My Self-Publishing Adventure – Day 1

To be fair, this isn’t really day one, per-se’. I haven’t just started self-publishing The Crows’ Nest, nor is it even my first self-published book (follow that link all you like, but please note that I published that over a decade ago and was a very, VERY different person at the time </disclaimer>). Still, I figured maybe you would like to join me on this wild ride, and since I had to qualify a starting point for you, here it is.


So far, I’ve taken the following steps toward self-publication:

  • Wrote The Crows’ Nest (This is kind of an important step for anyone who wants to publish… well… anything.)
  • Edited The Crows’ Nest about a million times (OK, maybe just twenty or so over the course of the last year and a half. Same diff.)
  • Collaborated with a wonderfully talented illustrator and pressed her into my service (MUAHAHAHAAAA!)
  • Queried agents.
  • Queried agents.
  • Queried agents.
  • Queried agents.
  • Queried agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Been rejected by agents.
  • Queried MORE agents.
  • Queried MORE agents.
  • Queried MORE agents.
  • Queried MORE agents.
  • Been rejected by MORE agents.
  • You get the idea… MOVING ON!
  • Looked into publishers who take unagented submissions and wished I had the money for postage, since the vast majority of them only take postal queries and not e-mails. (I don’t blame them. I’m sure it keeps away those annoying “Eye thk eye wanna rite a buk today HEE!!!1” people.)
  • Realized I needed to go to a conference if I wanted any hope of talking to an agent face-to-face.
  • Looked into local conferences, sure that the closest ones would be in Seattle (which, for those of you unfamiliar with the Inland Northwest, is about a six hour drive from Spokane, where I am; Washington is big, Mmkay).
  • Found the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in SPOKANE!
  • Almost died of excitement.
  • Recovered from my near-death experience and joined the Society.
  • Signed up for their conference in September.
  • Went BACK to querying agents.
  • Went BACK to being rejected.
  • Read my new SCBWI handbooks and realized I needed to build a writers’ platform.
  • Joined Twitter and WordPress to build a platform.
  • Saw on Twitter that many writers are now self-publishing.
  • Scoffed and ranted and raved against self-publishing, knowing how terrible my last experience was.
  • Finally looked into self-publishing circa 2011 and found that self-publishing circa 1998 is highly antiquated in comparison.
  • STILL ranted and raved against it since my childhood dream has been to be PUBLISHED by a PUBLISHER, not publish MYSELF, dang it!
  • Realized self-publishing didn’t have to be the endgame, and that it could actually help me find an agent/publisher.
  • Facepalmed so hard my forehead is still red.
  • Did some research and chose Amazon and Smashwords as my publishers (for different reasons).
  • Looked into marketing.
  • Almost died again… this time from price-tag-shock.
  • Spent a week straight researching unique and cheap ways to market.
  • Put the first few chapters of The Crows’ Nest up on AbsoluteWrite‘s forums to get professional input from my fellow writers.
  • Edited The Crows’ Nest… again.
  • Spoke with my illustrator and started her working on inside illustrations (until this point, Jessica had only drawn concept illustrati0ns and two beautiful covers).
  • Made tons of to-do lists, most bullets of which have to wait for money. Pfft.
  • Wrote this blog.

So… that’s where I am now. The Crows’ Nest is edited to the point that the vast majority of feedback I get from people is complimentary, and the constructive criticism is down to mostly stylistic opinions. I figure the only thing I can do more to make it perfect is send it to a professional editor. Considering that the only reason I’m not a professional editor myself is I don’t want to be, I figure I can skip that expensive step. Of course, if you buy a copy of The Crows’ Nest and find a bunch of serious mistakes in it, I’d like to hear about it. I AM a professional writer, after all. 😉

On the block for this month:

  1. Receive Jessica’s illustrations.
  2. Format The Crows’ Nest into a publishable .pdf document for printing and e-book formats in the most stylistic and interesting way I know how. (Considering I have worked as a graphic designer — I designed my own blog here — that should be pretty easy and fun!)
  3. Upload the .pdf to Amazon and Smashwords.
  4. Pay Amazon for their upgrade feature which includes an ISBN, access to library and school lists, and higher royalties.
  5. Pay Childrens’ Book Review for their publisher’s package which includes a banner ad, review, bio and author interview.
  6. Write letters to every school and public librarian in and around Spokane offering my services as a guest writer so I can read parts of The Crows’ Nest to kids! So excited about that!
  7. Sit back and hope… hope… hope.
  8. Maybe go back to querying. We’ll see. 😉

I’ll update everyone as this goes. There are a lot of far better things about my self-publishing adventure this time around, so we’ll see how it all plays out. And maybe this will help you on your adventure as well. Please feel free to give some of your adventure details in the comments section. 🙂


3 Responses to “My Self-Publishing Adventure – Day 1”

  1. Just a quick note as you are formatting your book for publication: don’t go with any crazy fonts for the majority of the text. I was reading/reviewing a fantasy novel printed in some weird spikey font and while it looked interesting at first, it was a pain in the ass to read. After just a few paragraphs (and this book’s paragraphs were forever long) I had a splitting headache behind my eyes. I know now why Times New Roman is the go-to font for papers, articles, stories, etc. 😉

  2. […] Information to help you achieve your dreams (case in point, this.) […]

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