Self-Publishing Journey: Part One

If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, you might know that I published a book back in May. It’s a journaling devotional designed to help you dig deeper with God though journaling. I self-published my book and today I’m going to be talking about that process. 

Before I even wrote my book, I knew I was going to self-publish. Maybe it’s because I’m such a DIY’er but I wanted the control that self-publishing allowed me to have. I enjoyed designing my cover and doing it myself. I even enjoyed the hours, weeks and months of research that went into learning how to self-publish. Choosing to self-publish gave me the ability to write the book I wanted to write, regardless of whether or not someone else thought there would be a market for it. Since I’ve published and all the explaining I’ve done about what a journaling devotional is, I’m guessing a publisher would have told me that the market for that didn’t exist. I don’t even know if it does now. I’ve sold my book though so somebody is interested. 

So how did I finally get there? How did I get to publish my book? Well, first, I researched all my options. I went to a workshop about self-publishing at a book festival I was at. That workshop was helpful and taught me a few things but it was mostly a self-publishing workshop to get you to use a certain company for your self-publishing needs. I don’t remember the company, although I almost wish I did because it would have been nice to have someone to help me when I hit a few bumps along the way. I had google though. One thing that really helped me was Jenna Moreci’s video on Createspace VS IngramSpark which you can find here. It’s worth noting that CreateSpace was Amazon’s publishing before it changed to KDP. 

After this video and reading all the articles I read, I decided I was going to use IngramSpark to publish my book. At least that was my plan. If my life were to have a motto though, it would be how the best of my plans still get messy or how they never go as planned. Launching my podcast would be a great example of this. I digress. 

I finally finished editing my book. I was doing the cover. I was ready to upload and set up my publish date because I had already announced it. I was talking about it for weeks and I had the perfect plan to publish on my birthday. So I’m uploading and using IngramSpark and doing all the right things, checking the boxes until I get to the part about ISBN numbers. Uhm. What is that? ISBN numbers is basically your book ID. It’s a number that is assigned to your book and when it is searched up, only your book pops up. IngramSpark didn’t give your book ISBN numbers and it doesn’t come as part of the plans they offer for publishing. You have to buy your own ISBN. Figuring out that process was relatively easily. A quick Google search told me everything I needed to know about how and where to grab myself an ISBN number. 

This is where all my plans got messy. ISBN numbers are not cheap. The US seller for ISBN numbers offer 1 at like $100+ dollars and the deal is getting 10 ISBN numbers (for future books) for like $100-ish dollars more than the price of one. Obviously the deal is in getting the 10 ISBN numbers. Well, since this was a sudden hiccup and something I wasn’t anticipating, I didn’t have the money to even buy one ISBN. It wasn’t budgeted. I didn’t want to push back my publish date though because I already made it public. 

That is when I switched to Amazon’s KDP. When publishing through Amazon, they give you what they call an ASIN, which is an Amazon identifier for your book to show that you published through Amazon. While this probably isn’t ideal for most people, I don’t like going back on something when I say it. Since I wanted my book available on Amazon anyway, I didn’t see an issue of just switching how I published it. Also, publishing through Amazon, I can edit and update my book however often I need to and it doesn’t cost me anything.

Now that I’ve officially published my book though Amazon, I haven’t had a negative experience with Amazon. Amazon’s KDP is very simple to understand. The reports are a little hard to understand sometimes but they are pushing out a new report system and I have been checking it out and I really like it. The only con I’ve found is that  getting my book in real places, outside of the online world, is harder. I’m learning the literary world isn’t a huge fan of Amazon publishing. However, when I have resources available to me. I’m going to use them. 

This is probably going to be part one of a two part series. The next part I’ll probably talk more about designing my cover and the funner parts of publishing. At least, what I consider funner. More fun. The more fun parts of publishing. Yeah, that sounds better. 

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