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  • Writer's pictureJamie Lee Fry

How to Self-Publish Part 2

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

Welcome back! Thanks for sticking around for Part 2 of my How to Self-Publish blog series.

I want to start this blog off by getting real with you for a second. There used to be a lot of stigmas around being an Indie Author. Many people will ask you questions like, why aren't you going the traditional route or assume you failed because you aren't going through a traditional publishing house. Self-Publishing has changed a lot over the past decade and now is a desirable choice for many aspiring authors. Going the indie author route is a wise choice if you want to keep creative control of your work, higher royalties, and longer shelf life for your book. Of course, with most pro lists, you can always find a con list as well. Take a long look at my publishing plan. See what areas are a con for you. If you have many cons, you might want to consider going in a different direction.

For me, I chose to self-publish because I saw this as more than just getting my book published. I saw this opportunity as an author-entrepreneur career in the making. I love learning new things and am always researching something new to master. When I realized I could self-publish, I threw myself into this world. I watched videos, took webinars, spoke with people in this industry, and looked for new strategies to succeed. The idea of being an author-entrepreneur was exciting for me. I have big plans and intend to do more with my business than just publish my work. While writing is the most significant part of our job as an author, there is also more to it. You may be saying, well, Jamie, I only wish to get my books published. Do I really have to do everything you are suggesting? Well, my friend, the answer is no, you don't. I want to grow my author business, and I'm in this for the long haul. If you feel the same way, then great, I will have a lot more to share with you. If your answer is no, then that's great too. Just take the advice you find helpful and apply what you need.

Self-Publishing isn't always going to be easy. Most of the time, it's a lot of work, but I know it will be worth it!

In Part One, we covered creating an outline vs. being a pantser, completing our first draft, and editing our first draft.

Now on to the next steps I promised.

Step 4: Hire Your Editors

Yes, you read that right. I said hire your editors. If you are serious about getting your book published, you will want to start searching for editors now. If self-publishing is something you've already decided to pursue, you will want to begin this process. Yes, you still have a lot of work ahead of you before your editor can take your manuscript, but good editors book up well in advance.

Here are the different types of editing

  1. Developmental/ Structural Editing

  2. Copy/Line Editing

  3. Proofreading

Do you need all three edits? My answer is maybe. I'm going to take a little detour here.

As we discussed earlier, Indies Authors have a stigma around them. This is going away day by day, but we must produce traditional quality work to diminish this stigma. You can't assume spell check or Grammarly will catch every error. Those services don't detect plot holes, pace, tone, and character development. They will check grammar and punctuation, but how often do you still find errors? It's wise to have another human being look at your manuscript. Some authors will cut costs here but spend a lot on a cover designer or marketing, but you're doing yourself a disservice here because your reviews might be full of complaining. Have you ever read an Amazon review where the reviewer was writing about spelling errors and plot structure? I've seen them. They dismiss your entire story and months of work to point out silly errors you could've avoided. You don't want your page filled with one-star reviews because of spelling errors, do you? You want people to enjoy your story.

Now back to the editing types.

  1. Developmental/Structural Edits typically cost the most as they are the most detailed. This type of editor will look at the big picture of your manuscript. They will check for plot holes, character development, pace, tone, narration, and tension.

  2. Copy/Line editing will check for spelling and grammar, and punctuation. If you only do one type of editing service, this one is a must.

  3. Proofreaders are usually the cheapest editors. They are your last line of defense before publication. They shouldn't have a lot of errors to find if you hire the first two types of editors. Everyone is human and makes errors even professional editors.

While researching, the advice I found was if you are a first-time author, it's recommended you use all three types of editors. This can be costly for an indie author. One of the cons of self-publishing is that you have to pay for all your services yourself. I highly recommend doing more research on editors before jumping in. You could cut costs by having your friends and family do a final proofread for you. If you hire the first two editors, you will be less likely to have a lot of errors.

I used a website called Reedsy to find my editor. Reedsy is a little higher priced, but you can find more experienced editors on this site. It's safe to use, and all freelancers are vetted and approved. No matter what service you use to find an editor here is a little bit of advice for you.

You will want to search for editors that work specifically in your genre.

Don't be afraid to ask for a sample edit.

Shop around and compare. If someone sounds too good to be true, chances are they are. Does your timeline match up with their schedule?

What are their fees and fine print?

Do they offer discounts if you book more than one type of edit?

Do you want the same editor to do all your edits, or would you rather have multiple sets of eyes on your book?

Put your best foot forward and be professional when approaching editors.

Another thing to consider is that you and your project might not be a good fit for them, and they could reject you.

I looked at six editors before committing to one, weighing out the difference between each of them. The editor I wanted to work with was booked out three months, but I knew she was the right person to work on my novel. I liked her style of editing, and she was prompt in her communication. She's also worked with some well-known authors, so to me, it was worth my time waiting for her.

Moving on to the next steps in my publishing plan.

Step 5:

Set up an LLC.

Create a DBA.

Obtain EIN with IRS.

Open a Bank Account.

This step is entirely optional. Do more research to determine if this step is right for you and your future as an author. Most authors will wait to create a business until they are sure they will have a business as an author. If you aren't making any money, is it worth your investment to set up a company?

I'm going to discuss why this was the right choice for me. I'm not a legal expert or an accountant, so this is just my experience and what I interpreted to be accurate.

Like I said earlier, being an author-entrepreneur is a future I want to grow into, and I plan to write many books and provide services in the future. I also formed other streams of income that I will elaborate on in a future blog. I wanted to keep my finances separate going forward. My husband and I thought creating an LLC was the right choice for us. We filed our LLC ( limited liability company) with the state of Oregon, and once we were approved, I created a DBA (doing business as). My DBA is my publishing company, Big Mountain Publishing. Both of these filings had a cost associated with them.

Do you need a publishing company? Not necessarily. From my understanding, it's nice to have a publishing company if you publish on Ingramspark and Amazon KDP, but I don't think it's essential. I know for sure on KDP you don't have to have your own imprint. I'm not 100% sure about IngramSpark. If you use their free ISBN's, you have to use their publishing imprint (publishing company) instead of using your own. So the answer would be no if you are planning to use a free ISBN. I will elaborate on ISBN's in a future blog.

I plan to buy my own ISBN's, and I want to look more professional, so I want to use my own publishing imprint. This is just my personal opinion here.

Once you set up your business, you will need to register it with the IRS. You will then obtain an EIN, which is pretty much a social security number for your business. You will need this number when setting up your tax information with your print-on-demand companies.

Once your paperwork to create your business is approved and you've filed for your EIN, you will want to open a bank account for your business to keep your personal and business finances separate.

Step 6: Create a Logo for your Publishing Company

Once again, this is an optional step. It's also a fun step if you choose to create a logo.

I hired a graphic designer on Fiverr to create my logo. He was fast, professional, and got the work done in the time quoted. I paid a little extra to have the rights transferred over to me. I suggest doing the same if you want to use the logo on your books. It's just a legal thing that I didn't want to chance.

Below is my publishing company logo.

Well, thanks for sticking around for Part Two in my How to Self-Publish blog series. I know today's blog was a lot to ingest. Take your time and do some research, and the answers will come to you. Only you know what is right for you. I can only offer my experience and advice based on what worked for me. Good luck, and I will see you in Part Three.

I linked a book that I found helpful on self-publishing. It's a quick read that's worth taking a look at.

(This is an affiliate link and I do get paid a small percentage if you use it to purchase.)

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