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want to write a book?Experienced authors share the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing

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Michelle Talzma Everson

A lot of hats to wear, but self-publishing gives you full control

This article is reprinted with permission from

Cindy Kibbe, writing under the pseudonym CK Donnelly, is the author of The Kinderra Series, an award-winning set of young adult fantasy novels. Like many of her authors, she self-publishes her own work.

It is becoming more and more common for authors to publish their work. This is thanks to technology that allows you to print one copy only after receiving your order and payment. Recent figures from WordsRated, a non-profit data analytics group, show that sales of his self-published books have increased 264% over the past five years, averaging 300 million copies annually, earning $1.25 billion. is raising

Navigating the world of self-publishing isn’t easy for beginners, but some authors who have managed to do so are happy to offer advice. Much of it was learned the hard way.

“I never chose to self-publish from the beginning,” says Kibbe. “I had hoped to have a literary agent represent me and be published traditionally… unfortunately, after a year of querying and over 100 rejections, that never happened. In order to read the sequel, I had to self-publish it.”

“I am very proud to have achieved this goal and published three books that readers will enjoy,” she adds. “It’s been a difficult road.”

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Advantages of self-publishing

Author Scott Hanson has self-published two books, Who is Gym? and “What’s your number?” after unsuccessfully pitching the book to a traditional publisher in his home state of Arizona. considered a local publisher to be his best bet.) Although the rejection letter from the publisher was difficult to swallow, self-publishing had some advantages.

“I think it’s a benefit to have 100% control over the cover artwork and the overall content of the book,” says Hanson. “Giving a book as a gift is also an advantage of self-publishing. Writing and publishing a non-fiction book automatically gives the author professional status. In my case, I am from Arizona. Recognized high school sports expert, dozens of interviews statewide.”

Gaila Kline-Hobson has published three books for young adults, “The Chosen’s Calling” on Amazon (AMZN). Her former teacher Klein Hobson said she had always wanted to be a writer and continued her creative work after her retirement.

“You have complete control over your book,” she says of the benefits of self-publishing. “Amazon publishes books quickly in both electronic and print editions. Print quality is excellent. You retain more royalties. I have self-published her three times. If I write, I use Amazon.”

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Amazon alternatives and their advantages

There is an option to Amazon. Self-published authors can use resources such as his and his IngramSpark that Hanson used.

“I produce and distribute my books on both IngramSpark and KDP Amazon, and I highly encourage all self-published authors to do the same,” says Kibbe. “First of all, Ingram is the only company to produce and widely distribute hardcovers with jackets as print-on-demand (or POD). Amazon currently has his POD option available for hardcovers, but without jackets. .”

“Also, bookstores buy their inventory from Ingram instead of Amazon,” she adds. “So if you want it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble (BNED) or your local bookstore, it should be available through Ingram.”

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Self-publishing challenges

Kibbe goes on to point out that self-publishing comes with an initial cost. The adage “you have to spend money to make money” applies not only to the self-publishing industry, but to most other industries as well.

Lin Hawthorne is the self-published author of “Mom’s Not Wipin’ Your Bum”, the first book in the humorous “Mom’s Not…” series for children. In addition to dealing with the financial burden of raising money upfront to publish a book (she did her Kickstarter fundraiser), self-publishing authors wear a lot of hats, she says. says.

“Being a self-published author means a lot of business management, self-promotion, and hands-on marketing,” Hawthorne explains. “This means using traditional marketing techniques and social media to create your own online following. For those considering self-publishing, I recommend the following exercise: Build your own Find out your goal: Do you just want to publish a book and sell a few copies on Amazon, or do you want to build a profitable business out of it? please.”

“If you want to build a business out of it, hiring a book marketing coach is a great decision,” she continues. We’re going to use the online presence we’ve built up to reach out to traditional publishers, and we can’t afford to lose the experience we’ve gained by jumping into self-publishing.”

lessons learned and shared

Kline-Hobson says learning the business side of the industry was her biggest self-publishing challenge. “Learning how to copyright, how to get an ISBN number, how to format a draft for publication, how to upload a manuscript, how to set up a website, how to determine the scope of advertising and social media is the first step. was the biggest challenge for me with the book,” she says.

“The second and third books were easier,” she encourages.

Self-published children’s book author Charlie Brian Golding says he likes having control over the creative process, but in retrospect, he could have made a few different choices. prize. He “would have waited a little longer until the book was finished to begin the self-publishing process.” [and] before hiring a publicist,” he says.

But on the flip side, he says, having a publicist who works in the self-publishing industry helped him navigate the process.

Kline-Hobson advises anyone interested in publishing their work to “read up on self-publishing and get a better understanding of the process before you begin.” “Unless you are very tech savvy, expect the learning curve to be high as you will be taking all the necessary steps before final publication. Please carefully save a copy of the manuscript in case you do.”

Kibbe admits that one day they hope to connect with traditional publishers because they believe it will help them find more readers. “I am still grateful for everything I learned, both good and bad,” she says. “It made me a much stronger person.”

The growth of alternative distribution channels has leveled the playing field for self-publishers, but they still face some disadvantages, she says.

“Where self-publishers lag far behind is name and brand awareness,” says Kibbe. “With millions of titles published each year, we have to find a way to get to the top in order for our readers to find us.”

Michelle Talsma Everson is a writer and editor from Phoenix. She writes for a variety of media and believes in the power of storytelling to illuminate important topics that impact people’s lives.You can find her work at

This article is reprinted with permission from (c) 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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