - Yes, this is your E-book. I know that Amazon can help in this. I haven't tried it myself at this point. It took Toni, my sister, a month to figure out how to do this. It's not an easy task, so I will probably illicit help. Last time we hired a girl, but she was close to giving birth and had a hard time doing this herself. I do have some friends that are good with computers and I hope they don't mind me picking on them. Otherwise, it's hiring someone to do this for you.

5. Copyrights - There are those who will tell you once you write your book, it's copyrighted. Technically that's true, but I ran into an issue with Fable where someone claimed I stole their work. I had to go see a lawyer and he said to sign the book up with the Library of Congress. He had ran into issues where thieves had literally stolen authors' books from the book sites and put their names on them and sold them. Through Amazon, all he had to do is present the copyright listed with the LOC and Amazon pulled the stolen books. It's only 35.00 and well worth the money spent.

Next week I will touch on the business side of selling books. Yes, there's more to it. Until then I hope you have a great week and if you want to share any insight on this subject you have, then by all means, leave me a comment below. I'm always up for new ideas and information. 

Have a dry weekend everyone!

Love, Lisa


  1. Oh, and I am an editor, too, if anyone needs one. ;) Find me at Wording Well.

    1. Good to know Lorraine! It's nice for people to have choices!

  2. It seems that my first comment didn't go through. Hmm. I mentioned that it was a great move to list your books with the LOC. :)
    So much time and energy can be saved if you ever run into a problem with thieves!

    1. Absolutely! It has helped me and is well worth the trouble, not that there's much to it, and worth the 35.00. could save an author thousands!