My Self Publishing Journey

First of all, let me just say that this was a huge and terrifying undertaking for me. I didn’t have the financial resources to take advantage of most publishing packages, so I had a lot of trial and error and mistakes. Writing was actually the easy part. That and cooing over Sunny, the toasted marshmallow fluff squish of a cat.

This is the third time I started to write this book. I don’t know what was different now, but it just came out so much more easily than when I tried before. I definitely had an amazing support team– my best friend Brenda (who Jessie is modeled after), my housemate Alicia who made me do silly things like “eating” and “sleeping”, my friends Dave and Erin who doubled as my proofreaders and ARC readers, and my bosses and coworkers at my pub who encouraged me to stick with it and helped spread the word when it was finished.

This is the first in a blog post series about self publishing to try to help other new authors circumnavigate the publishing world and hopefully avoid the same mistakes I made. The first thing I want to say is DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Never– and I mean never— commit to anything financially without doing background research. Publishing is a lot more expensive than most people think, and you can run yourself into the ground very quickly unless you’re in a position to burn through a lot of cash. One of the best resources I found is the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Best Self Publishing Services (and the worst). Another great resource is this self-publishing checklist from Jane Friedman.

She also has a great post about query letters if you decide you want to go the traditional publishing route. I tried. It was astounding to me that I could turn out an 83,000 word novel in seven months and then spectacularly choke on a three paragraph query letter. A five year old would have written a better one.

I’ll go into the steps I took and resources I found in this series, but the most important thing I can say is don’t rush it. We all want to get our work out there, but if you want people to enjoy your work and take you seriously as an author, invest in a proofreader, editor, and advanced readers. Trust me when I say it’s invaluable! You can pay for those services, or you can find them among people you know.