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 πŸ™‚
  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?

58 thoughts on “My Self-Publishing Journey #amwriting

  1. How do you get the book cover designed? I’m curious to know how that works. And my goodness, this seems like a lot of work! I have a cousin-in-law who self-publishes books for people. If I have to go that route, I’ll just enlist her. If you want a short-cut, I could give you her info, though it sounds like you know what you’re doing. Thank you for laying this all out like this. Very informative, and frankly scary! πŸ™‚ Also, sounds like your alpha reader is one tough critic!

    • He is a tough critic and reads two or three crime novels a week. He’s super supportive though. I had this book cover done with 99Designs. It was a challenge to get them to present a crime novel cover that was not hard core, but we got her done. My blogger audience assisted with selecting the cover in a contest through 99Designs.

      Don’t let it scare you. I included the tears to let you know it’s not all an easy peasy bed of roses. There are tough moments to get through and lots of work effort required.

      When I published my first book I didn’t have a clue how to prepare a book and launch it. I just found a formatter and tossed it into the wind. That resulted in pulling it down for a couple of edits and getting off to a rocky start, but I have learned so much from other authors who have been there and I’m doing things a bit differently this time.

  2. LOL! I like Sue Vincent’s thought πŸ™‚

    It’s a long way getting there but each item you cross off your list brings you one step closer to a finished project. I am curious why you wouldn’t write the foreword yourself, or did I misunderstand that item???

    • I did a foreword for another author’s book…at least I think it was called a foreword. I basically introduced him and told about his work and how my husband and I found him. I guess I could write an informal from me to you sort of thing.

      • Either way is fine, I guess. I’ve only done one forward (in my latest) and it was because I wanted to share certain information about the book and research that went into it.

        • As a new author in the genre, I’d just want to introduce myself to readers (or have some else do it). I think the personal approach would be best. Just a brief word…don’t want to take up too much room in the Look Inside.

  3. This goes into the “publishing too” folder on my desktop. I am amazed at your stamina + willingness to share your journey here, even some whine. Oops, I meant wine!

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Forward in fiction, only non-fiction. Interesting idea. You forgot something on your list. Rejoice at each milestone. You’re one more step closer to your goal. Writing a book is hard work, as you know. Don’t forget to have fun with it.

    • I should have included the laughs along with the tears…there were plenty of those too.

      The Foreword was done in my friends’s book to promote his fiction work. But I’m also reading about an author written Introduction to simply engage the reader on a personal level. Not sure which I’ll use. Either way, it will be very brief.

        • I’m hearing that from several self-published folk. It seems trad publishing takes off after the first of the year and most books go to print before March. To the best of my knowledge, I can get everything set up in advance, and simply not go public until I choose to. I see a lot of advantages to waiting, but it’s tough to keep folk interested. I feel kinda bad, sort of like I’m yanking my audience around. So many folk were on the blog and engaged looking forward to the publish of the book, then I kept changing course…many have disappeared. *sigh* There’s just been so much going on in my personal life that I don’t share on the blog….well a little bit about my dad and the ensuing fall-out after his death, but not much. My daughter took my granddaughter up to to GA for a visit with her Oma who was dying and I kept the other two kids. She returned, then her Oma died and she went back for the funeral and while there my baby granddaughter was mauled in the face by my son’s pit bull. Not bad dog, not poor parenting, not irresponsible owner, just one of those things that happen when animals and people share space. Anyways…just a lot of…well, stuff.

          • I don’t believe there is any right answer, but I can host a post when you’re ready too. Life happens that’s for sure. Some of us share a little more than others. There is no right answer here either, other than to participate in life.

            • Exactly. Set-backs are all part of the process.It will be a while before I’m ready for more active promotions, but it’s good to know some of my best friends will be here when the time comes. I appreciate the offer.

              • Anytime. I try to support my friends, and those who’ve been so helpful to me. I’m even trying to reach out via the radio shows. We can accomplish a lot more together than on our own.

                • Agreed. I get some many emails a day. I’m in the process of cleaning them out. Too many are coming from people that aren’t reciprocal and I can’t read all this many every day and then never see them drop by. I hate to cut ties, as I don go in my reader that often, but there are limits to how many emails I can read in a day and dozens of these folk never drop by to even say hello (or leave a “like” once in a blue moon. I need to start looking at the commentators on other folks blogs and making new connections to build up my audience. I would like to join RR but fear I’m not going to meet reading commitments. I’d be great at promoting in other ways, but my reading plate is full and I don’t get to read every day.

                  • I have a devil of a time getting my reading done. I have so much going on, and I take on special reading projects too. I’ve never had an issue meeting the requirements though. There is some short fiction there too if you get into a bind. I think they’ve been super helpful. I only use my reader for faster browsing. I had to make a list called must reads. The ones who interact go in there, and on some days that’s all I have time for.

  5. Lots of great advice. You always seem so well-organized. I’m glad you included the tears and joys–and it’s good to know you’re stocked with wine–and whatever. πŸ˜‰

    • Many people say no. Once you write it it’s copyrighted, but that doesn’t hold up in court if someone steals your work and claims it as their own or plagiarizes your story. I figure thirty-five dollars…what the hay…I’m good for it.

        • You are Canadian right? I don’t know a thing about Canadian law or if you need a USA copyright if you sell here.The Library of Congress has an online site. It’s government, so a bit difficult to navigate.

          • Canadian, yes. I have 10 ISBNs to my name already – they’re free here. I’ll look on their site to see what they suggest. Once I assign my ISBN, I have to send the manuscript to the Archives. I think that’s the equivalent to your LoC.

  6. An impressive list. You’ve gone through most of it really fast.

    It’s a long, hard road. When I think of all the work I have yet to do on my second novel, I feel very, very tired.

    • Yeppers. I have a few sitting around in various stages. I does feel good to get this far with one. I’ve been aggravated for a few days trying to get the formatting done. I’d rather hire it out, but people have gotten ridiculous with what they want to charge to design the interior. Others claim they will format your file cheap, but all they really do is convert your manuscript to .mobi, which my Scrivener can do. I’m getting more and more frustrated every day.

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