The Uncertainties of Self-Publishing: Six Lessons I’ve Learned

self-publishing debut authors journey to self-publishing lessons learned as a self publisher childrens book
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I hesitated to share my self-publishing journey, but in a world full of success stories, before and afters. I thought it important to document my during.

For the last six months, I have been working through the process of self-publishing my debut children’s book. Everything from editing, soliciting feedback from friends and strangers, hiring an illustrator to researching on-demand printers/ distributors. 

Self-publishing has truly been a labor of love, full of delays and not at all the process I had envisioned, but we are here now and determined to make this thing a reality. 

As I continue on this journey and eventually hold the finished product in my hands,  I know that I will learn a lot more. 

6 Lessons I’ve Learned So Far:

Have Your Book Professionally Edited

Being a reading and writing teacher, I did not do this. I figured, I revise and edit writing daily. I got this. Don’t. I repeat don’t be like me. 

As the author, you are too close to the story. After reading and rereading it hundreds of times, your brain will eventually overlook errors and fill in things that aren’t there, but probably should be. 

Avoid the headache and the time you will waste. Hire a freelance editor.

Secure a Professional Illustrator that Loves Your story 

Illustrations are an incredibly important addition to your writing. They can bring your story to life helping readers better understand your characters and the lessons that can be learned from the characters.

I found one! I loved her work. We started the process and were finally to the coloring stage. 

I haven’t heard from her in about four weeks. The last time we spoke she and her family were dealing with a covid situation.

That brings me to my next gem.

Be Careful on Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr

Both platforms are great for freelancers and creatives. The only thing is you are working with someone that may be out of reach.( Completely virtual, no brick and mortar, not local, etc.)

The companies have great systems in place  like contracts, holding funds in escrow and timed deadlines to ensure that both parties are happy. 

Only thing is, life happens. 

Research a Printer and Distributor

I have been looking into Amazon and IngramSpark. With my current delays, I have more time to really make a decision, but right now, I am leaning towards publishing through both companies. 

Build Your Brand

  • Create a website and social media presence
  • Share Your Story/Why
  • Introduce Your Book and Characters in Unique Ways
  • Market
  • Sell

Share Reviews and Use Feedback to Grow

Reviews are essential to an author’s growth. Listen to your audience, use the feedback to perfect your craft, but also stay true to your style. 

I hope that theses 6 tips help you.

I am praying that my illustrator and her family are well and that I will hear from her soon.  Will you join me in that prayer?

I’ll keep you posted.

Writer T.