5 Ways I'm Making Self-Publishing Easier on Myself

© 2013 Celestine Chua, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

On February 9th, my Young Adult novel Steele Secrets will be released.  I’m absolutely thrilled and beyond terrified at this prospect, which is completely normal.  Right?  RIGHT?!

After spending several months looking for an agent and reading the wise words of Ed Cyzewski, I’ve decided to independently publish my book, and I’m really happy I made this choice. And it’s also a whole TON of work on top of my full-time work as an editor, writing coach, and farmer.

All of my books have been independently published, each for its own reasons, and with each publication, I’ve learned how to be better at this process.  So here are 5 things I’m doing this time that are proving to be especially helpful:

  1. I started early. I set the publication date back in mid-December – and I could have (and probably should have) started earlier.  And I began to finalize the manuscript, think about the pieces of the book, and gather people around it right away.
  2. I recruited a KICK ASS launch team. By directly asking folks, putting out calls on Facebook and Twitter, and contacting my launch team for The Slaves Have Names, I now have ~100 people who are actively working to help me finalize the book pieces and are ready to promote the book as soon as the marketing materials are ready.  This takes a huge weight off me as far as marketing goes, and it makes my chances of having a BIG release day, which is important for rankings on the big online sellers. If you’d like to join the launch team, I’d welcome your help. Just reply to this email to get in on the action. 
  3. I spent some money. When I published The Slaves Have Names, my husband and I did most of the work ourselves – the cover and the formatting primarily. And we made some mistakes and lost a lot of hours in the process.  This time, I have spent money – which I realize is a privilege – to make this happen, and I’m thrilled.  In total, I have spent less than $1,000, and I expect to recoup that fairly quickly in book sales.  
    • First, I bought a template – both for the print book and the e-book – from Joel Friedlander’s Book Design Templates options.  (Thanks for that suggestion, Jane.) Now, instead of getting frustrated beyond imagining by the running heads and chapter starts, I just plug in the text, apply the pre-set styles, and rock and roll.
    • Secondly, I hired a cover designer.  Aaron Bolton did this web design, and he’s a good friend. I knew his artistic sense would create a good cover, and I can’t wait to see his mock-up. (Stay Tuned!!)
    • Third, I hired a proofreader.  I’m fairly confident – after over 15 beta reads and at least 6 passes through the text myself – that the content and grammar are in good shape, but I definitely wanted a professional set of eyes to look at the details.  So I brought in Laurie Jensen of Anne’s River Media to help. 
    • Finally, I hired a video producer to make my book trailer.  Jen Seay helped me clean up the trailer I made for The Slaves Have Names, and just this morning, I got the rough cut of the trailer for Steele Secrets. 
  4. I slowed down. This is the benefit of starting early. I was able to think about things like the look of the cover and the content of the book trailer without pressure. I was also able to give the folks I hired all the time they requested to work, and as someone who is often asked to work under ridiculous time constraints, this was important to me.  Taking my time means the book will be better when it comes out.
  5. I educated myself.  Over time, I have been reading up on the way to produce and market independently published books. This knowledge, combined with my experience, mean I will – if all goes well – have my best book best release yet. The author’s whose wisdom I have taken have helped me produce a plan (which could definitely still be refined) for creating energy around the release, garnering reviews, and selling copies.  Thus, I don’t worry about spending some money because I’m confident I’ll make it back in sales. Here are the books and websites I’ve found especially helpful:

I have lots more to do before this book comes out – give feedback on the book trailer and the cover, review the proofreader’s comments, create some memes for my launch team to share, take out a Facebook ad that helps bring people to my list so that I can sell more copies on launch day, etc.

But right now, I’m feeling pretty good – with an undercurrent of anxiety – and that’s just where I should be a month out from the release of something I care very, very much about.

What about you? What are your thoughts on independent publishing? Have you got any concerns? Any areas of knowledge you’d like to grow? Any great successes to share? 


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