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Saturday, August 20, 2016

What I Learned From Self Publilshing

post by Michelle Griep

You know those TV shows that feature some daredevil lighting his underwear on fire as he hops on a motorcycle and jumps over five semi-trucks and a baby, all while some scrolling type at the bottom of the screen warns you not to attempt this at home? Yeah. I feel like there should be some kind of warning to those considering self publishing because it's really not as easy as it looks. Leastwise not if you want to put out a quality book.

So here is my attempt at enlightening those who think they'll just slap up some type on Createspace and rake in a million bucks.

**pretend the following is scrolling across the screen . . . I'm not technologically savvy enough to do that and there's no teenager around for me to collar**

1. Covers are a pain in the patootie. Who knew there'd be so many decision to make? Color. Style. Artwork. Wording. Layout. Font. Sizing. Transparency. Bleed. And that's just in the first consultation.

2. No matter how many times you go through a manuscript, you can always find something else to change.

3. A good editor is worth her weight in chai. I didn't actually have the money up front to pay for a manuscript edit so I bartered for a lifetime supply of chai. So far it's worked out pretty good. Of course, if she lives to be one hundred, I may be in trouble. Nah. I'll be dead first. Hahahaha! Joke's on her. . . wait a minute. Maybe not.

4. If you put your book up for pre-order on Amazon, they give you a deadline set in stone to upload your final copy. If you're late, oops! Your name is written on the Amazon naughty list and you don't get to put up any more pre-orders for over a year.

5. There's way more that goes into producing a book than simply good writing, though that is a must. There's book size, paper color, paper weight, ISBN nonsense, Library of Congress shtuff, a bajillion different kind of ebook conversions, yada, yada. Seriously, I had no idea.

It was an adventure putting out my self-pubbed book, Writer Off the Leash, but one that's been a good education. Would I do it again? Probably. Will I leave the realm of traditional publishing behind? Nope. Each venue has their pros and cons.


WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.


  1. I indie published a short story and learned about all that. Whew, and you didn't even touch the marketing!

  2. I wrote my first blog post AFTER I Indie published my debut novel! It began, "I’ve been thrown in the deep end. Of a deep ocean. In a tidal wave. And all I want to do is write my stories...." That was over two years ago, and I'm still in the deep end. Of a deep ocean. But maybe the winds and waves have tamed. A bit....

  3. Yes, Michelle, I know whereof you speak, right down to "donating" a copy or two to the national library of the country where you live. I've indie-pubbed one book and have an OOP trilogy to re-release, and so it goes. I'm going to carry on with it, but it helps to share a laugh and a few fears with someone else who's been there.

  4. Writer Off the Leash turned out great....I think that all authors should self-pub at least one book, just to put their toes in the water. It may be a life-line for them at some point. I also say to hang on to those ties with publishers. You may not have as much say in things, but they do help promote your books more. Just my opinion...reader here, not a writer. :-)

  5. You know I really enjoyed Writer off the Leash! Very informative. And as for me, I went indie with my first book (a Viking historical--you know that era well, Michelle!), and I'm still indie publishing. It's like a full-time job, but it does have some serious benefits--one of which is the super-supportive indie community!

  6. Funny, cuz your first point brought up one of my headaches in indie publishing, and that is which spelling to choose for words like “patootie.” I think I went with “patooty” in my novels. This summer I did the final proofing of a collection (of already edited and published novels by various authors) and discovered there are several more traditional words that can be spelled various ways. Didn’t figure it out until AFTER I’d changed them all—yikes! Oh the power … and responsibility left on one small set of shoulders. Indie publishing is definitely not for the faint of heart.


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