Jordan King's picture
Jordan King October 24, 2015 - 12:13pm

For those of you with direct experience or knowledge of self publishing, I am looking for any general suggestions, warnings, recommendations, etc for self publishing. Also, anyone have suggestions for a good cover art place?  The options on how to self publish and get artwork done is a little overwhelming so if you ladies and gentlemen can help me thin the herd, that would be awesome. Thanks everyone!


Jordan King's picture
Jordan King October 25, 2015 - 4:36pm

I want to add that the book I'm considering for self publishing was workshopped here. My story would not be worth reading if not for this workshop and the wonderful group of writers who offer constructive criticism and brutal honesty. I appreciate any insight that anyone here has to offer on self publishing.  Thankks again.


Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 26, 2015 - 12:02pm

Is there any particular reason you're going straight to self-pub as opposed to small/medium press or the agent route?

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 26, 2015 - 6:05pm

They might have several reasons. One of which might be they like to draw their own cover. Or they might in a non-existing genre yet. Sort of like how metal-core didn't exist before metal didn't exist before punk before regular rock.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 26, 2015 - 7:58pm

@L.W. Flouisa

Going with an actual press doesn't mean you lose control over cover art.

Jordan King's picture
Jordan King October 27, 2015 - 10:52am

Brandon, I'm just gathering information on self publishing while I wait for responses to queries. I definitely won't be drawing my own cover art.  I trust this community and know that if anyone can point me in the right direction it would be someone here.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 27, 2015 - 11:07am

Gordon Highland would probably be the best person to ask about this, but I believe Lulu is the best game in town right now. If you want to go purely ebook, Amazon allows you to do that for next to nothing (or nothing at all).

Personally, I wouldn't go self-pub unless you're absolutely certain you're okay with the entire sales and marketing aspect landing solely on you. Most people who go the self-pub route sell less than 100 copies.

Jordan King's picture
Jordan King October 27, 2015 - 12:28pm

Great, thanks Brandon, I appreciate your input.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 30, 2015 - 1:47am

There are some articles on here right?

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 3, 2015 - 9:33am

Yeah, articles, a ton of posts, etc. I'd recommend just doing a site search here.

It's been a couple years since I did one, so I dunno how much things have changed, but I've self-pubbed three books in both print and e-. I went through Amazon (CreateSpace) for all of them, mainly because I wanted to make it as easy as possible both on myself and the consumer, putting the books where they're already shopping. Now they've got the MatchBook thing where you can offer free/discounted Kindle editions after the purchase of a p-book. I was already offering that manually via email, but it's handy.

If you're committed to self-publishing, I would recommend having professionals do both the layout and artwork of your books. One reason self-pubbing was attractive to me is that I already had a lot of experience with those things and was comfortable doing them myself with complete control over everything. Still, an artist can really elevate a book cover. Pay them for their work, or figure out a trade of some value; just don't play the "exposure" card, because it's unlikely to get them much of it. There are online art communities like DeviantArt you could look into.

It's true that laying out an e-book is much easier than a p-book, but it's not merely a matter of converting the manuscript to the right file type. Have someone with experience handle this. There are a lot of little gotchas to avoid.

Best of luck.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb November 4, 2015 - 1:49pm

Gordon's right about outsourcing for covers and formatting, but just to chime in: I decided to teach myself how to do my own ebook formatting to save on the expense to begin with, and it wasn't as hard as I thought. This goes for ebook only though. I've had a go at learning Createspace formatting and found it a massive timesuck, and there's too much that can go wrong. When the time comes, I'm going to outsource for it.

If you want to publish ebooks through Smashwords, check out Mark Coker's guide to ebook formatting for the Smashwords format (too lazy to find the link right now). It actually works pretty well for Amazon's KDP platform as well, although getting your book to look good on Look Inside is a total bitch and I'm still working on figuring that one out (the problems are to do with HTML, which I know very little about). Bottom line: if you have time on your hands and a reasonably good grasp of MSWord, you can learn how to format through trial and error. My books look reasonably good on Kindle, Nook and Kobo, although I admit they could be better.

It doesn't stop at Word though - it's perfectly possible to do ebook formatting with Scrivener and on a Mac, although don't ask me how. I recently wrote to one of my favourite indie authors asking who did his formatting (which looked several times better than mine and worthy of a professional paid service) and that's how he told me he did it: himself, with Mac and Scrivener.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 4, 2015 - 5:43pm

Scrivener is great for e-books; it's what I've used for all but my first (which was MS Word converted to HTML). In a nutshell, you create individual documents for each chapter (which I already do while writing anyway), move them into the proper order, then use the e-book output module and it'll automagically create the ToC for you, with links, based on said chapter/documents. Same goes for the Front and Back Matter, and then you point it at your cover image file, check a handful of other settings, et voila.

It's not comprehensive, but I did a pretty good blog post about book formatting a while back that might be illuminating.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami November 4, 2015 - 8:54pm

Actually the reason I was thinking of the cover thing is, like I don't want to have a Wallacian situation you have this awesome science fiction cover in mind, and then the publisher decided, 'Oh I think this cover with plain clouds will look nice.'

Something so wildly different from what the story is about, it's impossible to determine if you want to get a copy or not.