Excellence in Self-Publishing…and Beyond

“I was told not to self-publish…it will kill your writing career before it starts.” This advice was pressed to author Lisa Genova from a literary agent just a short time before she did self-publish her novel on early onset Alzheimer’s, Still Alice. 

Genova did self publish—and flourished. She spent a year successfully selling and promoting her book. Several media spots in her local Boston area helped gain a wider audience and shortly after winning the Bronte prize for excellence in romantic fiction her book was auctioned out to traditional publishers on a six-figure contract.

It’s no secret that self-publishing is gaining steam in the book world in it’s own right, with it’s own advantages. And in the case of Genova and many other authors, self-publishing can be a calling card of sorts, helping get your book noticed all over the industry, and even in those big (often cloistered) traditional houses.

While it is never guaranteed that any particular book will be picked up by a traditional publisher, there are a few key elements in self-publishing that will help your book gain as much attention as possible. And why not enjoy all those advantages of successful self-publishing, regardless. 

  1. Custom Cover Design. You’ve got great content, pertinent and insightful. Truly great words to share. How do readers find those words? A professionally, custom designed book cover.
  2. Cover Scribing. Now your cover has sparked interest. Where to next? The book back cover or webpage synopsis. Writing sales copy is a specific skill. Have a professional copywriter help sharpen those few, important paragraphs.
  3. Editing. Now you’ve got an open book in reader and reviewers hands. What will they find? A published author and professional editor once commented that even after proofing her manuscript for the 50th time she couldn’t manage to catch many apparent problems. An editor herself, she reluctantly opted for another professional editing service—and claimed that decision to be among the most significant in her entire publication.

These 3 key elements are among just a few of the services and options available with the rapidly growing world of full-service self-publishing.

As always, have fun and keep writing!


Karl Schroeder

3 thoughts on “Excellence in Self-Publishing…and Beyond

  1. It’s always been my perception that potential publishers are looking for an author that’s going to produce more than one book in order to give them a return on their investment. They therefore want details of your writing experience when you first query.

    Surely, producing a book under your own steam and showing you’re serious about writing can only be to the good. It shows an author has what it takes to see a project through to the end and not bale out half way through. And the more popular self-publishing becomes, the more acceptable this route will be, particularly with niche publications that might struggle to find mainstream backing.

    My experiences with self-publishing through LULU.com have been completely positive. The only downside is that self published = self marketed so you need to be prepared to be proactive when it comes to sellng. However, that only adds to the fun and sense of achievement.

    To anyone reading this, I’d say, go for it!

    Elaine Saunders
    Author – Fiction Writing Exercises and A Book About Pub Names

  2. Writing a book is one of the most self-actualizing activities a person can engage in and I mean this for both fiction and non-fiction authors. But once the book is done, the author either submits it to a publisher or decides to self-publish. Either strategy takes a lot of time and requires a monetary investment and this investment begins for all authors at the editing stage. It’s expensive, but the pay-off is huge.

    For self-publishing authors, the investments go on to cover book cover design, book printing and book marketing. The key is to have a plan, both a promotional plan and a financial plan. It’s not hard to build a plan, but many authors skip this vital step.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I couldn’t agree more. We will continue to see the advantages of self-publishing grow in the book world. In fact, the landscape as we currently know it stands to look completely different over the next decade as self-publishing gains growing presence.

    You’re right, self-publishing = self-marketing. I’ve seen this even at the traditional level. While many self-publishers sit at one end of that spectrum—offering no post-publication support, many other self-publishers are developing extensive marketing resources and options now. The difference is key. Do you just want to have a printed and bound book, or do you actually want to have a high-quality published book that has the potential to sell? Kelly talks a lot about those here on our blog.

    Planning, direction, and relentless sense of investment are critical elements. I like the direction self-publishing is taking and love to hear these author success stories. Congratulations on your work.

    – Karl Schroeder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s