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Lessons of a Self-Published Author

Patience Is A Virtue

By Michael LopezPublished about a year ago 5 min read

I love being an author! It's fun to create an entire new worlds just from your imagination, and writing stories that bewitch and entertain people while they are submersed in your worlds. That is what I enjoy most about being an author, the entertainment and enjoyment that readers get from my books. It's definitely not for the money, as only a handful of the authors I know, actually earn enough from their books to make a living. If money is your driving factor, then you might want to find another vocation, unless you know that you have a #1 best seller on your hands.

But let's be realistic here, the odds of someone becoming a best selling author their first time out is nearly impossible. So, don't expect to become a celebrated author overnight. Most of the well known authors that come to people's minds these days, more than likely spent years writing and rewriting their books before they were published and released to the masses. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here...the first step in the process to becoming a Traditionally Published author starts with writing your book. Once that is done and the story is polished to your liking, it is time to start querying agents.

Querying agents is were the magic can start. This sounds pretty straight forward, but it's not. Do not expect to get an acceptance from your first, second, or third agents queries. In fact, expect to receive many rejection emails in your search for an agent. If they do not send you a rejection, then they will ask for a partial or full manuscript submission. Once they have time to peruse that, then they will return to with either a rejection or an offer of representation. However, it is not usual, or even unheard of, for an author to go through the querying process 50-100 times, or more.

Now, I'm not telling you all of this to discourage you, I am doing this to inform you just what awaits you, should you decide to go the Traditional Publishing route. It's not unheard of for authors to try for years to get their book published. If you have the drive and tenacity to push on through all the rejections, more power to you. If you're not willing to potentially wait around for years, then you might want to think about going the Self-Publishing route. But the Self-Publishing has its perils and pitfalls too.

Unlike traditional publishers that have editors, cover artists, and marketing people, a Self-Publishing author will have to do all of it themself or hire a freelancer or two to do the jobs for you. If you're like me and not blessed to be an artist, you will need to hire someone to create an eye-catching cover for your book. This could run you in the $100-500 range, depending on the size and detail you want. Editing your book is something that can be done by the author, but most people do not recommend it. Unless you are extremely confident in your ability to edit your own work, an editor is a good idea and will cost $1000-3000 approximately. As far as marketing goes, if you publish on Amazon, you can take advantage of the Amazon ads, Kindle Countdown Deals, and Free Book offerings. But there are also those websites that will send your books out to their email subcriber list for a fee($20-100+), such as: BookBub, BookBarbarian, Bargain Booksy and more.

But as far publishing your book yourself as an ebook, there are several options available. For both ebook and paperback books, the largest self-publisher is Amazon KDP, and it's free to publish there. The next biggest ebook self-publishing platform is Apple Books, which is also free to upload your books to. The third largest ebook seller is Barnes & Noble Press, formerly known as NOOK, and is also free to upload your books on it. And, the fourth best ebook platform is Kobo, which like the others, is also free to publish your books on. If you insist on being published in paperback and ebook but not through Amazon, then your other options are Ingram Spark and Draft2Digital. However, for this self-published author, I prefer the ease of publishing on Amazon for both ebook and paperback.

Now, I am not trying to say that one type of publishing is better than the other, but one is definitely more accessible than the other. I know that I put down some big numbers for the cost of cover art, editing, and marketing ($1120-3600+), but don't let that dishearten you. Just beacuse these are potential costs if you hire people to do work for you, doesn't mean you have to spend that much. For example, I am the proud self-published author of 6 Young Adult Fantasy books that I published on Amazon, and each book cost me less than $300. This is due to my confidence in my ability to edit my own work, and I am lucky enough to have an amazing artist as a friend, Kristina Stork(

Like I said before, I'm not writing this to try and discourage any new potential authors from choose one route or the other, rather, just trying to inform them of what they may face on their author journey. Traditional (Trade) Publishing can be a long and brutal road before an author gets published. If an author chooses this route, thin thick skin and a large amount of resolved is necessary. If this is your dream, then push hard and see it through.

If the new author chooses to venture down the road of Self-Publishing, it too is a long road but in a different way. Thanks to the accessibility of self-publishing, your new book is just another in a sea of self-published books. In order to help yours stand out, make sure you have an eye-catching cover, a well written synopsis, and well thought out marketing. Even if you nail these components, don't expect overnight success; for most self-pub authors, it's a marathon not a sprint. But if you put out a well-written and edited story, eventually word will get out and those ratings and reviews will start rolling in.

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About the Creator

Michael Lopez

Author of the original English light novel series Worlds Apart and the forthcoming prequel series Worlds Apart: The Vanya Chronicles. Worlds Apart is available to buy on Amazon.

I'm also an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Coach.

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  • Chezney Martinabout a year ago

    The cover of 'Worlds Apart: The Vanya Chronicles' reminds me of the artwork of Studio Ghibli! Well done

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