My Self-Publishing Journey #amwriting

Upon learning that I am a self-published author, people often ask me what the process is like when writing and self-publishing a novel. It’s not something I can answer in a few words, other than to say, “It’s much more involved than most people realize.” Especially when you factor in all of the pre-marketing and marketing that is required.


I made of a list of things I did with my book. Not everyone will share the same experience, but I thought I would share mine. The things in red haven’t been totally accomplished yet.

Check off list for self-publishing process:

  1. Ideas formulate
  2. Write book (eight weeks)
  3. Cry when alpha reader says book is a two on scale of one to five
  4. Re-write
  5. Edit and proof
  6. Feel better when Alpha reader says book is four on scale of one to five
  7. Send to Beta readers (nine months)
  8. Get ecstatic when eight readers love book 🙂
  9. Cry some more when two readers report they could not read book 😦
  10. Edit and proof some more
  11. Put book on shelf (eight or nine months)
  12. Take it down and read it again
  13. Send to professional editor for two round of edits and a proofread (six months) Edit, rewrite, edit, proof, read
  14. Jump for joy when Alpha reader says it’s a five on one to five scale and better than any book he’s read in three months.
  15. Polish text and remove cliché’s
  16. Get book cover designed (one month)
  17. Write synopsis, log-line and pitch
  18. Read at Sleuthfest and get excited when agents request manuscripts and partials, decide to trad publish
  19. Query more agents
  20. Cry over rejection letters, seven out of fifty, (three months)
  21. Get copyright
  22. Decide to self-publish
  23. Write front matter; Title page copyright, Dedication
  24. Write back matter; Acknowledgements, Author Bio, Request for reviews, thanks for support, links, promo for other book
  25. Enlist help with Book imprint art
  26. Seek endorsements??? (BTW, well known authors say they can’t read manuscripts for legal reasons…what’s an author to do? Contests??)
  27. Enlist someone to write Foreword???
  28. Get endorsements to book cover designer
  29. Sign on with CreateSpace for POD version, proof final product
  30. Get file formatted for eversion, proof final product, set pre-release, and set release date
  31. Contact publicist when POD proofs are ready (press release, blog tour)
  32. Make list of book bloggers and book promo sites
  33. Pre-release
  34. Start actively marketing and promoting beyond this blog
  35. Publish and go live
  36. What am I leaving out?

#ComedyBookWeek is coming – do you want to participate or help?

Ana Spoke has a great event coming up for humor authors and it doesn’t matter which genre you write. Please give a read and see how you can help.

Ana Spoke, author

Marketing funny is hard. If you are a humor writer, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. If you are a humor consumer – it may come as a surprise.

Before I started trying to market my books, I naively assumed that funny should almost sell itself – after all, the biggest blockbusters are usually comedies, and isn’t it a natural for the word of mouth? When it comes to books, however, humor is a tiny category, dominated by autobiographies of famous comedians. In fact, most ebook marketing sites don’t even have a mailing list for it, so I’ve had to slot Shizzle, In into Action&Adventure or YA with mixed results.

I was reminded once again of how few comedy writers are out there when I joined KBoards and saw the invitations for author cross-promotion. They were all either for fantasy, paranormal, or romance. Or the combination of the three…

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Legends of Windemere: Tribe of the Snow Tiger is Live for Pre-Order! #ASMSG #fantasy #Bookboost

And yet another book in this fabulous fantasy series!

Legends of Windemere

Now Available on Amazon for Pre-Order!
Coming to your Kindle on June 1st!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

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“The snow is too bright and level for me to see…

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Twenty-One Things That Made My Childhood Wonderful

This was inspired by a meme. It made my heart glad to remember.


  1. Time spent shelling peas with my grandmother.

  2. Picking up pecans with my grandfather.

  3. Digging for bait.

  4. Getting paid twenty-five cents a row for pulling weeds.

  5. Watering flowers for hours.

  6. Walking in the woods alone.

  7. Feeding the cats.

  8. Making jelly from blackberries I’d picked.

  9. Building forts with bales of hay in the barn.

  10. Gathering eggs.

  11. Skinny dipping in the pond with my cousins.

  12. Listening to the night sounds.

  13. Mama reading stories at bedtime.

  14. Leaving on my bike at dawn and returning at dusk.

  15. Vacations at the beach.

  16. Churning homemade ice cream.

  17. Jumping in piles of raked leaves, then setting them on fire.

  18. Chopping and stacking wood till my hands were blistered.

  19. Picking, peeling, and drying apples (fanning for flies) for fried apple pies.

  20. Water-skiing with Daddy in the river from sun up till sunset.

  21. Sewing my own clothes.

Funny, after my list was completed I read it and didn’t see one toy on there, except the bike.

I did enjoy playing video games with my own kids. But I hated playing Barbies with my sister. It felt like punishment.

Watching television didn’t do that much for me either.


Learning From The Masters

I’ve been trying to get into some new reading material. It’s all good, but there is a little something missing.

I used to read Anne Rice novels on a regular basis. Something I noticed about most all her books is the way she introduces characters.

She starts by telling a story, a brief story that shows the character in action. We learn about the character, not through what she tells us about them, but how they behave, feel and interact with the world around them.

By the time we get to the crux of the story, we feel as if we know that character. We’ve bonded with them and they’ve found a way to touch our soul.

Take the Witching Hour. Rowan is on a sailboat. She sails her boat by herself. Not something many women will try alone. She likes rugged men, whom she sometimes takes out on her boat, firemen, policemen, construction workers. She likes her sex rough, not necessarily romantic. Odd behavior for a woman who is a neuro-surgeon. Not in favor of the clean-cut, super-intelligent sort of guys she’s around all day in her work.


She likes to be alone, or sometimes with a non-committal partner. On this occasion, she’s alone, and it’s storming, but she sees a man drowning and saves him. She takes him home and nurtures him to health over the course of the next few days. We see her softer side.

We still don’t know she’s a witch. We don’t know she is the legacy holder to a fortune. We don’t know how she works her magic. We don’t know anything at all about her relationships with her family members except that her mother was thorazined into oblivion and sat on the front porch for years because of the way “mental Illness” was treated back in the day.

As the story unfolds, we see her power unveiled in the many ways she deals with situations that arise. We learn the family’s history in bits and pieces. We’re led into the dynamics of this secretive and elusive world in which she lives.

That’s good storytelling.

Often, with contemporary reads, in an effort to get straight to the story, which we’re advised to do, we don’t get enough back story to carry the characters along. But giving the back story can’t be done as a list of the person’s history notes. I’m guilty of this myself. Even though I drop in bits of it, the bits are not as cohesive as they could be.

This is how I like to learn from reading. It’s not the sort of thing you can learn in a writing craft “how to” book.

It’s the sort of thing you learn by reading really well-written work.

This is why it’s important to read.

What are you reading and how is it helping you?

Have you ever read anything and thought, “Wow. That’s what I need to learn to do!”

Tribe of the Snow Tiger Update

Get started on this fantasy series now.

Legends of Windemere

The Newsman from The Muppet Show The Newsman from The Muppet Show

So, I’ve been dancing around this little tidbit and wondering when I should mention what’s going on.  After all, it’s been a while since I released a Legends of Windemere book and I keep doing my ‘hope to release’ statement.  At this point, I’m just going to say it’ll be released when it does and hope anyone who volunteers to help with the promo is still willing to.  Feel free to volunteer, drop out, or whatever it is you need to do in the comments.

Now for the big news:

I was going to mention this during a cover reveal, but I don’t think it can wait.  Legends of Windemere: Tribe of the Snow Tiger (Book 10 of the series) will be the last cover from Jason.  His schedule is too busy with his tattoo job, which is his main job.  We tried to…

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Author Interviews @sknicholls1 #authors #writers #writers life

I got to sit in the red chair today on Lucy’s blog. A fun place to be. She has a great blog with lot’s of funny stuff.


Author Interviews

Welcome to my weekly series – Author Interviews.

This is where I interview authors to find out about the person behind the novel. It also gives me a chance to glean some valuable insight on being a writer.

I am very excited because today I have been joined by author and blogger Susan Nicholls (a.k.a S.K. Nicholls).

Hey Susan, welcome to my red chair. Tell me about yourself and the book / books you have written?

Transplanted from Georgia to Florida, my books are colored with regional elements. My first self-published book, Red Clay and Roses is a Romanàclef , factual with a façade of fiction, historically a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.

The technique was used in magazines and newspapers to tell scandalous stories without revealing who was involved. My story deals with a group of characters grappling with inequality in the Deep…

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Query Blues


Was hoping that being super selective about agents to query based on their preferences I might have heard some good news by now. But, nay, six rejections with periodic episodes of cricket chirping.

I had one agent that seemed excited and enthusiastic about the book and that was, of course, instantly infectious. Upon further examination, I saw that she was brand new and had never sold a book. We had a phone chat and many of my questions were answered much more vaguely than I expected. So that’s a pass for me. It would be nice to find an experienced agent with her enthusiasm, though.

I’m about halfway through the alphabet on a large directory that shows AAR member standing. I’ve picked a few who aren’t AAR based on what they enjoy and represent. It’s a daunting task.

This one wants a query and ten pages…that one five pages, this one two chapters, that one fifty pages, this one twenty five pages, that one just a query. Some want attachments, others want ms samples in the body of the email. Others require going directly through their onsite contact app. My desktop in so cluttered I can hardly find a thing. I have a spread sheet going, but it’s a lot to keep up with and stay confident.

I’m not going to deny that I am discouraged. I still have not heard back from my favorite agent that I met at Slethfest two months ago, who asked for the whole ms. I’ve pitched on twitter #PitMad sessions, face-to-face, by email. My rejections that are personalized almost always say the same things, but in different words. They loved the pitch, the premise, the query letter, but did not see in the ms what they were expecting or didn’t feel enthusiastic enough about it to take it on. They all have told me the writing is good. So I’m not quite sure what I need to do differently, if anything.

Everybody who has read it loves the first chapter, we don’t get back to Brandi until chapter five. They are brief chapters and things move quickly, but being the star of the show, it might have been a mistake to have readers wait so long. It was necessary to introduce the P.I. and move the plot forward until that point when she reappears on the scene…but eh…I dunno.

My honey, the RS who reads three crime novels a week, says it’s better than anything he’s read in the past three months. His last comp book was Coconut Cowboy by Dorsey in January, so that’s encouraging. But that’s what he’s there for, support and encouragement, right?

I’m beginning to feel that I should self-publish and with the help of my publicist, Maryglenn McCombs, set up the launch and just go for it. That would give me a marketing boost, and allow me more time to write. I’ve fleshed-out the next book’s outline, but haven’t felt motivated to write and that’s not good.

I thought after our week-long vacation I would come back inspired and ready to get to work, but coming home to rejections, especially the quickie generic form ones, sort of dampened my spirits. And there has been a lot going on with the grandbaby’s party and the daughter has left town to go visit her dying grandmother, so I have the grandkids for three days. Not gonna be much happening in the way of writing around here for a few.

For those who have queried…any advice?

How are you doing with your writing projects?

Anything new on the horizon?