What I Learned From Self-Publishing


When I decided to start writing my book in 2014, I chose self-publishing. As an author I knew there was a certain integrity and image that I wanted to uphold in my writing. I knew exactly how I wanted my book formatted, I knew the cover design I wanted and I knew exactly how much time and effort I wanted to put into production costs. Self-publishing allowed me to keep my creative integrity. I didn’t have to deal with agents, changing any of the content to make it more “marketable,” or changing the cover design. I was very meticulous about what I wanted, so I knew that I had to be in charge of the entire process.

The Writing Was Easy

I started my process with a simple outline that resembled pillars. I knew the broad topics that I wanted to cover such as Friendship, Love, Spirituality, Career, Body Image and so on, so those became my chapter titles, but then I asked myself “What about it?” What is it that I want to say about each of these topics? Through bullet points, I created my subtitles and took it a chapter at a time to develop. It took me a year to finish writing the book. The writing was easy. Once I had a solid outline and knew what direction this book was going to go in, the words just sort of poured out on to paper. Writing is my passion, it came easy to me, especially since I was writing about topics that I had experience dealing with and topics that I knew were easily relatable.

Editing Was A Bitch.

Seriously, the book was “finished,” but I now had 200 pages to edit. I had to slowly and carefully read each chapter checking first for grammar issues. Then I had to slowly and carefully read 200 pages of content again to make sure it all flowed. As a writer, we sometimes feel even finished products aren’t finished, so then I found myself adding more and more content. There was so much to say. So then I had to go back to step one. By the time I was finished (for real this time) I had about 6 versions of the same book saved to my hard drive. My book is definitely something that I am passionate about but editing over and over again, I started to get tired of reading it.

Create space was my saving grace.

After researching different self-publishing platforms I decided to go with Create space. The process was so easy. It just required me to upload my manuscript formatted the way I wanted in PDF form. Upload a book cover, and then pick from the option of color or black and white interior. Pick which platforms you want your book sold such as Amazon, etc. Once uploaded and submitted, the manufacturers alerted you to any possible issues in formatting. The book approval time is usually 24 hours. If you are pleased with the finished product you can then publish it for purchase. So easy.

Marketing is a continuous, never-ending pain in the ass hustle.

Because I chose to self-publish rather than go the traditional route, marketing and publicity was solely left up to me. The amount of sales I made a month, a week, and a day depended completely on the amount of effort I put into it. Having job, made it extremely difficult to balance my time, so I learned that my time was vital and so was the use of social media. Every day I would post to my channels promoting my book before it was even released. I learned the value of attending networking events, teaming up with similar brands, and also the excitement that came with vending and book readings. I had to put myself out there and really make good use of my time.

Two years ago before I started this process, being a published author was only a dream. I would have never been able to believe it would come true then, but now that it had, I am extremely happy about this long journey. I believe that when you do things with passion you get the same response from the people who look up to you most. I’m really not in this for the fame, or the money, I feel wealthy knowing how many people my words touch and inspire.

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