A Self-Published Author Wears Many Hats
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Writer, Editor, Publisher, And Promotor
Image courtesy of the author
Congratulations on finally getting the entire story out of your mind, pat yourself on the back for such an accomplishment. Now, what’s your next step you may be wondering. Well, I strongly suggest you begin looking for an editor, or, prepare to do it yourself.
An editor is someone whose job is to make our work its best. Like with everything in life, editors vary. To acquire the services of the best, you’re going to spend some money. When I went in search of an editor pricing seemed a bit high ( $2,500 was the low end $5,000 the high end) but then I thought, you can’t put a price tag on anyone’s time. Seeing that I didn’t have the funding to pay for the best, I did the next best thing, I began to study the successes, and failures, of some of the best. I concluded that I put in all this time and effort to get this far, I might as well keep it going.
Now, I’m here to tell you that editing is a process all of its own. You think finishing the story was an adventure, it’ll seem like child's play compared to transforming your lump of coal into a diamond. Yes, that’s right, the first draft is a lump of coal. No matter what we think about our story, it’s the thoughts of the potential readers that will matter most. We should always write our best but a great story requires more than just writing, there’s also improving what’s been written as well. It’s not about changing the story, but making it more interesting to read. Creating an appealing story is one of the reasons why editing is so vital, and why editors charge as they do. Editors take a story from being good, to possibly one of the greatest stories never told.
While watching an Instagram Live interview with an editor, I received my best writing advice. The wise editor said: “I edit manuscripts in sections, meaning I only focus on one aspect at a time.” After hearing this it made absolute sense because I was looking at it from the totality aspect, which leaves room for overlooking things. So, this is how I began to edit my books, in sections. Dialogue, spelling, punctuation, etc, each section was examined from top to bottom, individually, and until they were done. Not only did I check for all the primary things but I omitted extra sentences that weren’t necessary, I truly began to simplify things. Though it was a tedious task, it was fun watching everything transform into what it was destined to be. I only recommend self-editing if you don’t have the money to pay a professional, and, if you’re willing and ready to put in the required work. Again, self-editing isn’t easy, but what in life worthy of having ever will be obtained easily?
Alright, you’ve made it past the editing process. If you went through a professional, I pray that you got exactly what you paid for. If you did the work yourself, hopefully, it didn’t turn your hair grey and reck your nerves. Anyway, now it’s time for the publishing aspect of your book.
Like with editing, publishing is usually done by professions, who are usually apart of a publishing house. A publishing house is where book cover designs, editing, printing, publishing, and promoting is done. Now, you thought professional editing was expensive, it’s going to cost almost twice as much to have your book published by a professional company. Seeing that a professional publishing house does it all, they offer a variety of packages. You can get one or all their services, which is cool if you’re not trying to see any real fruit from your labor. If you go through a traditional publishing house and have them do all the work, expect them to receive the bulk of the money from the sale of each book. What’s the alternative? Self-publishing.
Self-publishing isn’t all that hard, you just have to be willing to do the work, and spend a little money.
You’ll need to connect with a graphic designer for your book cover, this can be done through Fiverr. com, where talented, affordable book cover designers can be found. Both of my book covers are compliments of graphic designers from Fiverr.com, I highly recommend this site. Next, you’ll need to buy an ISBN ( International Standard Book Number), which is usually no more than $35. and comes with an all-important barcode. You’ll also need to get your book copyrighted, this can be done via the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Seeing that getting your copyright application approved will take longer than actually publishing our book, it’s recommended that after our book is printed, we begin selling. The second after our work is formated into an actual book it’s unofficially copyrighted, meaning we have basic protection rights, which should hold up in small claims court if someone happens to try and claim our work as theirs. The official copyright paperwork ensures small claims court won’t be an issue because of the said paperwork, erasing all doubt.
Once you have your manuscript converted in the required file format (usually a PDF), have your book cover, and ISBN/barcode, you’re ready to submit it all to one of the numerous self-publishing outlets, I used Kindle Direct.com for both my books. Like with every other site, Kindle Direct.com has it’s set of rules, follow them, and you’ll be one step closer to holding your book in your hands. I paid my wife to complete this part of the journey, seeing that I’m not computer savvy, and she’s a computer genius. After everything was submitted and approved, I was able to order a sample copy of my book (s). The said sample copy was so I’d see how the actual book would look, as well as to do a final check for errors. I was pleased with the results and placed my first order of one hundred (100) books, which the bulk of would be sold at my forthcoming book signing event.
Like with editing and publishing, you can always pay someone to promote your book, but best believe they’re not going to do it for free. I concluded that no matter how much I paid someone to promote my book, I was only going to be buying so much of their time. If promoting was their profession, this means they have a clientele, which means I wouldn’t be their only client. Outside of promoting other people’s efforts, there were their own efforts to consider, ones outside of promoting for others. So, I concluded I’d be the best person to promote my book because unlike someone else who may have a few hours to spare, I had over ten hours a day to donate to my cause.
Before my book signing event, I was advertising my book on social media. I was also hitting the streets with the sample copy of Positive Energy 24/7 asking people’s opinions. Shortly after my first batch of books arrived I held raffles, I was even giving copies away to individuals who promised to make mention of them to family and friends. Before my book signing, I had significant sales just off my overall effort. I also had an ebook version created, and I gave more copies of the said ebook away than I sold of the actual paperback version. I also had my website created, which would offer my book (s) (and T-shirts).
My book signing event was a huge success, it exceeded my greatest expectations and for the most part, it was due to my effort. Though it wasn’t easy, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Now I’m immortalized in the world of literature, which is an accomplishment all writers can claim as well, and if they're ready and willing to do what it takes.
Let This Thought Marinate On Your Mind
My advice to all writers who post on social media platforms daily: Make sure that you’re posts are also entries in a book template. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire first draft, ready for the traditional or self-publishing process.
I pray that my words will be of assistance to you.