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  • Rachael Bell-Irving

Lessons Learned from Self-Publishing: In the Beginning

Self-publishing has its pros and cons It is easy for anyone to do. This also means that indie authors struggle to have their books taken seriously. For the sheer volume of books and the lack of quality control, because it is so accessible, many professional bloggers and promoters do not accept self-published book submissions. While you are paying to publish your book, you also get to keep decision-making power. This also means that, if you are new to the industry, there is a lot of stress and second-guessing. Did I make the right decision? You can get help, coaching, and guidance often through your self-publishing agency.... but that costs money too. Knowing that what you are putting out there is still your vision, however, it can be priceless. Here are three key lessons I've learned through Self-Publishing, so far...

Be Professionally Edited


Just do it. It is worth it. When you are publishing on a budget, there are ways you can cut corners to save money. Editing should not be one of them. No matter how many times you have friends, families, even strangers read the book – no one catches errors like a professional eye. If you’re worried about losing your artistic license – don’t be. You don’t have to agree with all the edits your editor makes. I do strongly recommend you listen to their suggestions. They are a professional for a reason – they have (hopefully) training, experience and a different perspective. It will improve the quality of your content and add a level of professionalism to your book. Seriously - do it.

Be Patient


This is the mantra I keep having to repeat for myself. In being so excited to see the final product, I skimped out on the quality of my book. Editing takes time, cover design takes time, marketing takes time. If everything isn’t up to your standard, then keep working on it. After all, you are the one fronting the costs. If you are going to go through with self-publishing, then invest the time to get the most value out of your investment.

Be Prepared


I have always planned to get my work published, but when I finally decided to get it done it was pretty much on a whim. I thought I was ready – I was wrong. There were lots of small details that I never gave thought to before I pursued publication. These details help drive your vision and streamline the publication process. Ask yourself: Who is your target audience? Describe the kind of person who would pick your book off of the shelf. What do you want the book to look like? Think front, back and internal design. Is your vision feasible within your budget? Has your manuscript been thoroughly edited?

I don’t know if any author pursues publication to make money. It is a costly feat, which takes a lot of time and effort. But it is your art, your story and a piece of your heart you are putting out into the world. Regardless of your motives, support, or publication method – that is scary. Whichever path you take with your creation, remember why you started in the first place. At the end of the day, you have written a book, and that is pretty awesome in itself.