Thinking back to May, I was oh so happy to have finished my first manuscript. I thought, I'll read it over a couple of times and then I'll publish it.
Luckily, I caught myself before I sunk too far. You see, writing that first manuscript isn't just about the writing. It's the research. Every second that I could spare at work ( during my lunch break ) I was looking up different things.
Some of the questions that popped up into my mind were:
"Should I copyright my book?" "Should I get an editor?" "How much money do I spend on an editor?" "How do I format my novel?" "Can I make my own cover art?" " Or would a premade cover look better?" "Should I get a beta reader?" "Can a beta reader be trusted with my novel?"
You get the idea? Up until that point I only bought about three books on the writing process. My favorite was "Successful Self -Publishing (How We Did It, and How You Can Too)" edited by Shoshanna Evers. (Very nice lady, I emailed her some of my questions and she got back to me right away.)
So, I started with what I thought was the most logical route. I'd get an editor. Teri the Editing Fairy popped into my mind because I've seen her name in the acknowledgement section of H.P. Mallory's books. My only problem was that she was booked up until August.
August! Oh, man, but it's like May and I want to like publish now!
After doing some more research I found that most editors have a waiting list. I was pretty delusional to think that I could publish in say a week or two. Technically, I could have done that, but my manuscript would not be all that it could be. So, I sucked it up, confirmed my August 8th editing date, and did some more research.
At this point I decided to look into beta readers. I figured that I might as well see what other people had to say about my manuscript and if there were any issues that needed to be fixed before I sent it out for that final editing.
I posted an advertisment on goodreads.com under the author's looking for betas section. When no one jumped at the opportunity to read my novel, I went ahead and looked into other places to find betas. The one promising website I found was editingbyamber.com. Amber Bungo offered a free beta reading along with a sample edit. Her prices were reasonable so I chose to use her services.
But wait! Didn't I already book Teri the Editing Fairy to use as my editor? The answer is yes, and I also booked Amber. I used Amber's services to proof read my grammar, spelling, and tense usage. I don't know if you noticed or not, but my tense usage is horrible. Then I decided to use Teri the Editing Fairy's second package. This one looks at sentence flow and word usage. Besides, since Amber's prices were so reasonable I decided that if having one editor was good, having two would be even better.
At this point, I still needed to find more beta readers. So, I went back to the goodreads.com beta group and then I asked individual betas offering their services to read my novel. Between May and August I asked about ten to fifteen different ladies to beta read my novel. Five awesome, amazing, fantastic ladies read it and e-mailed me back their reviews. I was extremely grateful to those ladies because I found their feedback to be very helpful.
What about the cover art? I did a ton of research on how to make my own cover art and found that it wasn't that much more expensive to just get a premade cover verses paying for the rights to use individual stock photos.
After looking through hundreds of premade covers, I finally found one with a brunette that looks pretty similar to Jocelyn Frost. You'd be surprised by hard it is to find what you are looking for when you don't quite know what it is that you want to find.
You would also be surpised by how many premade covers use the same models from the stock photos on the 123rf.com and depositphotos.com websites. (Surprisingly many photographers prefer to take pictures of women, so there are very few pictures of hot men on these sites. I think I found about twenty. That's why my pictures of Finely and Hamish are still wearing shirts...)
Anyway, the rest of the journey to self publishing was pretty simple. I went through the comments that my betas made and added what they thought my novel needed along with taking out somethings that weren't needed. For example, Marek had about three chapters throughout the novel from his perspective. (Maybe I'll use those chapters in a future novel or novella...)
By the time Teri the Editing Fairy got my manuscript, I had rewritten about a third of it along with adding a whole bunch of new material. In about a week, I got it back from her and then I quickly went through all her edits before getting stuck.
How the heck do I format this thing? I'm tapped out as far as money is concerned, so hiring someone to format it was not going to happen. Well, luckily Kindle has two manuals available for self publish authors to download for free. They were easy to understand and I was able to make my manuscript look like a book in under two to three hours.
Once, it looked all nice and pretty I went to the US government copyright website.
The next day I uploaded my novel, and the rest is history!