Tag Archives: Self-Publishing

Steps to Self-Publishing

Deciding to self-publish your work can seem like a daunting task. In reality it isn’t hard as long as you take it step-by-step and find the correct people to help you along the way.

Use the steps below to guide you through the self-publishing process:

  1. Finish writing your manuscript.
    Duh, right?  Quite a few authors try to start the process without having their manuscript completed. By completed I mean, your manuscript should already be edited by yourself and at least read through by someone else and all rewrites are done. It needs to be as done as you can make it yourself.
  2. Hire an editor.grammar-389907
    Find an editor that fits you. You want an  editor that listens to what you need. This editor will be looking at your manuscript and giving you feedback. Editors tell you what needs to be rewritten,  taken out, and in general cleans up your manuscript so it reads cohesively without losing the original voice.
  3. Make all the necessary changes to your manuscript based on the editor’s feedback.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
    Hire a proofreader. A fresh pair of eyes find a lot more mistakes than the pair that has looked at the same words for over a year or so. Over time our minds fill in the gaps because it knows what we meant to say.
  5. Hire a formatter.hand-set-705674
    The same person can sometimes format for print and eBooks. The person you hire will need to know where you intend to sell your books so they can format your manuscript to specific specs. This conversation should also include how many ISBN’s you will need and where to acquire them. The print formatter will need to know what size you would like your book to be. For an explanation of ISBN’s click on the links below.
  6. Hire a graphic designer.
    If you are self-publishing in print and online you will need two covers. One for your print book and one for online. Both require different formatting. Once again the graphic designer will need to know where you are intending to sell your books so they can apply the correct specs to your covers. The graphic designer will also need to know the size of your book and how many pages your print book is when the print formatter is done formatting so they can design your cover correctly. General cover formatting for print and eBooks is linked below.
  7. Send or upload files to be printed.
    Send your formatted manuscript and cover file to the printer or upload them to a POD site.
  8. Upload your eBook files.
    Create the necessary accounts and upload your formatted eBook manuscript and cover file to an eBook distributor.
  9. Market your books. board-1097118
  10. Start writing your next book!

    Links to other blogs relating to self-publishing, ISBN’s, ISBN vs. ASIN, Book Covers.


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Tighten Your Writing By Editing

Editing your own work can be tricky sometimes. The list below is from the World of Horror blog. It’s a good list of several editing tips to help you tighten your writing.

1. Develop a thick skin.Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves! 2. Avoid throat-clearing. This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get […]

via The Ultimate Checklist for Editing Your Own Book — World of Horror

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The ISBN Tangle

I get so many questions regarding ISBN’s because it’s a confusing subject. Each book format (print, audio, eBook) needs a different ISBN and I explained why in an earlier post. Some will even argue that a separate ISBN is needed for different eBook formats. This is a gray area.



The most confusing is ISBN vs. ASIN.

I attempt to untangle the difference here.


When you publish on Amazon they give you an option for a free ASIN.

Is an ASIN the same as an ISBN? No!
Is this important? Yes!

Before you publish you need to think about where and how you want to sell your book. Which online and/or brick and mortar options you chose will guide you to the correct search number option you will want to use.

ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. This number is a unique block of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify items within Amazon’s system.  This number is not a searchable number outside of Amazon. If you plan to sell your print books and eBooks outside of Amazon you will want to use an ISBN for each format because an ISBN is searchable worldwide.

In my opinion, if you are ONLY going to sell your book on Amazon an ASIN is just fine.

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Writers Conference Coming Soon

Vintage Typewriter by Witthaya Phonsawat ID-100238218I’m traveling to Illinois for the Mississippi River Writers conference on October 4th. It is sure to be an informative day filled with networking and making new friends. Below is the press release for the conference. I’d love to see all of you there. I’ve given reasons why writers should attend conferences herehere, and here.

The Freeport Public Library is the venue for the Mississippi River Writers Conference on Saturday, October 4th. The writing conference will be held from 10-4 p.m., and will bring together presenters from all over the Midwest to work with new and established writers in the area.

Topics to be presented include How to Edit Your Work Properly. Lyle Ernst from Davenport, Iowa will be discussing editing techniques that can help your work stand out to publishers and readers. Ernst is a professional freelance editor and award-winning author who has been writing and editing professionally for 15 years. He is both traditionally and self-published, and his work includes non-fiction, memoirs, and fiction.

Anthony Wedgeworth from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin will be doing a presentation on how to keep your readers hooked in your story. Many books tend to sag in the middle or get boring. Wedgeworth will give writers tips on how to avoid this writing pitfall. He is the award-winning author of the Altered Creatures fantasy series, and has been writing professionally for over 10 years.

Freeport’s own Kim Sigafus will be doing a marketing presentation. As the industry now stands, both traditionally published and self-publishers need to market their work. Sigafus will share unique marketing tips and what has worked for her. She is an award-winning author of Native American fiction, children’s, and non-fiction books, and the Commissioning Editor of McIver Publishing based in Freeport.

Conference Speaker Fred Waiss from Wisconsin will be giving a presentation on how to break into magazine writing. Waiss has published stories, poetry, and articles about writing in the on-line magazine Page and Spine, and a story in The Storyteller magazine.  He has stories in anthologies such as Dark Light 3 and Dandelions of Mars.  A fantasy novel is scheduled to be published next summer by Double Dragon Publishing.

E-Book extraordinaire Jill Austin from Barefoot Editing in Minnesota will be in attendance to talk with authors about e-Booking their work.  Well-versed in e-Book formatting, Kindle, SmashWords and almost everything e-Book, she is a wealth of information on the subject. Austin has an English degree and has been a professional editor for several years.

A panel of all presenters including Ms. Austin will be answering questions from conference participants. It is the goal of the conference organizers that no one should leave without having questions answered or contacts made for further help.

The annual writing contest is currently underway for registered conference participants. A great prize will be given for the best short story based on a prompt.

Lunch is included in the conference fee of $50. On the menu is a meal of traditional Ojibwa flair; Wild Rice and Turkey Soup and homemade bread.

For more information on the conference or to register, please check out MississippiRiverWriters.com or call (815) 297-2293. The deadline to register is Friday, September 26th.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net “Vintage Typewriter” by Witthaya Phonsawat ID-100238218


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Five Magical Self-Publishing Tools

Self-publishing is not difficult to do if you have the right tools in your belt. What are the right tools, you ask?

As the self-publishing author think of yourself as a subcontractor. You must put together a team of people, with the right tools, that work together to make your novel the best it can be to catch the eye of readers new and old. You wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, don’t shortchange your novel.

  1. The first tool in our magical tool belt is you, the author!
    You are the architect. You have built the novel from conception to completion. It is your pride and joy so now that you are done writing what you have to say lets polish it up and make it the best it can be.
  2. The second tool is a beta reader.
    This person can be a friend, co-worker, family member, or someone from your writing group. Make sure this person will be honest with you and give you honest feedback on what needs help and what works. Take their feedback and re-write and re-work areas that need it. When your novel is the best you can make it move on to magical tool number three.
  3. Magical tool number three is an editor.
    Yes, use an actual editor. You want an unbiased opinion and a fresh pair of eyes. Do not use Aunt Alice, your best friend, or your next door neighbor unless they have an English degree. Don’t be afraid to ask around at conferences, author blogs, and writing groups for recommendations. If an editor is good, authors will recommend them to other authors. Price is not always a gauge on quality. I wouldn’t necessarily pick the cheapest but I wouldn’t pick the most expensive either. You may not always like what they have to say but a good editor will tell you the truth about what needs to be done without losing your voice in the work. You want a qualified editor that you are comfortable with. If you are looking for an editor feel free to check out my website for more information.
  4. Fourth tool is the magical graphic designer.
    This person will create a book cover that makes your book shine if you pick the right person. You want your cover to scream “I’m interesting, pick me up and read me” not “Hey, I’m self-published and I didn’t want to spend any money.” Choose wisely and get recommendations from other authors. Be specific when hiring a graphic designer. You want someone who knows how to create print covers AND eBook covers. I just had an author come to me in a panic because the professionally created cover was continually rejected for their eBook and the graphic designer, after four tries and four rejections, said he didn’t know how to fix it. The designer had already been paid and the author was stuck. Insert my fabulous graphic designer and web developer, Dustin Solmonson, who stepped in and saved the day on short notice.
  5. The last magical tool needed is the eBook formatting master.
    Formatting eBooks can be extremely tricky, tedious,  and time-consuming. If you are not very computer literate leave it to someone with experience. Sometimes the experts want to pull their hair out because blank pages drop from the sky with no rhyme or reason and unexplained extra spaces can appear in the middle of sentences. Once again ask for recommendations from other authors in your writing group, blogs, and at conferences. This person can usually help format your paperback if you ask. If you are looking for someone to format I am available. Refer to my website for more information.

It is very important to find quality people you are comfortable with. Yes, I offer editing and formatting services but that does not mean you have to go with me. I point out these five tools so that your self-published book looks and reads professionally. I cannot stress enough how important it is to always present a professional looking product for the best results.  When you publish a novel , think of it as your most important job interview.  Be prepared for it by using the correct tools to let your story stand out, not your mistakes.

Image courtesy of  KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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