11 December 2010

My Self-Publishing Experience So Far

by Carrie Bailey

Of course I want to share with everyone exactly what I've learned about self publishing, but first why I chose this route:

  • The first edition of the book is intended for a small audience
  • Making money is not my prime motivation at this stage
  • I wanted to experience self-publishing
I know three sounds dubious, but it's true. During college I told the professor, who would later be charged with sexually harassing me by another professor, that I wanted to get into publishing after graduation. I was a philosophy major. Unless you don't know, philosophy majors aren't supposed to get into anything after college...they're just supposed to think about it. Unfortunately, this man discouraged me and my dream of producing books was crushed like a slice of lime for Simon L Carter's evening vodka.

But Dr. Phd was wrong and besides, he just trying to steer me into his graduate courses... as though making a living with a Master's in Philosophy was easy...

Recently, I have cast off this man's discouragement and taken a serious look at small presses. After a conversation with Jamie DeBree, an owner of a small press and a writer who I greatly admire, I realized that my only barrier to starting a small press was the advice I received years ago. However, I am the sort of individual who breaks every grand endeavor into manageable stages and before I decided to commit to bringing this dream back from the ashes, I needed to know more about self-publishing, so I decided to self-publish something (doesn't Peevish Penman Press sound good?).

I solicited contributions for a compilation of writer wisdom and humor, which we've titled, "The Handbook for the Writer-Secret-Society." With fifty-eight pages, illustrations, and a glossary, the work was both a serious but highly enjoyable creation.

I had never used Microsoft styles before, but after a few random youtube lessons, I understood everything I needed to add headings, page numbers, tables of content, and cover pages. The writing began to look professional. Artistic talent has always been my great fortune so I added illustrations, chose a stylish font, and organized the layout. Then, from Microsoft Word on my MacBook, I printed a pdf file.

Page 19:


*Please forgive the grainy appearance of this page, it was converted from a pdf to a png just for this demonstration. Lulu and Amazon offer two popular self-publishing services. I chose LuLu, which was when the process of publishing became simple:

  1. Add Title
  2. Have ISBN Assigned
  3. Upload pdf File
  4. Upload Image
  5. Add Information: Description, Keywords, etc
  6. Choose Digital Rights Management or Don't
  7. Set Price
  8. Review
Naturally, the perfectionist in me deliberated over a number of my options. I choose the "crown quarto" size for the handbook. I switched over to Amazon and compared the potential ISBN they might offer. I rewrote the description a few times, but all in all, it took less than two hours.

Today, writing the book is the difficult part, publishing it is not.
Of course, now that I have self-published my first book, I need to sell it and market it and though that is normally a strenuous and nerve wracking endeavor for the average self-published writer... I've thought of a clever way around it. Before it's offered publicly this January, if you either tweet this page or follow with either google or facebook or subscribe to the RSS... then comment below and/or email me at bzuley@yahoo.com ... I will send a free copy of the first edition.

In the book is a collection of author secrets from all parts of the United States to England to New Zealand and public details of inner workings of the writer-secret-society. It's not a how-to-write, there is no style manual or grammar rules, but instead a book on everything else that goes into creating an writer out of someone who writes.

After January, the official first edition will be available for $11.99. And after January, I'll have more updates on my self-publishing experience to share.


  1. LOL I had not even finished reading before I tweeted Simon to take a look :D would love a copy!

    And Peevish Penman Press sounds wonderful!

  2. Thanks darling. You're already on my list :).

  3. BAHAHAHAHAahahahhahaaaa! *falls over laughing*

    Whoo! *wipes brow*

    What a lovely simile, good lady! Also, why did you not ask me for any snippets of wisdom? Is it because you knew I'd just regurgitate Hemingway's "write drunk, edit sober" maxim? Yes?

    Although, to be honest, I drink my vodka straight from the freezer, no twist. But we'll assume for the sake of argument that I crush lime to go with it every now and then.

    *chuckles again*

    *is flattered*


  4. I think there needs to section in the handbook about that and I want no one to write it more than you... you'll just have to let me send you a copy of the first edition...

    I'll send the limes :).

  5. Thanks for the shout-out! :-) And I think your third reason for self-pubbing a book is just as valid as any other...experimentation is the best way to decide what you like/don't like, IMO.

    Sounds like you had a great first experience, and I'll look forward to hearing more about your experience. :-)

  6. I retweeted for you - very interesting! I look forward to reading the book! Thanks for doing some of the research for those us just wading into the shallows of publishing!

  7. I'm really interested in all this too, since I'm going to start publishing things the same way soon. (Shiny Ideas Press!) I love "Peevish Penman Press" very much.

  8. @Jamie Thanks!

    @Wyoming Absolutely, that's been my mission since I started.

    @Phl Peevish Penman Press will be great friends with Shiny Ideas Press. Awesome names!

  9. Hey Peev, is there a widget yet? Want to put it on the blog and web page.

  10. Not yet, I'm still working on the graphics, but I'll send you a free copy and absolutely get you the widget when it's ready :).

  11. Tweeted and comment...check! :) Good luck with everything.

  12. tweeted! Good luck with your future endeavors. I also went the route of self-pub. Amazon got the short straw--or the long straw if you look at things in a positive light. I don't know about non-fiction but fiction is not that easy to be discovered in a sea of book covers. And Amazon has a sea. But it's an experience;)

  13. First, my favorite philosophy joke:

    Rene Descartes walks into a bar, pulls up a stool, and has a seat. The bartender walks up to him and for quite a few moments there is silence.

    "Well, would you like to drink something?" the bartender asks Descartes.

    Descartes pauses for a moment and then replies, "I think not."

    And then he vanished.


    Second, when you publish this, announce it, I'll pimp the hell out of it. Include links where people can purchase it.

  14. Carrie this is so wonderful! good on you :)
    Wooohooooooo!! xxx