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The World of Self - Publishing

The world is changing so fast. Back in the day when I signed up for my first class in Fiction Technique, the goal was to get your work published through a traditional publisher by sending in query letters or even a draft with a cover letter. Now the trend is leaning towards self-publishing. What once was called vanity press is now becoming the way to go.

Even if you were to attract the eye of a traditional publisher, you will be doing most of the marketing yourself. Your writing may be excellent, but a traditional publisher will look at your following, that is, how many people are interested in your writing online. You need to find an agent and be willing to wait a year or two or three when the publishing house is involved with your book. It is important to know as well that the author does not retain full rights to the work.

However, if you are looking into self-publishing, my first piece of advice is to do your research. There are companies just out there to take your money. Do your due diligence. Research the reviews, facts, and know exactly are you getting for your money.

As a website designer, I specialize in author websites. I asked several authors what advice they would give or companies they would recommend to someone looking into self-publishing.

Steps to Self-Publishing:

  1. Line Editor (checks your writing style, communication, creative content)

  2. Copy Editor (checks your grammar, spelling, facts)

  3. Formatting (someone who can format your writing for specific ebook or hardback/paperback publishers)

  4. Cover Design/Graphic Designer (Your cover is so important, it is best not to attempt the graphic design yourself unless you are a graphic artist.)

  5. Publisher

  6. Promotions/Marketing

Recommendations from Published Authors:

(If recommended specifically by an author, the author's name is included in parenthesis.)

Editors -

Cover Design -

Formatting -

Publishers -

Services & Education Packages -

Promotions -

There is the option of Hybrid Publishing. Hybrid is a bit of both worlds and you retain your rights as you do with self-publishing. There is a monetary investment (usually more than purely going on your own) and your work must be accepted by the Hybrid Publisher. The publisher generally does the work, such as editing, formatting, cover design and help with promoting your book to some degree, such as getting it into booksellers and libraries. Look at the fine print. Some may charge extra for editing or for cover design. You may need to hire your own publicist or pay for one associated with the Hybrid Publisher that you choose. Know the details.

Need a coach to walk you through some of these steps and filter out the unnecessary services and companies that promise the world?

Michelle Layer Rahal is a published author and writing coach that also offers guidance in the vast world of the self publishing journey.

Have you had experience self-publishing and know of some great resources for the "just starting out"?


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