"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, October 4, 2012

In the Silence: One Author's Venture into the Universe of Self-Publishing

Image property of Efi Loo Publishing

After publishing my last post on June 26, (click here), where we explored what I learned by taking a blogcation, I had an epiphany.  I needed to take my own advice!  So, I made a conscious decision to become silent . . . online that is.

They say silence is golden.  In my opinion, whoever “they” are failed to mention that the golden part comes with a price.  A three-step price.  Step one; a splash of self-determination, step two; a smidgen of self-doubt, and step three; a dousing of frustration.  But, in the end, every price has its payday.

Let’s explore:

For some of you, venturing into the universe of self-publishing is nothing new.  Perhaps, you entered it many moons ago and have been flourishing in its frontier of possibilities ever since.  However, for others, perhaps like me, you want to board the ship, but in a small way hope the engines never fire up for fear of them exploding before you ever leave the ground. 

In May, I wrote a short story for my Nephew’s second birthday titled, Shells For Hunter.  Being my first venture into self-publishing, I felt the story was the perfect size to use as my “test” subject, and besides, it is a darling little story.  

Having a completed story, I set off to self-publish my first book!  How hard could it be?  I had written the story in four days, what, with another four days of re-writing, a little self-editing, create an Amazon account, download my cover art and story, and boom, my book would be up and published in no time, ready to be read to children all over the world!


Enter step one: A splash of self-determination.  After spending two weeks making sure every adjective, sentence, and punctuation was the best I could make it, Shells For Hunter was ready to rock and roll!  

Enter step two: A smidgen of self-doubt. Wait, if Shells For Hunter were being published by another publisher, wouldn’t they send it through their editorial department to be proofed by a highly trained and skilled professional?  After reading through the draft for the umpteenth time, perhaps I did have a misplaced comma here or a misused semi-colon there.  If I’m going to put my name on something, it is going to be done right!  

Thanks to my inner-connections of networking through the internet, I had recently befriended a wonderful editor in Australia, Dionne Lister.  She had recently edited a book I find to be an absolutely hilarious take on becoming a writer, (The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness), and so we agreed to do business together.  I am so thankful for Dionne’s services.  She was quick to respond, always willing to address questions and even met with me face to face via Skype!  Glad we did, she has a really cool accent!  

Finally, after having Shells For Hunter professionally edited, it was time to really get things rocking and rolling!

Enter step three: A dousing of frustration.  I spent many years in the corporate world transitioning from typing on an IBM select typewriter to whizzing my fingers across the keyboard of a word-processor and beyond and from creating ad-hoc reports to creating Excel spreadsheets, so I’m no stranger to technology.  I knew about converting my manuscript into an EPub file before downloading to Amazon.  No big deal, piece of cake.  

For the love of Pete!  

After spending another month researching and learning to reformat my manuscript, (you see, I work on a Mac), I knew the rocking had to be over and it was time to start rolling.
Double Screech! 

Lucky for me, I have a business partner that is a highly trained professional, my husband!  In comes one last step to the silence is golden price....oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Needless to say, Shells For Hunter was finally ready to rock and roll and no matter its future, I’m glad those engines fired up and propelled me into the universe of self-publishing.  

My advice?  If you are toying with the idea of venturing into the self-publishing world, go for it!  But, be prepared to pay the price and, hopefully, you have people or business acquaintances that will be there to assist you in your journey. 

What lesson did I learn?  That silence is golden and its path is worth the price.      

Would I do it again?  Only the future will tell.  

Until next time,

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin