Self-Publishing Update


I have spent a lot of time seeking advice from other indie authors on this blog, and I just wanted to provide a run-down of what I actually did in regards to the publication of my first novel – on kind of a step-by-step basis. Hope it helps anyone who is in the midst of their self-publishing journey!

Writing Process:

  1. First Draft
  2. Sent out a sample of chapter 1 to many different editing companies (they offer a sample for free) –> Found the right match with –>Revisions based on feedback I received
  3. Draft –> Developmental Editing (
  4. Revisions of draft –> Copy/Line Editing (
  5. Additional revisions/changes –> Reading fee / copy editing on new additions (
  6. Final Draft –> Proofreading (
  7. Two additional checks for proofing (just in case anything was missed)
  8. Final Draft –> Beta Readings

Formatting: I originally planned on hiring out for the formatting process. I was terrified of messing it up. I was going to spend the $250 or so on it – but after reading the Smashwords style guide & Createspace guidelines – I realized I had already formatted my book almost to their standards. Why pay out then? After a frustrating few days, I was able to tweak my book to meet the guidelines, and I managed to upload with zero errors for e-books in epub & mobi, as well as my paperback book. On my 2nd book – I will start the formatting process from the beginning (not at the end!)

Cover Design: I hired to create my cover. After feedback on the first cover, I realized it was not the right cover. I paid a little extra money, and my designer was able to provide me with a new cover –and I love it.

ISBNS: I decided to purchase my own ISBNs. I bought the block of 10. It made much more sense to buy 10 then to purchase 1, especially because I used 3 ISBNs for my first novel. Originally I thought I could just use 2 ISBNs (1 for e-book, 1 for paperback). When I uploaded my manuscript to Smashwords- I read that they like a different ISBN then one used for Kindle. So, my Kindle Edition has its own ISBN. One of the reasons I wanted my own ISBNs- is that eventually I plan on using Ingram Sparks (which requires your own ISBN).


E-BOOK- I uploaded to Kindle directly and made my book available for pre-order. I then chose Smashwords as the distributor for my e-books everywhere else. I would have preferred to upload to itunes directly, but I heard you need a MAC to do that (and my MAC suffered a brutal death last year). I like that Smashwords allows you to choose the amount you want to have readers sample from your book – I only wish that percent was the same in all the places they distribute your book (B&N, Kobo, etc.). What I don’t like about Kindle Pre-Order –is that they don’t allow readers to SAMPLE your book at all until the day of the release. I usually don’t purchase books until I have sampled them (unless they are by an author I am already an avid fan of). I have also offered a long preview/sample of my book on goodreads (pdf file).


CREATESPACE – I chose Createspace (without extended distribution). I set my price to be the same as my competitors for a 6×9 copy. When perusing the bookstores (most books were between 8.99-10.99- so I chose 9.99). You make less money on a paperback if purchased through Amazon and not Createspace than on an e-book, but I did not want to increase the price of my book to make more (especially as an unknown author). I don’t anticipate selling many paperback copies right now, but I will use those for giveaways, etc. *I did not chose extended distribution because I am in the NEGATIVE for every book sold at my price range – and as I said, I did not want to increase my price.

INGRAM SPARKS – I will be uploading my book to IngramSparks soon (which will be my avenue for extended distribution). In order to have a chance in Hades at getting your book into any brick and mortar store – you must choose a 55% wholesale discount/accept returns. 55% discount means: the bookstore gets the book at 40% less than retail (because 15% goes to Ingram). You pretty much make no money on this though after printing costs, which is why most people choose the 40% wholesale discount –but that means (25% less than retail for bookstore, 15% for Ingram). Most bookstores will not go for that – not enough skin in the game. Considering this is my first book, and I do not anticipate getting into a bookstore (even at the 55% wholesale discount – I will probably just choose 40% and sell online).



  • I went with Xpresso Book Tours for a book blitz to be held Sept 15th-18th (my book is released the 15th). There will be giveaways through rafflecopter.
  • Press Releases – I have sent out press releases to a few local places (online sites) – for an article about my novel (as a pre-order). I have heard back from one newspaper so far (out of the 4)- who have accepted my press release. I will send the majority of my press releases out post release of my book for 1 main reason. *Since the majority of clients seem to purchase e-books through Amazon (and since Amazon does not provide a sample) – I worry that this will discourage pre-order sales, so I think it is best to wait on marketing until the book is out & people can download a free sample.
  • Goodreads – will have a giveaway
  • Local Event – I will be having a book launch/release party at a local restaurant, which happens to be a supporter of my work & will have signed copies/giveaways, etc.
  • Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook
  • Author webpage

Am I forgetting anything? Any questions you want answered? Anything you did differently or would suggest? Thanks for reading! Check out a copy of my novel at: Amazon, Kobo, or B&N & download a free sample of the 1st six chapters on Smashwords or the first 8 chapters on goodreads!

*BTW- for those who have submitted work to “Authors to Read” – I am happy to report that a lot of traffic to that page is coming from pinterest – so definitely use pinterest when you are marketing your book(s)!



14 thoughts on “Self-Publishing Update

  1. This is a really useful summary. I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from reading it through whether they’re yet to self-publish or if they’ve already done so. In my case, there are some interesting points here that I can look at next time around. I agree 100% that starting the formatting process from the beginning is a good idea! I find it odd that Kindle doesn’t allow sample viewing on pre-orders. That seems like a wasted opportunity for Amazon. After all, they take a big enough cut of the purchase price, I’d have thought they’d want to increase the chances of sales as much as possible. So, it’s good that you have samples available elsewhere. Press releases and local events seem like a very good idea. Realistically, I think one has to be prepared to forgo complete ‘anonymity’ to spread the word. Local newspapers etc want some sort of author bio.
    Romance and mysteries aren’t my usual first choice of reading material, but, as I’ve been following your informative blog posts on the publishing process, I’ll definitely check out a sample. Good luck with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Self-Publishing Update | sjlynn87

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