I have just self-published my fantasy novel, Starlight Jewel! Also known as Broken Glass on here. I didn't want to confuse people and change the placeholder title while folks were still reading. For anyone interested, it’s available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and ebook format (preorder, available Tuesday), and it will also be available in Kindle Unlimited on Tuesday. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BDXVT9B3?re … _397514860
The hardcover will be available at some point, but Barnes & Noble Press is being difficult to work with and I may be switching to IngramSpark.
I would have never considered publishing without the help of TNBW. I came here to learn to write better in the hopes that my writing would not be so unbearable to me. I didn’t think my book could be fixed to the point where it wouldn’t embarrass me. I’m elated at how much my book improved with the help of those here and with how much I’ve learned.
1 year of writing, 1.5 years of editing/learning how to write again.
I did not attempt to find agents or publishers. It’s my first book, I felt like that might be stressful, and I really didn’t want an editor mucking around in there. I feel like I’m still developing my voice and skills as a writer, and I kind of want to continue on that trajectory of learning and growing at my own pace without the pressure and interference.
I’m not putting any pressure on myself through this process as I need to take care of my health and I don’t want writing to become a chore. It’s my indulgent compulsion, and I want it to stay that way.
I have an Instagram to advertise on (@lyons_pen), an author website (lyonspen.com), and I’m getting some ads in a few places. On social media, you can connect them all so posting in one place will automatically post to others.
Some points of interest in the process of self publishing:
Making a cover: You can’t make a book cover until you know for certain how long your book will be as the spine width determines the dimensions of the template. However, I did have the art done digitally before that, and had the artist send the layers over so that the cover designer could play with them. The artist is a friend, the cover illustrator is a coworker who does website management and website design. Neither of them have ever done a cover before and neither spoke to the other. Despite that, I think they did a great job. Lyonspen.com/books has the cover, the map, the frontispiece made by another friend, and character/world descriptions.
Make sure your artist/designer has all the formatting/template/dpi information required by KDP (or whatever place you’re using).
The templates for ebook, paperback and hardcover are all different sizes even if you’re getting the same size book. I chose 6x9 for both hardcover and paperback as even after major cuts, when using 12pt Garamond font, the book is 493 pages long.
KDP does not have linen/cloth/leather hardcovers or dust jackets. They only have case laminate. The main options for books with jackets are Lulu, IngramSpark, and Barnes & Noble Press. Each have pretty hefty drawbacks.
B&NP has no option for cover text, just a blank book under the jacket, even on the spine. They keep your book in limbo if you want an author proof—but they don’t tell you that until you already click the button. A 1-2 week review if you want to think about ordering an author proof, which prevents you from being able to edit the book or publish it in that time. Another 10+ days if you actually want to go through with the order of the author proof after the review, and again, you can’t edit or publish the book in that time. That’s where my hardcover is now, on its 5th day of being printed. Who knew it took 10 days to print one book? Again, there was no indication when ordering the proof (after the review) that I wouldn't be able to publish during this time. If I had not made the order for the proof, the book would now be available. This is all baffling since there’s no review process to actually publish.
The other options: Lulu is very expensive. IS is not user friendly and makes you jump through a lot of hoops just to get started. There’s a lot of agreements to sign, nothing seems to work properly, and it’s a pain. I’ll probably switch to them anyway since B&NP support is terrible and I can't imagine working with them for the rest of this series.
Paperback author proofs take 6 days to arrive from KDP, and hardcovers take a few weeks.
A list of pre-publication things:
Pen name/DBA (required by the state of VA)
Sole proprietorship (required by the city of Virginia Beach)
Covers (1 for paperback, 1 for hardcover, 1 for ebook)
Atticus for formatting (like KDP, this just takes out a lot of the work and stress)
Barnes & Noble Press Account
Amazon Author Page
GoodReads Author Page
More ad designs and ad running
Sending out books to reviewers/family
Updating author site with links and such
Other stuff I probably haven’t thought of yet
The amount of mishaps from the start to end of this list are pretty numerous. My facebook account is currently restricted from running ads and they won’t tell me why; my poor designer has had to resize and reformat a plethora of images because of page count changes or to fit different social media requirements (currently he needs to redo the map and frontispiece to 600ppi for IngramSpark); I spelled my real name wrong while submitting my DBA paperwork and had to cancel it and buy it back with my name spelled right—just to name a few of them.
However, I feel it’s gone pretty well overall and am excited to face the judgment of fantasy readers everywhere. Thank you to everyone at TNBW for taking time out of your lives to be generous reviewers!