Once the decision to self-publish was made, I had to change my way of thinking. Instead of trying to get noticed by traditional publishers, I had to learn how to do what they did.
I began searching the Internet for stories about indie authors. Actually, in May 2010 I hadn’t yet heard the term indie author. That came several months later. Before then, I referred to those who published their books as self-publishers.
In one way, I thought publishing a book was easy. A book was only printed words on paper, bound together by something: coil, staples, stitches, etc. I’d formatted words on a computer and created printed books for my personal use in the past. Besides the size of the project, what was the difference? And I had all the control. No one could tell me what to do or not to do.
On the other hand, I thought publishing a book on my own was impossible. There were so many things to learn, so many things to consider. If I failed – and there were so many ways to fail – I had no one to blame but myself. And what about the money? Could I afford to publish a book?
During my research, I uncovered inspiring stories by other writers who self-published. They spoke of their mistakes, what they did the second time around to avoid them, and the things that worked. I learned about ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and CIP (Cataloguing in Publication), about book formatting software and what should and shouldn’t go on the front and back covers, the cost of printing a book and many other things.
I spent hours and hours reading one article after another. I copied and pasted, saved and printed the important stuff I’d need later. At times during the homework, I became so inspired by a person’s journey that I, too, believed I could do it; I would not only publish a book but many books. I’d run with that idea until I read about another daunting task self-publishers had to overcome. Then I’d slow my pace, research that task until I convinced myself I could meet the challenge.
The journey to having my first book published was an emotional ride of ‘Yes, I can do it!” and “I’m going to fail miserably.” I believe these strong emotions kept me in check. I didn’t race ahead without looking to where I was leaping, and in the process make huge mistakes, yet I didn’t give up, believing I could do it if I worked at it long enough.
My advice to anyone who wishes to publish their own book is to read, read and read some more. In other words, do your homework. You are once again a student, one who will reap the rewards if you work hard and wise. Information can be found by searching the Internet, in self-help books and in magazines. It’s also a tremendous benefit to get out there and talk to other writers, – both self-published and traditionally published – attend workshops, join writers’ groups and attend book launches.
Every piece of information you can harvest from the writing field will help you plant your own book.