The Challenges of Self-Publishing!

I wrote this post back in August of 2013 for a site that was active at the time. PIA is no longer up and running so please don’t try to find it. I thought this post would be helpful for those who are just beginning their venture into self-publishing. I wish you well!

Jemsbooks.com copyright Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina

The Challenges of Self Publishing (posted in PiA – August, 2013)

By Janice Spina (Author of Louey the Lazy Elephant)

Just five years ago I started thinking about publishing my children’s books but didn’t know where to start. I bought a couple of books about publishers and agents and how to do query letters. I sent out many letters along with samples of my books to about thirty publishers and several agents. I sat back and waited and waited and waited some more. Some of the publishers sent back form letters of rejection saying, “Thank you for your submission. We are sorry that we cannot accept any more submissions at this time……..” Other publishers and agents didn’t have the courtesy to answer or even reject my work. It was so disheartening. I finally gave it all up last year.

What is self-publishing? Well, if you look it up on Wikipedia it states: “Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible and in control of entire process including design (cover/interior), formats, price, distribution, marketing & PR. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.”

Now in the present time of 2013 there are so many more options to self-publishing. We writers are no longer at the mercy of the big publishing companies. We have a choice. In fact, there are many choices you can make in order to move your work to a venue so that it will be noticed and appreciated. After all our books are our babies. We nurtured them and cared for them for a very long time and became quite attached to them. They are essentially a part or extension of us and who we are. We put our heart and soul into this work and we want it to be recognized. What we write is important to us, correct?

Before you go looking for the right printing company for you please do the following.  I say it as plainly as I can but this is extremely important if you want to succeed in social media.

  1. Set up a website
  2. Set up a blog
  3. Set up a FB account
  4. Set up a Twitter account
  5. Set up a LinkedIn account
  6. Set up a Google account
  7. Set up a Pinterest account
  8. Sign up for Goodreads
  9. Sign up for Amazon KDP Publishing to print and publish your Manuscript once it is thoroughly proofed and edited.

These are the social media sites I set up myself before I even ventured to find a venue for my books.  There are more and more sites out there all the time.  But you don’t want to overload yourself doing too many at once.  I find myself drowning at times in all the links and passwords I have to remember.  I still don’t remember them all and most of the time I guess at them and sometimes I am right?!  Oh boy, I am so scientific about this!  Sorry!

Well, now you have all these sites and you must visit them and check out other’s sites too.  Post blogs once a week or more about your books, writing, etc., and visit and leave messages on other blogs.  This will ensure that these bloggers will visit your blog in turn and leave a message or a like.  It is crazy, I know, but it works.  This is the way to get yourself out there and people will get to know you and your writing.  You may be surprised to obtain a large following after a short time.  You will find that it is fun and you will meet some amazing people in the process.  I have some wonderful friends following me and I am following them this way.  It opens up the world and the world now is so much smaller when you can write and reach people from the USA all the way to Australia.  This is how Paul Day of PIA and I met.  It’s incredible!  I love every minute of it.  I hope you do too.

If you look up self-publishing companies you will get an endless variety and list of vanity publishers, Indie publishers and many well known named self-publishing sites. There are too many to list and I do not want to give any of them kudos since it is up to the individuals to choose for themselves. Whatever you plan to do and whoever you choose to print your book or MS make sure you do your homework about the particular company you plan to work with. Know all about them and what their policies are before you venture forward.  Remember, you are the publisher, illustrator, editor, and all around go to person. This is an enormous task to do all yourself, but you can do it as so many others have before you.  It is not impossible but it can be daunting.

Learn all you can about how to make a template and use Photo Shop. I learned the hard way along with my illustrator husband. We didn’t know anything about making templates and how to allow for bleed and trim on our pages. After dozens of tries we finally got the book in and the cover caused us even more problems. Now we are more experienced but definitely not professionals until maybe our tenth book. We are now on our second. LOL!

You need to be determined and persevere and don’t get discouraged after multiple downloads. I had crying sessions and wanted to throw in the towel on the whole book but then I would look at my husband’s adorable illustrations and couldn’t do that. He had worked so hard as he continues to do now. I wanted more than anything in the world to succeed before my birthday this year to publish my first children’s book. I did it and completed it eighteen days after my birthday. Close enough, huh? I’ll take it!!

Once you get your book into Amazon.com your hard work is just beginning.  Now comes the PR work, marketing yourself and selling your book.  This is not easy but it can be fun.  Make it fun and don’t think of it as work.  Correspond with others and share your thoughts and open up your hearts to them.  They will want to help you.  Buy other writer’s books and do many book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other sites.   These writers will remember you for your kindness and your wonderful book reviews (if you like their books, if you don’t stay mum). LOL!  I have never had to do that because I have enjoyed all the books I have read by other indie publishers.

Indie publishers are a talented bunch and are smart enough to know that their books have to be excellent not only in prose but in content and how well they are edited.   Proof your MS again and again and have others look at it to ensure you didn’t miss anything.  It will be well worth it when you actually see it online or in print.  I am still doing all this myself.  It never ends.

Thank you for reading this discourse.  I hope I didn’t bore you too much and that you learned something new and helpful. 

END OF POST

I hope this information will be encouraging to all who want to travel along this tough road. I wish you well!

I now have 22 books published since 2013 but I am still learning about publishing and finding challenges to overcome. It does get easier to complete each project but the promoting and marketing is still the most difficult things to do. All you can do is keep plugging along and believe in yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Thank you for stopping by to read this post. I appreciate your kind support of my books.

REMEMBER: READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY! SOAR WITH JEMSBOOKS ALL YEAR ROUND! HAPPY READING!

Please leave some love for authors by reviewing their books wherever you purchased them.

Blessings & Hugs,

Janice

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About jjspina

Janice is an award-winning author with 12 children's books for PS-Gr 4, 9 middle-grade/preteen/young adult books, written under Janice Spina, and 3 novels, and a short story collection written under J.E. Spina. She is also a writer of poetry, blogger, avid reader, reviewer and a copy editor. Janice has always loved writing and started very young writing poetry, then stories. Her children's book, Lamby the Lonely Lamby, won a Silver Medal in the Mom's Choice Awards. Book 1, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and Honorable Mention from Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Book 2, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and so did Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series. Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Broose the Moose on the loose, Colby the Courageous Cat, Book 5, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost, and Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Davey & Derek Book 6, and Abby & Holly Books 1 & 2 all won Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards. Abby & Holly Book 1 School Dance won a Bronze Medal from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Book 5 of Davey & Derek also won a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest. Hunting Mariah and Mariah’s Revenge were Finalists in Authorsdb First Lines Contest, Book 4 of Davey & Derek Series was a Finalist in Red City Review and received a 5-Star Review from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. All Janice's books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, B&N and other online book sites. One of her sports' poems was published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune in October of 2008. She is currently working on Book 4 of Abby & Holly series for girls and a Dragon series for young children. A YA fantasy series will be coming in 2020 and beyond along with more children's books. Her hobbies are crocheting, walking to keep fit, hula hooping, going to the movies with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. Sign up on her blog http://jemsbooks.blog for a copy of her newsletters under Contact Me. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband who is her illustrator and cover creator.
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14 Responses to The Challenges of Self-Publishing!

  1. I enjoyed this post, Janice. I was clueless when I published my first Sir Choc book and I didn’t have any social media at all. I have also learned a lot along the way. I am grateful to have my publisher as she helps me a lot with getting my book onto Amazon, Lulu and other sites. She also sorts out ISBN’s and those things. It helps me and I have more time to write and market.

  2. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this helpful post from Janice Spina’s blog on the challenges of self-publishing.

  3. Why do I have this feeling I’m going to be visiting your site often. Thanks for the post and insight.

  4. noelleg44 says:

    You nailed it, Janice. I can’t believe how clueless I was when I first began and am still learning.

  5. Independents have to work so hard Janice, this seems like the best advice post.

  6. Sharing… 🙂 Happy blogging, writing and publishing, Janice!

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