Self Publishing Tips

Although opportunities for “indie” authors abound, selling your book is another challenge.  If you are considering self publishing, you may want to heed sage advice:

1. Find a networking organization that allows you share resources, learn from other “indie authors”, and promote your work.
One of the biggest lessons that I learned as an indie author is that there is strength in numbers.  Sometimes relying on your own wisdom, social networks, and contacts aren’t enough to reach masses.  You may have to use the resources of others. Likewise, someone else may need to use information or contacts that you possess.  Don’t be afraid to ask and share resources.  There are quite a few organizations out there whose missions is to help create a platform for resource sharing.  Among them are: Goodreads, SpaNnet, The Society of Authors, and (of course) Society of Independent Authors and Illustrators.

2. Mimic the big fish!
In order to truly be successful at marketing your book, you have to mimic the key players in the publishing industry. In this scenario that would be big publishing houses.  Consider the various ways they market their authors and try to employ some of their strategies.  If you are limited by budget, go for quality versus quantity.  In other words, brand your work the same way they would brand their authors.  Make your work look attractive, invest in quality and/or professional cover art, send out press releases, hire editors, and make sure that every piece of marketing material you distribute looks top notch!

3. Develop your online presence.
Your website (alone) may not be enough to drive the sales of your recently published books.  You may need to develop your online presence by having multiple streams of visibility.  It’s great if you have a blog for your book, a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc but you will also need high visibility on other sites as well.  You may need to place a few ads on Google, ask friends to sponsor your book’s fan page, or place ads on websites geared towards readers.

4. Seize the day!
If you ever wanted to make a name for yourself as an author, now is the time.  So many shifts are occurring in the way we communicate information that will make it easier for savvy indie authors to gain exposure!

Meet Lysa Taylor


Lisa was chosen as the Society of Independent Authors and Illustrators’ featured author.  She truly embodies all of the spirit and character of an emerging author, full of creativity and bursting with imagination.  Her work is more than captivating, it is absolutely spellbinding.  I had the pleasure of interviewing her for this blog.  Lysa will also be featured on our new social networking site  for authors.  Check out Lysa’s work and stay tuned for more great indie writers/authors!  Would you like to suggest a self published author?  Click here for more details.

How long have you been writing?

I would say my whole life but I don’t want it to sound like a cliché. I got serious about my writing when I was ten years old. This is around the time when I was really interested in African-American History. I wrote a book called the Birthday Wish. It was about a girl who made a wish to experience slavery so that she could have a better appreciation for her culture. I know that sounds like a crazy concept, but that was the first book I had ever written from start to finish.  My family told me that I had a gift for writing. It made me realize that I could write books just like the authors that I read about.

What is your most recent literary/artistic project?

I am participating in National Novel Writing month.  Also, I am currently writing my book entitled, The Sisters Eternal: Ava Faye. I am really excited that I stumbled across this event because it made me motivated to kick my writing into high gear.  I am more than half way finished writing it now, and I am pretty excited that I’ve gotten this far.

What inspires you to write?

Hmmm. I guess I like the fact that I can create worlds through the power of words. I have always had this huge imagination and I never knew what to do with it! Once I got into writing, I realized the immense power that an author has through the creativity that spills out through their pen onto paper. It’s amazing how an author can captivate an audience through words.

Who’s your favorite author and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite author, but I do have a favorite book.  It’s called Color of the Sea by John Hamamura. I really like this book because the way he described his characters made them come to life.  It was like I was in the WWII time period.  I could feel the character’s pain as he was torn between serving the American army against his home country of Japan.

What advice can you give to other authors or writers?

I would tell them to write every single day, even if it’s just one word or one sentence. I say this because writing is a craft.  If you don’t work at your craft every day then you won’t get better.

Where can readers go to find out more information about you or your work?

The Self Published Author as a PAWN

It is more than a bit disconcerting when you find tons of opportunities for self published authors to have their work recognized, but it comes with a price tag.  Really?  Do people actually believe that the self published author is a self published egoist who would pay any expense to receive accolades for their work? I would hope the response to that answer is a resounding no.  But I would  feel a bit at ease if your answer is split between:  a “maybe” or an “I don’t know”.   Before I dive head first into this rant, let me take a moment to explain the reason for an interruption in my Saturday bliss to pen this entry.  While completing my share of tweets for IAI, I ran across an advertisement for the Self Published Book Awards.  Eager to share this information with IAI’s growing twitter population, I gave it a once over and immediately began the process of linking the url to IAI’s website ( and twitter account (@IAIChicago).  Upon further investigation, I learned that  potential nominees had to pay a fee as a prerequisite for having their book reviewed.   Moment of silence begins now!

I not only neglected to broadcast that link to our small but growing “twitter-verse”, I was tempted to send them a nice email.  Okay, I’m lying.  I was tempted to send them a “not so nice” email.  After enduring what turned out to be a very conflicting internal struggle, I decided to focus that energy into a much better venture: searching for legitimate opportunities for self published authors.  I must say this was a grand endeavor but a rather useful one. Most of the opportunities for self published authors come with a price-tag which means that a lot more advocacy has to be done for this type of genre. Namely, traditional publishers and industry experts need to rethink the legitimacy of self published titles and their impact on the future.  As a professional librarian, I have seen quite a few bestsellers  by  authors who used self publishing as a launching pad for their literary careers, renowned authors such as:

In most cases and after having received quite a few letters of rejections from major presses, these authors continued their literary pursuits at their own expense.  However, they spent money to market, not legitimize their works.  Fact is, your work will speak for itself.  Large or small, there is an audience for every book written.  However, the great “publishing barrier” has created an unfair stigma on works without major presses behind them.  In my opinion, major presses aren’t the HOLY Grail for good literature, as evidenced by the list of authors above.  They are a good marketing and branding source for delivering content to the masses.  However, online  giants like Amazon are making that market more accessible to indie authors who are proving that being an “unknown”author  is only a minor obstacle.  It is  in no way indicative of the potential of their work. Therefore, the only price tag needed is the one donning the cover of  the self published author’s book.  IJS

My Review of “American Gods”

Although I am somewhat of a self-proclaimed “self publishing” enthusiast, I do find myself occasionally engrossed in books published through traditional presses. Let’s face it, a good book is a good book! I just finished reading two books for work. However, one title quickly emerged as a personal favorite. Check out the review that I originally posted to my school’s blog.

If you are a reader who is captivated by the supernatural, then consider perusing the pages of author Neil Gaiman’s fantasy based epic, aptly coined as American Gods. Described as one of Gaiman’s best and most ambitious work to date, this book is a spellbinding trip into a mystical world of the supernatural. In it, Gaiman chronicles the life of an ex-con, musingly named Shadow Moon, whose destiny is leading him towards a dark and luminous battle in life tantamount to Armageddon. The action begins as Shadow is released from prison to attend the funeral of his beloved wife who dies in a tragic car accident. In route to her funeral, by way of a stormy plane ride, he meets an oddly eccentric deity named Wednesday. Forewarned by Wednesday that a bigger storm is brewing, Shadow blindly accepts a job as the deity’s emissary. Shadow soon discovers that he is caught in between a battle of gods. His life and the fate of the American spirit are at risk with every choice he makes. With help from his deceased wife, Shadow weaves in and out of worlds unknown trying to complete complex and often confusing tasks. In the end, he learns several surprising lessons about his past life and what is to become of his future. This story is lauded by many as a timeless masterpiece and was awarded the 2001 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.

Andrea J

Once Bitten, Twice Shy!

So I happened upon this web article and it stated that 76% of all books published in 2009 were by self-published authors. The author explained that large publishing houses had started losing momentum due to the demise of traditional brick and mortar book stores. Oh, how I love democracy and the power of consumer spending to invoke change. But just as I was comfortably settling into the notion that the generalized stigma towards self-published authors had finally been eradicated, it happened. The article opened an old wound. The author referred to self-published books as a sort of vanity press.
As a self-published author, I am more than a little bit offended at the notion of having the blood, sweat and tears of my literary work, likened to the self-gratifying badges that people place on back of their cars. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing the soccer mom whose license plates read: HOT Mama. However, I believe that the courage to share one’s life story hardly reeks of vanity. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this might think it a little sensitive to whine about a mere rhetorical reference made by some “vanity” free-lance blogger. Sensitive as it may be, I have been and will always be an advocate for people who attempt to influence the world through pen and paper versus bullets and guns.
In my humble opinion, I think referring to self-published authors as vanity writers is a colorful way of dismissing our work without even turning a page. It is a prejudicial way of telling us that our voice is (insufficient) for print- especially if it is not authenticated by a famous life style, political scandal, or tragedy of epic measures.
But there are still a few of us, who read for the love of the literary journey and not for propaganda. So, if you must compare us to any thing- compare the self-published author to the undiscovered shores of an exotic island. Or, compare us to a hidden treasure deep in the ocean blue. Better yet, liken us to other self-published authors whose work preceded their notoriety. Compare our unsung value to the ever-growing list of independent pioneers:
Deepak Chopra
Gertrude Stein
Zane Grey
Upton Sinclair
Carl Sandburg
Ezra Pound
Mark Twain
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Stephen Crane
Bernard Shaw
Anais Nin
Thomas Paine
Virginia Wolff
e.e. Cummings
Edgar Allen Poe
Rudyard Kipling
Henry David Thoreau
Benjamin Franklin
Walt Whitman
Alexandre Dumas
William E.B. DuBois
Beatrix Potter
(Thanks to Dan Poynter’s website for this info; see