Stumbling Through Self-publishing

This blog hopes to make the reader/writer…since most of you are readers and/or writers aware of some of the steps necessary to self-publish. I am not criticizing; and would not consider going any route other than self-publishing.


My second book “The Gift” brought a few more challenges to self-publishing.

It was not written by me… but through me under the guidance of the Greatest of all Muses, God. Lest you think I am mocking God, let me say that many of my friends who purchased and read this book asked, “Did you really write this book”.

I replied, “Yes I was inspired; it just flowed

The story is about a baby donkey that was present when Jesus was born. Jesus has many conversations with the donkey talking about his Heavenly Father, why he was sent, and being reborn. The little donkey Atiya becomes very confused.

Writing the book was the easy part deciding what to do with it was more difficult. Self-publishing presents many opportunities to expand your knowledge and talents. That’s a euphemism for…

“What the Hell made me ever think I could do this”.

Find a Publishing Company:

I researched many of the publishing companies, Lulu, Wheatmark, etc. They all offered services that I felt I could handle,

After all, I’m a computer savvy kind of guy … said with a strut and a flourish of feathers


Find a Mentor:    

I was breaking unfamiliar ground and needed guidance…

Where do writers get guidance? Why of course, from other writers.

I joined the Society of Southwestern Authors

The president Penny Porter took me under her wing and guided me along much of the way.

Keep a Record of Revenue and Expenses

Self-publishing is a business and you are the owner. You must keep track of all monies that pass through your hands.

I established a company Golden Tree Books for reporting income and expense and applied for a license to conduct business.

 Obtain an Illustrator:

Penny referred me to a fabulous illustrator Marilu Savage. I provided her with a copy of my manuscript and she performed her magic. Just as a sculptor would evoke an image from clay or marble, she translated my words into marvelous drawings. I was thrilled, although it seemed a little expensive to a neophyte. I was assured by others that her price was very reasonable.

I had bought several books on Self-publishing. I’m a sucker for books, too bad I don’t remember what I’ve read. (Grin) the books provided me with information on scanning resolution and pixel size to use for digitizing the drawings.

Pixel size! I thought Pixel was a studio that made cartoons. Didn’t you?

I set up a folder to hold my images and scanned all of the sketches. I scanned them twice, once at maximum resolution in case something happened to the originals and once at the suggested resolution.

Doing the Layout:

Now that you have the manuscript and the illustrations, it’s time to do the layout work. I opened the Ms. in Word using a 2 page view and started a layout of the book. This is very time-consuming; You have to pay close attention to where paragraphs are breaking and determine where to place images and what size to make them. A lot of resizing and trial and error.

Next I had to create the Front matter; the information at the front of the book. There’s a standard format for this but you can just look at any book as a model

  • Publication date
  • Copyright
  • Dedications
  • SBN
  • Library of Congress Number – this isn’t a requirement but I obtained one

The next item was to complete the cover. I had to add the Front cover text and the blurb on the back. This required selecting a text color and font style that fit the appearance of the illustration. This provides an opportunity to delve into the world of Hex and HTML designation for colors.

The hardest job was expanding the cover. I had received it as a 9×12 image in landscape format. This had to be resized and padded to accommodate the cover size requirements. I learned a lot about Photoshop in the process.

I now had a finished product of my book….At least I thought I did.

This blog will be continued in the next epidode…

Can you identify with the story thus far?

Wait until I get into publishing the book….

One thought on “Stumbling Through Self-publishing

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