Self Publishing. Is it up or down?



Make Self-Publishing Mighty – Setting Goals

Claire O’Sullivan


Steps to publishing have many different routes, including (yay!) self-publishing. These free the writer from the constraints of the traditional route. I point to the length of time one may wait for agents/traditional houses to accept a novel. Not all (many) make it through slush pile(s). Indie is self-publishing peppered with a light to traditional publishing taste, except… different.

The cavalry has arrived. No, really. The cavalry is here and self -publishing, after several years, is gaining popularity. Again, yay! That cavalry is you. So this is a sexist image, but… okay, I think he’s hot.



How does one enter the foray of fast growing market? As you read, don’t lose heart. It seems overwhelming for first time self-publishers. Self-publishing is a funny animal. It has ups. Then… downs. The market waxes and wanes.

These are the goals you must have to follow through. You are starting a business, and floundering around ends in ‘dead fish’ fodder.

While tempted to throw your first draft to a self-publishing outfit, don’t, have a cup of coffee. Do not pay an agent or publishing house unless you are wealthy (or a politician). Do you want to spend your hard-earned money for ‘I’m published’ gleam in your eye? The real sparkle is in their eyes: the scratch in your pocket. Oh, get your mind out of that gutter. Money.


Here it is:

You’ve completed the manuscript. That is an endeavor. And a half.

pen and sword


Determine your budget for every step of this endeavor listed. I cannot stress this enough. Encourage an elephant to sit on you before you write checks. Have a look around for self-publishing groups.

What do you want to sell, e-books only? Consider Smashwords: Or both e-books and paperback? I recommend both, but in the end, this is up to you. E-books are far less expensive but bring fewer royalties (though I have heard some great success stories). Smashwords gives you about 70-85% of royalties… though you pay 35 cents per book sold. This royalty number is awesome. You keep copyright, and can participate in other parts of the program. Well worth the look. Your biggest obstacle with ebooks is the dearth of readers who are aghast at any work requiring more than 99 cents.

 pay writers ha


Set a time goal. Six months before your novel is ready for printing, start your online advertising. Tell your friends. Get the word out. You are Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Pick one.

      Wonder_Woman                              superman          


Plan a marketing program. Let’s talk cost. Squish your toes in social media. Make it sexy. If you don’t have a website, fer cryin’ out loud, get one. WordPress blogs are free. Their websites cha-ching your pocket from one hundred to five thousand dollars. A domain name will cost from ten dollars to one hundred. Go Daddy and others will offer for a fee, SEO (search engine optimization) to improve visibility.


Some custom websites charge ten times that amount.

Facebook fan page. Love this. If you want advertising on your Facebook fan page advertising costs, but nominal. Twitter is free. With WordPress blog free, you can post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter… you get the idea. You can find free or pay for website services. I went cheap. As in, starving-artist-free: a DIY site. 


ISBN number. You must have one for your novel. That’s the little barcode on the back so you get paid. CreateSpace offers one free, however it remains with them … forever. You can also purchase one for one hundred dollars or more.



Get your murder hat on. Why do I mention this here in your goals? You want your book to sell I suspect. So, slash those scenes like Dexter in a bad mood, those that don’t push the plot along. Some self-publishing businesses will not pass three-hundred-eighty pages. Paying for editors is not cheap. Pretend for a second your novel is five hundred pages. You want to pay said editor a zillion buckaroos for pages to be removed, and edited… again? How do you spell redrum? Editors often charge thirty to forty dollars per hour. Your team of readers/critique buds can help with murder. One with the vase. One with the rug. One with the shovel.

kill em offer


The cover. I know you already have a cover in mind. Now find an artist/photographer to design, or look at stock photos, you can pay a lot or minimal. On my website, I have stock images I want on my new works. Some folks have luck with fivver, a less-expensive method. Fivver is a conglomeration of people who will work in five-dollar increments. Ask your Facebook fans which cover mock-up they like best.

CreateSpace offers free front/back and spine flaps with limited covers, though you can upload your own. When they create a cover for you, now you are looking at over three hundred dollars. I changed one book’s title and cover three times… that’s a buncha clams if you switch from one picture or another through custom artists. Keep that in mind. This was my second free cover (which I liked), another DIY on CreateSpace. The Big However… upon beginning the first chapter as a reader, I realized my fiction (and title) didn’t fit the cover—the formatting was fine. Don’t bother looking for it, the cover never moved passed the proofing stage. Sigh. Looks lovely, though. Keeping it for my next book.

CreateSpace is an easy platform that offers eBooks and paperback. They do the hard work such as bookbinding. They will gently place your work on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and it’s ready. Amazon Publishing is not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but this is their site: .

Preview your work online. Order five book drafts if in paperback. Most self-publishing requires a minimum. CreateSpace requires five. When you receive the box, shout with glee, review it, and bust out the champagne (or beverage of choice). I have declined some first copies and reformatted. No they don’t give you your money back. Rats. Each print-on-demand book through CreateSpace costs three dollars and ten cents. Minus shipping and handling.

Social media blitz and marketing. Put pictures of the books, a box of books in fact, onto every social media site you have. Plug to your friends, and now, family (they don’t count early on). Take the box you’ve ordered to local bookstores. Go to signings wherever you can find them. Authors Innovative Marketing on Facebook is chockfull of ideas for authors. Post your novel on Goodreads. Don’t forget! Put a PayPal button click on your website, and your Facebook fan page-

social media


Before you think the endeavor is beyond you, it’s not. Royalties may be great: but read the contract with a jaundiced eye. Not … really jaundiced, but … Consider the amount you will pay for twenty-five books, print-on-demand. Three-dollars per book. Consider shipping/handling and your profit and loss.

So check around. Self-publishing sites that are true self-publishing sites are tough to find. Vanity and boutique presses, shrouded vaguely, tell you the cost for purchasing a package and then sink their teeth in your pocketbook like Monty Python’s savage attack bunny… “Run away, run away!

monty python

            If you are interested in Indie publishing, the larger Indies (for independent, not East Indian) pay well. And do not make fun. I thought that’s what Indie meant… hey, it was a long time ago, yeesh. ISBN site


This is Diggypod. I don’t consider these folks self-publish but you may get some ideas:


Here is CreateSpace, and I do recommend taking a look:

Post your books on


And … a list of the top Indie publishers:

Here you have it. Goals for your journey to self-publishing.


Um. So I changed my mind. Sort of.





Wait, what?


Sure, go ahead. Make fun. I screamed after printing the manuscript. What a horrible idea! I said…


Okay, so, maybe… just a bit… I may have changed my mind.


Not entirely. But. The good  news is, I can flip back and forth between page, plop sticky notes on what I perceive to be plot holes, or in need of plot thickeners…


Pull out red pen … reword some Phuzzy Phrases. Scenes that fizzle. Sentences that suck. Aren’t needed. Don’t push the plot along. Hasta Lumbago, paragraph of doom, palabras de muerte (Yes, lumbago intended…).


arnold going ape



Then when my inner Arnold is done, I’ll go back and plug the puppy into the eReader. Then plop it into a Beta group. Then, off to an editor, or grammar Nazi … I know a few…


Writing is rewriting. Then, some more rewriting. And … repeat.


Something outstanding in the mix happened. That whole ‘are you actually working…?’ question mark that occasionally crosses my husband’s face contorted into a Holy * moment. Nonchalantly, I said … this is what continues on and on until each. word. fits.


So for kicks and giggles, I pulled out different colored pens, markers and marked all over it, and now he really is impressed with the amount of work. I have just now become the Jason Bourne of dedication.


jason bourne gif


Yay, me.  Off to the salt mines…




Be the slasher. First.


As I report the humor: I copy and pasted this from my website…and didn’t edit the formatting…
facepalm gif
       Okay then. Here are words of wisdom. I don’t recall who said this, but printing your novel is a good way to find plot holes. And other stuff.
       I am in the slash and dash portion of Forget Me Not (again). So today, I am printing the monster to read as a book, slashing (and making notes for my computer copy), making changes in red, blue, or whatever destructive item that fits my mitt.
       I’ve not done this before. I’ll let you know how it goes. Pretty sure this will suck.
      If you say, ‘Oh, argh, I have no printer…,’ put the MS on a thumb drive and take it to Kinko’s or your closest/favorite copy spot. Take the printed behemoth, put it in a MS box, and pretend you are an editor. Consider taking it to a coffee shop, tea room, library.
      The more you rewrite and edit, the happier you’ll be, and find a BETA group (not family or friends) to read as well. Why? They will find what you have not.
      If your hire a copyeditor, make certain your manuscript is ‘clean,’  as possible. Less turnaround time, because often, the copyeditor turns out to be a ghostwriter or has to rewrite your work.  An editor will not point out your wording, style. Only spelling and grammar. Once that editor takes your $1000 or more, and an agent accepts it, guess…what? They will want portions rewritten. Then a publishing house will want more edits. How rich are you to have it edited two more times?
      Avail yourselves of resources. Conferences. Read well-written books. I always recommend a great writer, Stephen King. He knows the craft. When to use short, long sentences, and when ‘unnecessary’ words are needed.
      Whatever you do, do not… do not… publish your first draft. Don’t hire a vanity press.
       Print that puppy, read a Stephen King, and even though the genre is not one I enjoy, I recommend pay close attention to his use of the English language. Then, slash and dash.
      Wish me luck on a new trial of wisdom passed down. Slasher status. Before the editor’s conference…

OH, the reviews … and my own level of impatience …


white board My ability to paste what … I want … today, on WordPress is giving me a migraine. So, I share it here: See today’s blog on my web! Kristen Lamb Dale Amidei RD Roger D. Peterson and Brad Carl Books!

 I can’t remove the GIF. I thus, maybe fatigued forever… phttp.



dog tired gif.gif

Coffee, please…. just another 5 pots.

October 15, 2017


Claire O’Sullivan

Well, okay. Not five pots. Maybe a cup or two.

This morning I had a fire in the wood stove. Yes, it was that cold, unless you’re a polar bear. Or you have an overactive thyroid…

Now I have a screen (big TV screen) running my ‘tropical island paradise.’ This could be good. Or bad. I am sooooo calm,  sleeping on the beach (aka couch) sounds like a great idea. This is the perfect setting for my characters to snooze in, too. Is there a ‘what the heck?’ music track? Anyone else write to music?

I am not done reading a thriller by Dale Amidei, Absinthe and Chocolate. But I am close. Perhaps that’s the reason I need a senior nap. Up too late, once again.

I have a process, like all authors. I come up with an idea, work a plot out of it (sometimes that whole concept crashes big time), get a handful of characters, and head to NanoWrimo.

This is my first year since 2012 where I will be in absenscia I am in the rewrite process of all but one. Of course I try to work on one at a time… Then there’s the rock, hammer, scissors. Sometimes all at the same time.

What’s your process?

For me, I always have to work on the characters. Are they flatter than a pancake? It’s easier to develop biological weapons from dust than to rewrite a character meh to great.

That’s where I am at with Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis ( compost was an appropriate term a bit ago). I had to write in a love interest’s point of view. Otherwise it looked more like 50 Shades without the sex scenes.  Meh.

Because We All Wanna Be Wonder Woman


Well, I can’t speak to her magical, mysterious, curious powers. Or her work out (if she does), but I can tell you about a balanced diet.


OH wait. I think I have, however, I have made ordering ridiculously simple. You can click on it here, or on my website, facebook page OR on twitter.

My promos for the paperback and KDP have disappeared.

PHTTP, however, if you love me, even a little …  you might order from this URL: … OK fine. You don’t have to love me.

But if you LOVE food, good food, healthy food, easy-to-make and great for newbies, this cookbook is for YOU.

I can guarantee you will like the recipes. Like PIZZA.

That is what said.

And STICKY ROLLS. Again, not a mistake.

Adapt any recipe to YOUR diet style (vegetarian, vegan, meat-lovers, gluten free, lactose free, sugar free, ADA, AHA, etc), add/subtract spices, meats, and other goodies, and you have the workings of food for life.

Food should be fun. Easy, affordable, taste great, for any cook, any age — and any level.

Fabulous Foods, Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods …  because, besides being Wonder Woman, we still want to have our cake and eat it, too. cake.jpg

My link is different these days… okay, today. But if you want to see reviews from others, please check out the KDP version, and the other versions under Cynthia Mahoney FNP. Don’t forget, puhleeez review.

Please be Safe!


Short, sweet, to the point. Be safe from east to west, north to south. More hurricanes on the way. Please give this information to all you know out there, in another path!

Strengthening Hurricane Maria a threat to Irma-hit Caribbean