Ten Things Every Writer Should Know Before Self-Publishing

Writing is one of my greatest joys. It’s a part of me, something I can’t live without. Even though I haven’t previously done a whole lot with it, I continued to write. But when I finished my first book, decisions had to be made. Was I willing to write hundreds of query letters in the hopes of selling my book? Nope, no time. Kidnap an agent? Honesty compels me to acknowledge that’s the only way I would get one, and kidnapping—again—is a time-consuming affair. In the final analysis, it was a quick and easy decision. I chose to self-publish, and boy oh boy, did I learn a lot. Here are ten things every writer should know before self-publishing:

  • I learned how much I hate editing. I figured that, as an educator, writer, and writing coach, I wouldn’t have any issue with editing. I LOVE to edit my own work, so much so that it often takes a really long time to finish a piece because I can’t leave it alone. But professional edits are TEDIOUS because it’s not just a matter of a missing comma. There are big decisions—style choices, content choices, creative choices—to be made, and any good editor, mine was, will tell you, “This is not my book. It’s yours. It’s your decision to either make a change or not.” Ugh. I hated that. I really just wanted someone to tell me what to do, y’know? Every decision was agonizing.
  • I thought it would be fun. The writing? Big fun. The publishing? Not so much.
  • The process was all consuming, not that I wasn’t expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was how resentful I would be of anyone and anything that would take me away from my book. For someone who works two to three jobs, this was a challenge.
  • It was stressful. I set a deadline for myself. I wouldn’t recommend this.
  • I learned about SEO—search engine optimization—and finding key words. Again, ugh! Tedium upon tedium.
  • I learned not to become so enamored with a book title that you jump into a cover right away. I had to change mine at the last minute because apparently, as I learned from the above-mentioned SEO training—the word “journal” which was part of my original title is not something readers tend to Google.
  • I found out how scary it is. Clicking that “publish” button for the first time was easily one of the most terrifying things I have ever done.
  • I learned how many last-minute things there were to learn like copyrighting and why I might want an ISBN number for my ebook even though Amazon provided an ASIN number.
  • I would continue to find mistakes no matter how hard I tried to make everything perfect.
  • But the very best thing I learned was how amazingly kind, helpful, supportive, and patient all my writer friends really are as I peppered them with questions about KDP and Kindle Create.

There are so many other things I learned on the road to self-publishing. I learned and I learned, and I continue to learn, but hey, all of that is something I might have missed out on had I gone the kidnapping route. With kidnapping, there’s that whole 15-20 in the big house thing, and besides, orange is SO not my color.

Click on the image below to see what I’ve been up to!


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