Journey to Self-Publishing Damaria Senne

Don’t worry I’ll be back soon, but this is our guest blogger for the next two days– big hand for Damaria Senne from Storypot.  She’s a long time reader of Living a Life of Writing.  When she asked to guest blog I said; of course!

I recently took my dip into self-publishing by releasing an ebook, entitled “How to get quoted in the media.”

One of the issues that have come up when I chat to friends about the ebook is why I chose to publish it myself rather than submitting the manuscript to a mainstream publisher. Also, what was my publishing journey like? Is self-publishing as easy as it is sometimes made out to be?

For writers, writing is the easy part

Writing the first draft of the ebook was the easy part: I was in a white heat of inspiration and the words were just flowing. Also, the ebook is based on a series of articles, so I already had the bones of the ebook, which I just needed to flesh out. Then I ran out of words, client work caught up with me and it seemed like I would never get that ebook finished.

That’s when I contacted my friend Christelle du Toit, a communications specialist and former journalist, and asked her to collaborate with me. Christelle had some capacity and she knew the subject matter so she said yes to the project. She wrote some of the chapters, sent her version of the manuscript to me, and I rewrote it some more. We did this until we were almost satisfied, then we sent it to our reviewers.

Writing the book was not a solo project

I cannot say enough how important having other people review our book was. The people we asked to look at the book were communications specialists, journalists, and small business owners, so they checked whether the content was accurate, relevant and potentially useful for our readers. They also offered writing advice, helping us express our ideas better. Another rewrite anyone?

After the review process, we sent the manuscript to a number of editors (3 in total). I almost cried when the manuscript came back with a lot of tracked changes and comments. I’d thought the manuscript was fairly clean. Evidently we still had a ways to go.

Sometimes professionals do it best

After the edits, and implementing the changes suggested, double-checking the language and grammar, the manuscript then went into design. Up to this point we hadn’t had to fork out any money to do the project. Yup, yours truly managed to round up enough editor-friends to get the manuscript polished. I’d one done reciprocal work for many of them, so it was bartering rather than asking for outright favours.

Christelle is a keen photographer, so we opted for her to take the images that we planned to use in the book. Of course something went wrong: the film was exposed and we were only able to retake four of the images we would use (yes, I know, who still uses film?). We had arguments about how we were going to handle the use of images in the book. I suggested we use stock photos and be done with it, but Christelle wanted originals. She won!

We decided to start out with a PDF ebook, and will later do kindle and other formats. So we hired a graphic designer to do the book cover and the typesetting of the book. By then, I’d come to terms with the fact that Christelle had definite ideas on how she wanted the final product to look and since I trusted her enough to collaborate with her, I had to trust her to get on with it. It came out brilliantly!

Part 2 tomorrow.  Go on and enjoy Storypot!  In case you are all wondering, yes I am doing a series on will you or should you self-publish and Damaria volunteered her time and experience with this matter.

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