4 Things I Learned while Self-Publishing

TUWcover2#1 Outsource your cover design; however, be mindful about how much you pay. The same person who designed the Kwoted cover also created The Unhappy Wife cover. This time around, she charged $265. This is not what I expected for a simple eBook jpeg. But instead of complaining, I paid her for it and then learned about a site called Fiverr. On Fiverr, you can find anyone to do anything digital for you. By the time I was ready for a cover for the paperback, I simply signed up, listed an ad with these words: I need a 6×9 paperback cover for Lulu specifications, and then narrowed my choices down from international graphic designers. Someone I didn’t know produced the paperback cover in less than 48 hours for $15.00!!!

img_1603#2 Outsource your editor. I started to ask an English major friend to proof and edit The Unhappy Wife, but everything I’d read stated that this should be completed by a paid professional. I used a book called 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing in order to find an editor. The book lists several different editors by state. I vetted a few Florida ones through email in order to determine cost and efficiency. Each one offered a free/sample editing of the first 500-1000 words. Once I emailed the story, I compared editing style, personality and expertise. For example, the editor who charged $700 had a lot of industry knowledge and mentioned book characteristics that I wasn’t familiar with. Another editor who charged significantly less didn’t notice things like number formatting. I decided to go with someone in the middle, Erin Foster Books. She had a great personality, didn’t charge an arm and a leg, and offered two passes (read and edited twice).

#3 Outsource the formatting because it has to be precise. You probably can figure out the formatting yourself, but by the time I’d written a book, revised a book, and edited a book, the last thing I wanted to do was format a book. eBook formatting is so very finicky. It has to do with styles, style changes, making the book reflowable, etc. (big yawn). Paperback versions have to be formatted totally different than eBooks because whatever you send to your distributor is what will be printed, exactly as is. Take it from me; just have someone else do it. In my case, I asked Erin. She was wonderful and both books were published with no issues.

#4 Choose your publisher/distributor wisely. I chose Amazon because it’s the largest retailer of eBooks and authors earn 70% profit, which is the highest in the industry. But because I’m also not a fan of having all of my eggs in one monopoly basket, I chose Lulu.com to publish/distribute the paperback. Again, Lulu is known for paying the largest profit (as long as you sell from their site). This site also offers mass distribution to places like Barnes & Noble. Finally, Lulu prints books that look and feel like traditional books. I’m sure you know what I mean.

If you’re planning to self-publish a book, then I hope this information helps you in some way. If you’ve already self-published a book, then what else would you add? You know I’m all about helping one another!

88 thoughts on “4 Things I Learned while Self-Publishing

  1. Great post! This was just the information I needed right now as I’m debating whether traditional or self-publishing is the right way to go for (even though I’m not at that point yet it’s still something to start looking into). Question about #4: so you can self-publish your book in a different format each on a different site? Like e-book on Amazon, paperback on lulu and hardcover on another?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to hear Christina! Love your site by the way. To answer your question, yes. You can self-publish in several different formats but you do have to be careful about HOW you do it when Amazon is involved. They have some kind of funky clause about theirs. But from what I understand, you can also publish an eBook on different platforms, like iBook, KOBO, and others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you; you have a lovely blog as well! I appreciate the clarification on the topic of self-publishing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I’ve been considering self-publishing for a book I’m working on and this gives me a great way to start my research. Thanks so much for sharing this information and your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On a quick break at work and I finally got a chance to catch up on reading my favorite blogs. You are a gem and this serves as confirmation of what every self publisher has shared. Praying you are BETTER than blessed..e

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Ericka! I’m glad you were made it over here 😉 I appreciate the well-wishes my dear and I’ve so enjoyed following you on IG…always so positive!


  4. That’s really helpful and well done! I’ve published with small presses though never self-published – – – but am thinking I might one of these days, and will keep these good tips. I’m glad to find your good blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your advice is spot on! I did everything you said before releasing my book last fall and yesterday I felt it…”YES! It paid off!”

    I was invited to do a book signing at a popular independent store when I overheard the very persnickety manager tell a customer “The book is very well written.”

    That felt so good to hear from a seasoned professional. She had already told me the cover and layout were very well done when she accepted the book into her store.

    Friends, take Ms. Garland’s advice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Glad I have someone who also has experience in this. Having a “well-written” book is such an important part. It sounds crazy to have to mention, but there are so many poorly written indie books, that now you kind of have to stand out with one that’s great.

      Congrats on your signing too!


  6. About all I can add is that you can do your own ebook formatting if you like (or need to save the money). Both Amazon and Smashwords accept Word docs, and they’ll put them in the correct format. Smashwords even has a great free ebook on how to format your own books, including things like the linked table of contents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are an angel, dear Kathy, to share your wisdom. Hope to put it to use soon. I don’t have personal experience to offer for others yet. I know Amazon will print one copy before one is even selling their book. Am partial to your idea of going with middle ground in terms of spending in terms of just about anything. On the other hand, sometimes cheap is cheap enough to experiment with, ie Fiverr — little spent can mean little burn risked.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is great Kathy. I read your post today about ‘giving’ and the ways in which you can do so. I think this should go under that heading too. This is a gift and thank you for sharing. When you give so selflessly, you are rewarded in more ways than you can ever imagine. Not that you give to get, I hasten to add. But I personally have found this to be an unspoken ‘law’.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So many awesome ideas Dr. G. !! Thank you for sharing. I hope to one day self-publish a “365 day” book using my blog posts. (A departure from my published textbooks.) Your self-publishing suggestions will help take me there. Thank you!! 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your advice and experience. This is written with great clarity and will be invaluable help to anyone publishing a book (hopefully myself included one day!). The hint about the Fiverr is fantastic and also your insight about choosing an editor is interesting and relevant us all. I’m book-marking this for future reference! How are you finding your experiences with Amazon and Lulu? Do you have a point of contact? Are you updated about sales on a regular basis? How does payment work? Hope your book is doing well – I keep seeing super reviews here on WP!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome Annika! I hope so. The way I see it, if I know something that may be helpful, then I’m willing to pass it on.

      I was so happy to find Fiverr. At first I was a little leery, but once i saw how professional it was, I had zero fears. I like both Amazon and Lulu so far.

      If I have a question, then Lulu offers assistance through email. I’m not that fond of it, but they respond between 24-48 hours. I can see my sales in (almost) real time, which has been great, but annoying sometimes because when someone says they bough my book, I can tell if they’re being truthful because the number went up that day lol

      Payment for Amazon is after 60 days; you get paid on the 29th of each month. Lulu it’s after 30 days and you get paid on the last day of the month.

      Book sales are up and down.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I like! Number one is #1 to know! I have published a book and let me tell you! 😗 I learned a lot. Using someone different than the company publishing your book allows you to own the rights to the cover so you can reprint anytime, anywhere. Make sure it’s in your original contract with a graphic designer.
    And speaking of print, YUUUUUUUUP. What you see is what you get! 😛 I learned that the hard way the first print. 😂 I actually suggest going to your local print shop for printing. They were able to print a sample before printing all books for my review. That I appreciated!
    A friend of mine paid someone to edit her book and she had someone who bought and read it share with her the errors. Yikes. I had different people edit. All found different errors! What the?! Lol So, thanks for the info. I’m going to share and look into myself. It’s always good to lend a helping hand 😉 Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome! You can contact me by my name: mycherieamour.me
        Or my website: allinthenameoflove.com
        My book, entitled YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?!, is about my dating experiences. In hindsight, FUNNY. 😂😂😂😂 In the moment, all I could think was YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?! 😛 lol
        I would love to hear your feedback!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! Don’t hold your breath for too long…my fiction mind is a strange place. I can’t write certain characters/dialogue while other ones are still talking to me! 🤔”Tainted Love” took over me and I’ll be posting part 6 this weekend (tell me if you like it). Then, I’m diving into “Living To Die” to prep for April (26 posts for A to Z Challenge) and then back to Alejandro, Tyler, etc. Phew!☺

        Liked by 1 person

  12. How generous of you to share your experience – especially for ways to keep costs down. Thank you.

    I write non-fiction, brain-based self-help. I’m sure I’m not the only one who simply wants to share information, and don’t want to pay a fortune to get it out there – OR to push through the frustration of how very much there is to learn and do after the darned book is otherwise ready to move on to the next step in the process.

    The more I read, however, the more I want to hang it all up and go be a Walmart greeter. 🙂 Nonetheless, I keep reading, hoping to learn and be inspired to keep pushing through. Thank you for sharing.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly my purpose for sharing Madelyn! Most people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to share information with the world lol so I’m glad this is helpful.

      PLEASE do not go be a WalMart greeter lol, but I understand the sentiment. We need you out here with your positive platform!

      Liked by 1 person

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