Dipping my toe into the self publishing world

Friday, March 8, 2013
So, I've been tossing around the idea of self publishing one of my stories because I'm all curious what it's like. As of right now, I'm pretty positive I will be since I've already sent off my deposit to reserve my spot with the cover artist! Kind of just committed myself there, huh.

Now...here is how I got to this spot.

It all began like any other book. I finished the story and sent it to friends for critique/advice/feedback (it's actually still in the phase too!). But...Instead of writing a synopsis and query letter for submission, this is where everything got totally new for me.

First, I decided on what kind of outside help I was going to need.

I know I am no grammar queen, so I knew I needed an editor. But I also wanted more than one professional eye to look over the story, so I thought having a proofreader would be good too.

I have no talent with making book covers (trust me, I've doodled around and actually tried to make some--they all sucked).

And I was too afraid I'd screw something up if tried formatting, so I wanted to hire someone else to format my story for publication as well.

ERGO, I needed to pay for the services:
-Cover Art &

While I was browsing the Internet on the search for these great Editor/Proofreader/Cover Artist/Formatters, I nominated an unsuspecting blogger buddy to be my mentor. So, Carol Kilgore was dragged unwillingly onto the scene. Yes, you may feel very, very, sorry for her.

But she took her new position with great stride and offered up some amazing advice.

The first thing she said to me that was very helpful was to contact the people I wanted to work with early on because I would no-doubt be put on waiting lists.  This hadn't occurred to me before. I had planned on waiting until I was ready for them, thinking they'd just be sitting around, knitting booties and waiting for me to need their service.

I was wrong! 

By this point, I had a list of possible places I wanted to employ for each service I needed. I accumulated this list by learning who people I knew have used, or because I knew people in the company, or because I'd personally worked with these people through one of my publishing houses. So it made me feel a little more secure that they were fairly reputable. 

Here is my list possible people to contact for each  service.

Cover Art
(another amazing piece of advice from the wonderful mentor: make sure the artist creates both ebook and print covers if you plan to publish under both formats because not all of them do. Thank you again, Carol!)

Amanda Kelsey at Razzle Dazzle Design
B Design
Creations by Kendra
Creativeindie Covers
Elaina Lee @ For the Muse Design
Estrella Cover Art
Hot Damn Designs
Mina Carter
Mystical Press Services
Okay Creations
Rae Monet
Stanz Alone Design
Victoria Miller

Editing / Proofreading

Devin Govaere
Finish the Story
Laura Josephsen 
Mystical Press Services
Sally Berneathy
Victoria Miller

(This list was a little harder to accumulate because not a lot of people go around praising their book formatter like they do their cover artist! Plus, I'm sure some people learn to format their own stories)

Ebook Convering
Finish the Story
Laura Josephsen
Hot Damn Designs

(I forgot to mention that these people and places either cater to or work with the romance genre I write; that's another reason they made my list!)

If you're curious, I decided to go with Laura Josephsen for editing (because I worked with her for my story The Color of Grace and loved her. Plus I knew she also freelance edited).  I contacted Okay Creations for cover art. I am SOOOO in love with every cover made by Sarah Hansen. And I chose Finish the Story self-editing services for proofreading and formatting because I'm good friends with a staff member, I liked the idea of bundling a few services together, and the prices were decent!

Carol was so right about the waiting list. The editor couldn't get started until May, and the cover artist was booked up until July. Whew!  I'm so glad I contact them early.

So that's where I am now in my journey on the self-publishing road. As I'm still revising and fixing my story, I'm sitting on waiting lists. Feels like I've already gone so far and learned so much, when really I haven't even gotten started yet.

This is going to be one interesting ride.

Do you have any helpful tips or names of good artists, editors, or formatters to add to my list?


  1. I use Stanz Alone. Her prices are among the best and I love her work.
    Formatting I was going to suggest I send you docs to do it yourself to save $$$
    I can't offer advise on anything else because all my books were edited by the publisher who went out of business.
    Some day I'll need an editor though.

    Good luck!

  2. Linda, I'm right behind you on this business of indie publishing. I'm switching genres with my next book and have decided to try self publishing just to see how it works. I also REALLY want to design my own cover. I've started my own cover design and editing business and figure I can afford to pour lots of extra time and effort into my own covers. However, the whole idea of formatting gives me the willies. Not sure if I'll try that on my own. I wish you huge success in your new venture!

  3. I know Stanz Alone. She's great to work with. Also Rae Monet's work is stellar! Good luck with it. I'll be asking you advice when I decide to dip my toe in that pool.

  4. Oh...thanks for the shout out! I was happy I could help. And you thought I was kidding about the wait list - LOL :)

    Happy Weekend!

  5. Well...I may be biased...but I love Victoria. She was my cover artist for 2 of my 3 books. :) I wish you incredible success on your road to self publishing!

  6. First, let me say "Thank you!" for including Mystical Press Services on your lists! AJ & I are honored! Second, based on what you've said, you're taking a very responsible and positive approach to self-publishing. We writers cannot do everything, especially edit our own work, so you're on the right track to producing quality work. The only way we indie authors can stick out is to look as good as or better than the what the Big Publishing Houses are producing.

    Once you've published your book, the real work begins: marketing and publicity! That's a whole other animal! Our writer's group had a shop talk meeting tonight about that very topic. Oy! LOTS of work, but we need to get our books in front of readers: Book bloggers who love your type of book, book tours (worth every penny) and social networking.

    Kristen Lamb has a great book called "We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Networking". GREAT resource.

    The best advice we got tonight was to "stalk" author whom you respect and are selling their books well to find out what they're doing to promote their books. Then copy what they do.

    Good luck, Linda!! I wish you all the best!!

    That's my two pence...
    Arial ;)

  7. Thank you!! I'm so thrilled to get a chance to work with you again--I loved The Color of Grace and I'm looking forward to editing this book. :D

    You sure are doing your homework and giving yourself plenty of time to do this! It's an exciting journey to take; I hope you have a lot of fun with it. :D