Jumping into the Fray of Self-Publishing

It’s spring! What better time to jump into the fray of self-publishing. It’s a time to blossom, so I’m going for it.

Yes, I’ve decided to self-publish my book, A Cry From The Deep, a romantic mystery. I resisted at first, because it’s a hell of a lot of work and money. Also, I know there are so many books out there, at last count, over two million on Amazon alone. Yikes! You have to be half crazy to think your book is going to stand out in that pool. But then again, as my husband says, cream rises to the top. I’ve got my fingers crossed, that my story will resonate with readers.

Magnolia Blossom by Diana Stevan

Magnolia Blossom by Diana Stevan

To be honest, I wanted to go down the traditional road—be validated in that way, get that agent and book publisher behind me, cheering me on—but though I’ve had interest, it’s not to be, and maybe that’s a good thing. I can pick my own cover (daunting, as I could pick the wrong one), and any books I sell, well, the little money that the majority of authors make these days, at least more of it will find its way to my pocket.

As for not having the traditional cheerleaders behind me, there’s no guarantee they’d be there anyway in today’s publishing world. Traditionally published authors now have to work almost as hard as self-published authors in getting the word out. They can no longer rely on their agents and book publishers for that kind of support.


Cherry Blossoms at Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver
by Diana Stevan


What bothered me most about self-publishing was the fact that the market is flooded with books that haven’t been edited properly. A lot of vanity published manuscripts. As an avid reader myself, and married to someone who also reads a great deal, we are both aware of how many badly written books there are for sale. How is the reader to know what’s worth buying? At least, with traditional books, you know the story has been vetted. What I’m hoping for is word of mouth, still the best way to get your book noticed.

So, having respect for the written word, I’ve taken a number of steps to ensure my book debuts in the best shape possible. And while I’ve been doing that, I’ve been consulting books like Martin Crosbie’s How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle , Anne R. Allen and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s How To Be A Writer In The E-Age, and Jonathan Gunson’s Bestseller Labs website.

I also talked to J. P. McLean, a writer who threw all caution to the wind and  self-published a very imaginative The Gift trilogy. She very generously shared with me her process.

Star Magnolia Tree in our garden by Diana Stevan

Star Magnolia Tree in our garden by Diana Stevan

Here are my steps:

1)     I’ve been so blessed to have my story critiqued by River Writers, a group I belong to in my community:  Kristin Butcher, a prolific and award winning children’s and YA writer; Jocelyn Reekie publisher and writer of children’s and YA books, Shari Green YA writer with a great blog, and Janet Smith, who is writing a science fiction novel.

2)     I’ve also shown my novel to a number of beta readers who’ve given me their thoughts. One of them, Karen Dodd, has recently published her own debut book to great reviews.

3)     I’ve had it macro edited by Marnie Wooding, who’s worked for a publishing house in the past and gave me great notes on my story.

4)     And then I had it copy edited by Laurie Boris, a beautiful writer herself, just to make sure I wasn’t putting out crap with spelling errors and poor grammar.

5)     Then, came the book cover. How I’ve agonized over this one, pouring over books on Amazon, looking at bestsellers, romances, trying to find what works and what doesn’t. Time will tell whether what I’ve chosen is the best one to illustrate what’s behind the covers. My book designer is finalizing the touches.

6)     And formatting. I’m currently in the process of getting that done through Quantum Formatting Services.

7)    And then I’m planning on getting it printed through CreateSpace, which gave me a free ISBN number. And I’ll get it on Amazon’s Kindle, too. Yahoo!!!

8)     But I still haven’t decided exactly when I’ll publish both the print and e-book versions. Will it be May? As I look at my magnolia tree, already blooming, I’m wondering if I can get it out before summer sets in and everyone has already bought their beach books. Or maybe I’ll wait until fall.

If you have any questions or comments about my process, I’m more than happy to let you in on my journey. Also, if you have anything to add, I’d love to hear that, too. Thanks.


12 thoughts on “Jumping into the Fray of Self-Publishing

  1. JP McLean

    Congratulations, Diana. And thanks for the shout out. Indie publishing is definitely more work, but look how far you’ve come and how much you’ve already learned! You’re amazing and you won’t be disappointed. I’m so glad you’re sharing your process and your contacts. I can’t wait to read A Cry From the Deep.

  2. Jocelyn Reekie

    Diana, you are a woman with many talents, astounding energy and vision. If anyone deserves to succeed at the self-publishing game, you do. Congratulations on all your achievements and all the best to you when you launch A Cry From the Deep.

  3. Rum Punch Drunk

    I’m wishing you all the best Diana. Sometimes we just need to get on with it, rather than relying on too many other people. Even if it’s a hard road to travel, sooner or later we get to our destination. And the best thing is, we did it ourselves and can do it again and again.

    Never allow the thoughts of others stifle your own growth. There will always be some who don’t want you to succeed. So show them who’s boss. CONGRATS. Have fun with it.

    1. Diana Stevan Post author

      Thank you so much. Glad to see you back here making a comment. What you say is so true. Sometimes, you just need to get on with it. I was looking at my journal and finding all those rejections and thinking what am I waiting for? Many have continued to submit, and after 150 rejections, they found that one person who had faith in their work. But even then, I’ve heard that their agent couldn’t find them a publisher. Or if they did, it took another three years to get their book out. That’s a lot of time, especially when it’s taken a long time to get to that first step. And I am having fun. I’ve found some wonderful resources, thanks to friends, some of whom I’ve mentioned on my post. Upward and onward.

  4. Marylin Warner

    Brava! Diana, your details about this process are very impressive and reassuring. Especially #2, #3 and #4. Your beta readers, mircro reading checks–all the extra sets of experienced eyes on your ms.–will make a big difference.
    I was recently asked to write a review for a fellow member of a professional writing organization, and I’d read early drafts of the book and loved the story. But for the final editing/reading checks, she was so excited and eager to get the book “out there” by her sister’s birthday (her sister is one of the characters in the novel, and she died last year) that my friend stayed up all night and did the checking herself. And when the publisher she hired asked if she wanted to read the galley proofs, she said she was sure she’d caught all the errors. She hadn’t, of course; we can be excellent line editors for others, but not so good when it comes to catching our own mistakes.
    You are so wise to take your time and get lots of feedback, Diana. This is so exciting, and I’m sure you’ll be thrilled when your book comes out!
    Marylin Warner recently posted…WHEN TO PLANT…AND WHEN TO WRITE FOR A CONTESTMy Profile

    1. Diana Stevan Post author

      Thanks, Marylin, for the support and encouragement. I am so mindful of the journey traditionally published authors take. In fact, I was stunned to discover it sometimes takes years (up to three) from the time an author gets a publisher to the time the book in question hits the bookshelves. There’s not only the editing but the marketing plan. We’ll see how it goes. It’s all an adventure.

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