Desperately Seeking to Self-Publish? Here are Some Tips.

Hard cover image

Hard cover image

OK, so you want to publish your book. Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s I learned before my launch tomorrow of The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle.

Think a Year Ahead. I started to think about publishing my book last March 2012. It has taken me all this time with a lot of false starts to get it going. So be patient.

Research. Do due diligence. I am the kind of person who jumps into a lake without dipping my big toe in first. But I am happy that this time I prepared. And even then, I made plenty of mistakes (see below).

Get a blog. Or, as my mother always says, a blob. Your blog is your entry into the Internet world. You are building a big, fat, thick,  archive of great material that offers people information and entertainment – hopefully, both at the same time. That way, people searching the internet will stumble upon your blog and then buy your book. Or the book after that.

What should your blog be about? Well, at first mine was going to be called “Getting Bletter All the Time” in homage to the Beatles. But it sounded like an inside joke. Then I found that I kept thinking about how this was the next chapter of my life. And I wanted it to be the best chapter of my life. And nobody was blogging about that. Serendipity. There are no coincidences. (Or coincidences are when God wants to be anonymous.)

I also wanted to share my strength, hope and experiences as a writer and as someone who has tried to consciously improve my life. I have learned that you can’t keep it unless you give it away. So I have worked to share what I believe. I know that spiritual truths cannot be sold. We are just messengers passing on spiritual insights.

On wordpress.com, you can do a blog easier than I thought. I finally figured out what widgets are. (They are the thingamajigs that go on the side of the blog.) At first I was going to use as my main photo a collage of items from my bookshelf, including some shells, a photo of my family and a fountain pen. That was how my stepdaughter found me lying on the side of the road, trying to photograph these items. She thought I’d been hurt! I couldn’t get the shot I liked. Finally, I found a photo I liked that my friend, Zeev Alon, took. It is a photo of an olive tree grove near my house. Maybe it has nothing to do with motorcycle or being a Mom but it is peaceful and kind of sums up my outlook on life. To be rooted like an olive tree and still grow in your own individual way.

Welcome to Twitter. I know, it does seem like a silly thing. I don’t tweet about getting my hair cut unless it’s hacked in half (see The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle for that episode). Through twitter, I’ve been able to connect with a lot of people I wouldn’t have met. And I’m not even that good on it. And I don’t have a smart phone so I just do it once a day. But I will be tweeting about this post and then tweeting tomorrow about the launch of my book.

Take a class. If you are clueless about what to do, sign up. I was lucky because when I won First Prize in the Family Circle Fiction Contest last year, I was given a free course at Mediabistro. I took their social media boot camp course and learned more about other sites like pinterest and tumblr and instagram. Still not so great on those but I’m moving along.

Cover Design. Don’t try to do it yourself. I’ve seen too many self-published books that look like schlock. Meaning junk. The letters bleed or the font looks funky. Have someone do it. I loved working with Andrew Brown at designforwriters.

Copy Editing. Once again, never, ever, never, ever publish a book without a professional looking at it. Don’t be in such a rush. And don’t publish a book until you are sure it is the best it can be.

Trailer. Here, I’ve stumbled. I made a great video trailer and it should have been out by now but because I changed the subtitle of my book from “How one woman reinvented herself on the road to Alaska” to “Life Lessons On the road to Alaska” I had to change it on my trailer. Therefore, you’ll have to stay tuned for the very, very funny trailer.

Finally, don’t give up. Getting punched and falling down isn’t defeat. Staying down is. Keep taking small steps in the direction of your dreams. Break your project down into daily segments so you can handle it all.

And remember, if you feel yourself lagging, lean on me and my belief that you can do it. Because I did!

The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle is about to take off!

Love, adventure, spirituality, discovery...and more!

Love, adventure, spirituality, discovery…and more!

 

 

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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