Self Publishing Your Book is The EASY Part!! (HOW TO)

Book1cover.newI was writing a message to a friend tonight and my thoughts wandered (as they often do when I write letters), into motivational speech mode. I ended up writing the following:

It is so freakin’ easy to self publish now that it is kind of embarrassing.

All you really need to self publish is a computer, Word, and internet access.

You don’t even need money!!! (that’s the awesome part)

Writing the book is really the hardest part. Not because it’s hard to write something (although that is a motivational obstacle as well – writing a GOOD book is far from “easy”) – but mostly because it’s the hardest thing in the world just to motivate yourself JUST TO WRITE.

I KNOW. I REALLY KNOW.

I’m a little nervous because now I have Book Two out, with a promise to have Book Three published by Spring, and I still have a lot of writing to do for Book Three. I’m PRAYING that I meet that deadline. I don’t know what my future holds this year. I might be insanely busy with freelance next month or two months from now, or get a new full time job soon – who knows – but regardless I know NOW is the time for me to get these books out, because NOW is the only time I KNOW I have.

Some people have been asking me how I’ve published my books, and I figure right here is a good place to write my “HOW TO” list!

1) Write your book. Don’t worry about the cover yet. Don’t even worry about how to publish it yet. Just write your book, and don’t let anything stop you from writing your book!

2) Create a free account with CreateSpace.com (I only advise it because I used it, because it was referred to me – it feels like a good place because it is so well connected with Amazon and Kindle – one stop publishing!). So far I am very satisfied with my results and experience there – and I’m not being paid at all to say that (not an affiliate).

3) When you’re ready to start, choose “ADD NEW TITLE” and go through the “GUIDED” steps.

4) You will first be asked to set up your title, etc. Don’t worry – you can change the title up until you approve the project to be printed, so don’t let that be an obstacle to move forward right off the bat. Then you’ll be asked to set up your book SIZE, which is important. Choose a size that you feel works best for you. I chose a size slightly smaller than what CreateSpace advised, and I’m happy. After you’ve chosen your book size, grab the TEMPLATE (I used the formatted template) to plop your story into. The hard part is finding where the templates are, so here’s a handy linky-doo: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/InteriorPDF.jsp – just scroll down to find the size you chose for your book. Easy-piece-y!

5) After you finally have the interior of your book proofed to a point you are satisfied, then you move on to the cover design. And here’s the good news to people who are afraid of this part… If you don’t want to pay someone to make a cover for you, and you are not a Graphic Designer/Illustrator yourself (or if you don’t have a friend named Wendy who would be happy to help you out – hint hint), you can simply choose from a gallery of PRE-designed cover templates right there on CreateSpace.com. Yep. Just add the written info on the template, customize (for some templates, if you want) with your own image/photo and VOILA! You have a cover for your book without any stress or cost. OKAY… granted. As a designer, I am well aware of the fact that the cover is a very important part of the book… but I am also a huge advocate of JUST GETTING THE JOB DONE. If you choose the route of creating a cover yourself, there is a template for that as well. Again, the hardest thing was FINDING OUT where to get that template. So, HERE: https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do

6) After you’ve either filled out your cover information on the template or uploaded your own custom cover, next is the proofing stage. It takes 24 hours for CreateSpace.com to review your files and check for print-problem areas. You’ll receive an email notification when it’s ready for your final proofing.

7) At this point, when your proof is ready for your final approval, you can review a digital proof, or order a printed copy to proof. The digital proof has worked for me so far, because I like the convenience of it, but it’s up to your personal preference.

8) Once you’ve approved your final proof, you’ll be asked to fill in the final information about your book which will appear on your CreateSpace.com sales page for your book. You will also have an option to create a Kindle version for your book (easy too).

9) CONGRATULATIONS! Your book is ready – time to promote the heck out of it! 🙂

If you are interested in independent publishing and still feel a little daunted by this process, I want to reach out here! Please comment to connect with me and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about it. I’m no expert yet, but I’m happy that now I can say I’ve actually gone through the process and have been getting started with the last part which is marketing/promoting my books! I have a feeling that is truly the hardest part. And don’t let people tell you that when you traditionally publish you don’t have to be involved with marketing/promoting. The more involved you are in promoting your own book, the better your book will do in the marketplace!

So I’m off to contact a few bookstores today. See ya later!

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Adding Gifties to my Book Orders – with Rubbermoon Stamps!

IMG_2464I’m having a lot of fun finding different things to gift along with the books I’m sending out. I just published my book, Wearing My Weird, a couple weeks before Christmas, and was SO excited to get some autographed copies out when I received my first batch! The first batch was sent during a time when I had some materials to make some little tag bookmarks. I didn’t have much time to get too crafty, but it’s fun to see what a simple amount of marker and rubber stamping will do to create a little something special.

When I purchase something from a creative person, I often am surprised by what I call “little gifties.” Just small little somethings that make me feel the person I purchased from is thankful for my order. I like to try to do the same for those who buy my autographed books!

For these little bookmarks, I simply used the following:

1) Some 1 x 2 ” tags.

2) Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (the same I use for signing the books – they are great because they don’t smear like other pens or markers!

IMG_24653) The typewriter Rubbermoon art stamp. What’s cool about this stamp is that the heart shape is separate from the typewriter stamp, so you can have fun with the little hearts. For this tag/bookmark I placed the typewriter at the bottom, and stamped the hearts to look like they’re emerging from the typewriter.

On the reverse side (not pictured) with the Artist Pen, I wrote little sayings related to the title of my book, like “Embrace your Weird,” “Write your weird,” or “Express your Weird.” I made sure to sign the bookmarks to show it was a little handmade something from me.

The next time I make a batch, I’d like to add ribbon/yarn tassels to the end, and do some painting as a base, to dress it up more. But sometimes I just have to go with simplicity to make sure I just get an idea out.

I’ve been having fun using various Rubbermoon stamps as simple embellishments like this, finding new, creative ways to use them simply when I don’t have much time to get artsy. Loving this easy tool!

The Publishing Dream of a 12-Year-Old Girl FINALLY Comes True!

1499473_10202539900319288_2051712005_nLet me tell you a story.

This is a story about a book that took 28 years (YES… YEARS) to become a glossy-covered reality!

In 1986-87 I hand wrote my book in two blank books when I was thirteen years old. Then I typed it up (104 pages typed – with a typewriter) to send out to publishers. I don’t remember how many manuscripts I sent out, but I received 3-4 rejection letters back. The first letter was a Canadian publisher and was quite a nice, supportive letter. The last one was merely a postcard form letter with my name written in the blank.

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Young author, Wendy, in Monroe, NC (that’s me in the flowered skirt in front) – sister Laura behind me, and Daddy at the grill!

I quickly lost hope of getting my book published and plummeted into a pit of self loathing for even trying. I burned several pages of my book (the ones I KNEW were horrible), and I cannot thank my younger self enough for NOT burning the whole thing.

In the year 2000 I took a Creative Writing course at my community which turned my writing life around. I needed material to bring in every week for eight weeks of the course, and with a lack of inspiration to write something brand new, I turned to my old manuscript to see if it was worth saving. There were bits of it that I still thought were good, and one chapter that even won an award when I was in high school. I decided to use the course to see if I could turn the book into something I could be proud of.

The course, taught by Debi Bucci, was the best writing course I’ve ever taken – not only because of Debi, but because of all the amazing and gifted writing friends I made through the class. I took this 8-10 week course TWELVE times during a 5-year span, and by the end I had two out of the three books COMPLETED, and learned more about editing my own material than I’d ever learned before – and I say this having graduated with a Minor in Creative Writing from CASE Western Reserve!

writing group

CAWG writing group turkey fry gathering (around 2005-ish). Left to right: Craig, Christy, Christine, Alan, and me. Craig’s dog, Tucker, in front wearing the cone of shame.

When our teacher, Debi, decided to move on, I was fortunate enough to be included in a writing group formed by my writing workshop classmates. I continue to meet with most of these people and we call our group CAWG (Cleveland Area Writers Group). Our group still meets monthly at The Coffee House in Cleveland’s University Circle, and I try to make it as often as I can (which has been seldom these past couple years, but not giving up).

Finally in 2012 I discovered NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo as convenient and cost-free resources to motivate me to add to my collection of chapters and to revisit them once more to fine tune and explore how I should actually complete the book(s). I decided I wanted to include illustration and ultimately decided to use loose doodle art in the book to make it look like something I would have scribbled down in my journal when I was twelve.

All along I’ve kept the original humorous and adolescent tone as was originally scribed. That was important to me, to keep it authentic to what the story was originally – a collection of thought-provoking memories by a 12-year-old girl. I was just as thoughtful at age twelve as I am now – I just know a lot more about writing, thank goodness!

Book1cover.new

My finished cover!

I’ve known for years that self publishing was the way to go for this book. Really, I have to admit… What publisher would say yes to an autobiographical story about a 12-year-old girl who moves from Canada to the States? I’m not interested in trying to morph my story into something a publisher would say yes to.

No.

What I am interested in (and this brings tears to my eyes) is to make Little Wendy’s dream come true. To publish her intimate stories of struggle, and to tell her she doesn’t need a busy editor behind a desk to give her validation that her story deserves to be printed and shared around the world. I love this little girl, Wendy, and I admire her for her courage and gusto to never give up on her dream.

So what was the final “boot in the rear” to getting this book OUT?

Perhaps it is because I’m turning forty soon.

Perhaps it is because I look at my own daughter, age eight, as she also exhibits an interest in writing and passion for books.

Or perhaps it’s because I have a huge pileup of book ideas that I need to get moving on, and this series just HAS to get out the door before I can move forward with the other projects.

Regardless, I’m glad the “boot in the rear” finally came.

Please check out my book website – the platform I set up for the book series. You can order an autographed copy directly from me, a print-on-demand copy from CreateSpace.com, or a Kindle version – links are all on the book website!

If you are a writer who is interested in self publishing your book, feel free to contact me. I am happy to share more about my experience with you! We writers need to stick together!  🙂 We need to CREATE-A-WAY!!!!

Blessings and YESsings to you!