Friday, 4 December 2015

An awfully brief adventure

In an earlier blog post I detailed my decision to try self-publishing. I didn’t come to it lightly, though motivated less by a fear of failure than by a phobia of formatting. I foresaw a whole series of blog posts on my trials and travails. And do you know what? The book (if I may presume to call it that) is available on Amazon. So what have I learned?

It’s as easy as falling off a log

Well, almost. From the moment I decided to embark on this self-publishing adventure to the book going live was less than 48 hours. From the moment I sat down in seriousness to do it (excluding the faffing about and panicking and watching YouTube videos) to the moment at which I pressed ‘publish’ was less than an afternoon.

Either the formatting is very straightforward or else I’m more skilled than I thought

Formatting is common sense. Almost two decades ago I did a couple of courses in Word, and although Word has changed almost beyond recognition in that time, the fundamentals still apply. There really is nothing to worry about. I never even read the book I downloaded to guide me through the process.

The most difficult part is the admin

This did take time, and the peak moments of panic. I’m still not sure I got it exactly right in terms of setting up the tax information and complying with the US regulations, reading through all the legalese and ticking (I hope) the right boxes. I filled it in to the best of my knowledge and ability. I hope that’s enough.

Doing it properly will require more effort

This was an experiment. I didn’t revise the short stories and I didn’t pay for a proofreader or a cover. The results? A few errors but not as many as I thought, and a cover that’s okay and original to a degree (my own photo with standard formatting) but nothing special. To self-publish seriously will require a lot more effort on that front and a cost, too. There are decisions to be made there about how much to invest.

And finally…

The last lesson I learned is one I know well and should have applied a long time ago. As with so much else in life, so it is with self-publishing: there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.

You can download it from the Kindle store here


  1. good for you! I've had a collection of short stories I've been meaning to self-publish for over a year. I have proofed them and have a cover in mind, but have not as yet sat down for the afternoon... but I will. I can fall off a log like the best of them!
    Good luck!

    1. I would say go for it. Not many of my experiments are successful, but this one was!

  2. I've found self publishing fairly easy and I'm not great at technical stuff.

    Self marketing is a lot harder!

    1. I'm sure that's true! I learned a lot from the experience. But you're right...publishing's only a part of it!

  3. I did it with my first book and although it threw it back at me a few times for format errors, I made it in the end. It wasn't difficult, just a little tedious. I'm no tech person and if I managed so can anyone!!

    1. Yes - so true. When I think of all the time I spent stressing about the very idea of it...