Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie Author

For some time now, I’ve wanted to create a series of posts about my journey into self-publishing and the lessons I’ve learned. Up until about a year ago, like most writers, if you’d asked me whether I’d ever considered self-publishing, I would have stuck my nose up in the air, made one of those huffing sounds fat old British gentleman make, and answered you with a firm and superior sounding, Of course not!

So, what changed?

Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie AuthorI could say the publishing industry changed, but I think the more correct answer would be: eBooks changed the publishing industry.

EBooks have given authors the opportunity to publish their work for, if not totally free, then, a minor cost. Authors now have the opportunity to not only maintain control of their work, but also receive a higher percentage of the proceeds. In addition, with print on demand publishing services like Amazon’s CreateSpace, an author can offer a paperback version, as well, without needing to make space in their garage for cases of books that have set them back a second mortgage or two.

Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie AuthorDoes it all sound too good to be true? I’m going to surprise you and say, it’s not…but if you think you can whip out a book, upload it to Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, or one of several other outlets on the internet, and then sit back and wait for the money to roll in—think again. Since I uploaded WHEELS to Amazon, I’ve never worked so hard.

Let me put it this way…In addition to writing the book, you, the self-published author, are also in charge of:

Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie Author

And that, in a nutshell, has been my life for the past few months. Oops…I forgot the most important thing:

You must do all the above, and find time to write another book!

Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie Author

But fear not, dear authors, for over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some lessons I’ve learned–many most of them from my own failures—and begin providing you with links and resources to help you on your own journey into the world of self-publishing.

Next up…

      Book Covers: What To Do, What Not To Do, And Online Resources


14 thoughts on “Self-Publishing, Part 1: Lessons From An Indie Author

  1. Jaleta Clegg says:

    Thanks for posting a fair and balanced look at self-publishing. It’s a lot of work to publish your own book and the work doesn’t stop once your book hits the virtual shelves. I chose to go with small press publishing. I didn’t have to do copy edits or cover design or deal with the layout and formatting (although I know how). I did spend a lot of time editing and revising and polishing. And I spend a lot of time marketing and promoting. Just like a self-pubbed author. I’d love advice.

    Now if only I could convince people that POD is a printing method, not a publishing model…


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      There are some good, as well as easy to use, programs out there that help make conversion to the different formats easier. I’ll talk about some them in future blog posts, but for now, if you’re looking for one, I suggest calibre. Not sure if it works with PCs, but it does work well with Macs.


  2. Rick Daley says:

    I think there is a mid-level between self-publishing and traditional publishing: Indie Publishing. Indies are not the do-it-all-alone crowd, they will source professional cover design, thoroughly edit their works, and approach the publication process like they are setting up a small business. Self-publishers are more along the lines of the real vanity projects intended for friends and family, but not the population-at-large.

    the landscape is definitely changing, and while ebooks are empowering authors like never before, the increased quality in print-on-demand (POD) services is helping even more.

    It’s a good time to be a reader and a writer. The opportunities are endless.


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      Interesting. I’ve always defined Indie publishing as self-publishing. Since indie stands for independent, they basically say the same thing. As you’ll see, if you continue to read my posts on this topic, learning to source out things like art and editing is an important part of becoming a successful indie/self-published author. Additionally, I plan to provide links to help people either access or find out more about these services. (Personally, I think people use indie publishing because it sounds cooler than self-publishing…but I could be wrong:)

      Vanity publishing, in my mind, is reserved for those who don’t want to do the work associated with self-publishing. As you noted…perfect for projects intended only for family and friends.

      Whatever definition you use, you’re right, it’s a great time to be a reader and a writer! I appreciate your comment…I’d love to know what other people think.


    • Jaleta Clegg says:

      I consider myself an Indie author though I’m published through small presses. I don’t do the cover art, or pay for the editing, or pay for anything or put the book out there. The publisher does that for me in exchange for a portion of the income.

      But I still do most of my own marketing.


  3. Amber J. says:

    I’m new to the Lorijo Metz fandom. I bought WHEELS after we became Twitter-buddies and although I just started reading it I already love this story.

    I’m even more psyched to see you’re giving advice about self-publishing. Even though my favorite author is an indie (I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Addison Moore) and I read just as many books by indie authors as traditionally published ones, it seems so hard to get authors to divulge any real information about their self-publishing journey.

    My MS will probably never see the light of day but I will definitely be following your blog from now on to see what helpful info you provide. Thanks so much in advance for sharing. Now I must go back to reading WHEELS!


  4. Lorijo Metz says:

    Thanks, Jaleta. The truth is, even with “large” publishing houses you still have to do most of your own marketing. Thinking like an indie author–or rather, working like an indie author–will help you no matter what.


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