Lessons Learned For A Self-Publishing Newbie

Cocktail partyI can’t believe that my first year of venturing into the self-publishing world is winding down to a close. It started with a short story and now I’m writing a three novel series?

How did that happen?  An overactive imagination, fueled by coffee and Dr. Pepper, was unleashed that’s how.

But I do have to calm down and stop charging ahead on my caffeine high because I’ve most likely missed a lot of things that could have helped me along the way. Somehow I did manage to learn a few things and hopefully they can help another newbie.

1. Beta Reader – I had no idea what a beta reader was and why one was important. The comments and questions I received from my beta readers on my short story, Cheers, was fantastic. I can’t believe I never asked anyone to help me before. They saw those things that take you out of the story not so much grammar and typos but those nagging little things that make you go “what?” as a reader.

2. Professional Editing – Well worth price! Someone to take a hard look at style, word choice, pacing and of course grammar and typos. Not an easy process to go through. I got the edits back and thought – Jeez, I can’t write! Then I calmed down and got to work on a cleaner piece.

Amber Meets Her Cowboy33. Cover Art – I got to tell you, I like pretty covers. I glance through covers before I read the description. And I’m jumping on my soapbox for a moment – As an author of I/R romance there aren’t a lot of stock photos for us to choose from, however in the hands of the right designer magic can still happen. I tip my hat to Tatiana Vila for her cover of In the Moment Cover. I’ve seen this couple in this pose a lot, but Tatiana makes you think about it a minute before you say – I’ve seen this before. (Off the soapbox.)

4. Publishing Platforms – I recently signed up as my own publisher with All Romance. With this platform, I’ll need to convert my own work and upload. After a little searching, I found AVS4YOU. This subscription program allows you to convert word docs to epub, mobi and pdf docs. Yay! And the price isn’t bad for the year. (So I better get writing.)

5. Patience – I’m learning to be patient. I can’t finish a story, review once or twice and send it out to someone to read. (It’s the caffeine.) So I’m learning to finish and put away. Right now, I can put the story away for a week and read it again to begin what I call the beta prep process. It takes longer for me to see the work out on Smashwords or some other platform (a few days has become a few months) but it’s worth it in the end because I think I’m growing as a writer.

A few sites I’ve discovered along the way:

Happy Writing and Discovering!

5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned For A Self-Publishing Newbie

  1. Congrats on your first year! Mine doesn’t swing around until Feb. I had a backlog of titles in my reserves. 2 previously pubbed. Two as free shorts. And two just sitting on the hardrive. So most of the hardwork was completed and I have to say it made self-pubbing easier. But I agree on all points here. I’d only add find a yahoo loop, group or forum where other self-pub authors are. I went in with my eyes wide open and still have support for questions. I’d recommend it if you don’t have one.

  2. Yay! Congrats on your first year. I love the cover of In The Moment, she did a fabulous job. If it’s hard to find a good stock photo anyway, I can’t imagine how hard it is for IR. I guess you really need to watch the same photographers and hope they follow a trend. I don’t write IR and it’s still hard to find a good stock photo, especially when they’ve all been used 100 times already. The couple on the cover of Dangerous Embrace are actually IR, but you can’t tell by the design. 🙂

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