In recent years, the self-publishing industry has exploded and new tools for self-publishing have removed barriers for authors who prefer to go it alone, I am one of them. Equestrian fiction authors have legendarily been told that their books (with an equine twist) are too niche. I don't agree.
My goal was to write a story with an honest depiction of the human-horse bond while at the same time giving readers the experience of falling in love with the characters of my book. After some extensive research, I decided to self-publish my first novel and skip the conversation about my book being too specialized to market.
In this post, I share a list of books that have been priceless to me as I started out on my journey as a self-published author. I continue to reference them as I ready to release the sequel to In the Reins. I believe one must GIVE TO GROW so I hope this list of spur jingling books on self-publishing will inspire and help other self-published authors navigate the awesome (and sometimes choppy) waters of self-publishing.
I didn't make the decision to self-publish lightly. When I decided to release my own horse book series, I knew it would be a major commitment but I've found that being responsible for how everything goes is the VERY best part of being a self-published author because ...
Self-Pub: You have a say
As a self-published author, I get a say ... I hire the editors and proofreaders who work on my novels. I work with the designers of my book covers. I conduct my own video shoots. I arrange events. I handle my own marketing via various author pages, my website and my social media channels. I determine the price and positioning of my books. I appreciate that self-publishing allows me freedom with my creativity ... I especially like that can write at my own pace.
Self-Pub: You make mistakes (and learn from them)
Also, as a self-published author, I make mistakes. My first book has been a terrific opportunity to learn and grow as an author. I did have the book professionally proof-read and edited prior to its release but ended up having to revise my manuscript after it was published to correct some editorial issues. It was very important to me that I improve the experience for future readers. This definitely was not ideal and not what I would have liked because some readers already had copies but it was a great learning lesson. And, it won't happen again.
Self-Pub: Some advice (Edit, Edit, Edit)
My advice especially for self-published authors is to edit, edit (then edit some more!) even after editing, look into having the book copyedited. Use beta-readers that you trust but who will give you honest feedback. It may prolong your release date but it is so worth it to know you put the very best version of your book into the hands of your readers.
With great power comes great responsibility. Don't learn this lesson the hard way like I did! Self-published authors often get a bum rap for not being diligent during the editing process. Now, that we have the opportunity and freedom (Hallelujah!) to self-publish our own work it is up to us to make sure it is up to snuff when we hit that publish button. Make the investment to ensure your work is at its very best before you share it with the world.
In the end, what matters most though is that as a self-published author you have a say in what happens to the work you spend so much time lovingly creating AND you keep the rights to it. So, here's my list of helpful resources for authors interested in self-publishing their books and having a say!
Self-Pub: Recommended Reading
1. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick
As a self-published author, you'll need to make sure you have your legal ducks in a row. This book was a lifesaver! When you publish a book, you are starting a business whether you like it or not. This book helps navigate those waters. I highly recommend this read to anyone interested in self-publishing.
From the Amazon's about the book page:
Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook is the first step-by-step guide to the legal issues of self-publishing. Attorney and self-published author Helen Sedwick uses 30 years of legal experience to show writers how to stay out of court and at their desks. Topics include:
Business set-up. From DBAs to sales taxes to crowd-funding, Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook walks writers through the process of setting up their self-publishing ventures.
Moving from Manuscript to Book. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook compares the options of engaging a self-publishing service company to doing it yourself using a print-on-demand provider. It lists which contract provisions are acceptable and which are not. It explains the mechanics of hiring designers, editors, and other freelancers.
Intellectual Property Issues. Copyrights, trademark, fair use, and public domain are explained in practical, useful terms, including how to find copyright holders and ask permission. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook provide tips on licensing images and music for little or no money.
Internet Regulations. Any writer with a blog needs to know about privacy policies, SPAM, COPPA, and DMCA. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook explains these regulations in easy-to-understand language.
Spotting Scams. Writers are e-blasted by businesses promoting overpriced services, if not outright frauds. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook shows writers how to spot aggressive sales techniques and scams.
The Scary Stuff. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook provides guidance on avoiding the dangers of defamation, invasion of privacy, and infringement.
Writing and publishing a book is a significant investment. Writers should not be losing money (and sleep) by hiring the wrong self-publishing company or getting sued for copyright infringement. Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook will help writers safely navigate the legal minefield.
2. Self-Publishing Books 101 by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart
This book comes from the lovely ladies over at Training Authors for Success. My copy is earmarked in so many places! I found their guidance unbelievably helpful. Check out their website (linked above) for a wealth of useful information for authors looking to self-publish.
From Amazon's about the book page:
Self-publishing books has never been easier. With print on demand and eBook technology available to us, it has made the process of self-publishing available to anyone and everyone. And there does not have to be huge upfront costs either.
However, there are certain steps to self-publishing that you need to know.
We have been publishing books since 2008 and want to share what we have learned with you. In this book we cover everything from the different companies and costs, to copyright information and book design. What you will learn:
Part One: The Foundation for Publishing Success
Writing Your Book
Editing Your Book
Building Your Marketing Platform (e.g., blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
Part Two: Self-Publishing Your Book
Pre-Publication Decisions (book title, book description, pricing, categories/keywords, etc.)
Book Cover Design
Self-Publishing a Print Book
Self-Publishing an eBook
Self-Publishing an AudioBook
Translating Your Book
Part Three: Other Publishing Decisions
Obtaining a Copyright
Forming an Independent Publishing Company
You will also find our self-publishing checklist to help you on your journey, as well as additional tips for success.
We invite you to come with us and take a walk through the step-by-step process to getting your book self-published. After all, if you can dream it, you can do it!
3. Book Marketing Success Bundle by Shelly Hitz and Heather Hart
Here's another book from Shelly Hitz and Heather Hart of Training Authors for Success. I love this one because it contains FIVE books on self-publishing in one! It covers book marketing, promoting on Amazon, publishing audiobooks, marketing case studies and publicity best practices for self-published authors. This book is an enormous resource for the self-published author!
From Amazon's about the book page:
In this Book Marketing Success book bundle, you will get 5 books by internationally best-selling authors, Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart.
With over 260 pages of content, here's what's inside:
1) Book Marketing for Beginners
So many authors want to market their books, they just don't know how. Others, are trying desperately to market their books, they just aren't seeing the results or are confused about all the different options and just want to know what works. If that's you, you don't have to spend hours searching the internet and reading blog tutorials to learn how to start marketing your book. Heather will show you where to start and how to build a plan that works for you in her eBook, "Book Marketing For Beginners."
2) Marketing Your Book On Amazon
Learn how to optimize your books on Amazon and Kindle using categories, tags and more. Shelley takes authors step-by-step through the process using screenshots to show exactly what to do. Publishing books since 2008, Shelley wishes she would have known this information from the start. Now she's sharing all the tips and tricks she's learned with you to decrease your learning curve. It is truly amazing what a few tweaks and changes to your Amazon account can do for your book rankings.
3) How to Publish and Market Audiobooks
In this eBook, we will show you how to publish your audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes as well as your own website. We will also share with you how to record your own audiobook or find a narrator to record it for you. But, we don't stop there. After publishing 19 audiobooks, we also developed a marketing plan to get the word out. We share this marketing plan with you to help you get more exposure and sales.
4) Book Marketing Case Studies
Shelley Hitz is an author in the trenches. Like you, she is learning as she goes. However, she wants to share with you what she has learned in hopes that you will learn from both her successes and her failures! Not many authors are willing to pull back the curtain and let you know what they are doing, how they are doing it and if it was successful or not. In this book she shares 7 of her personal book marketing case studies.
5) Author Publicity Pack
Publicity: It sounds like something that only big publishing houses can afford to do, yet any author can increase their publicity and their book sales - and do so on a shoestring budget. "Author Publicity Pack" will outline over 130 places that authors of all genres can get publicity for themselves and their books.
These 5 books have the power to help you successfully market your books.
4. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
This book isn't exactly about self-publishing but I highly recommend Stephen King's insightful exploration of an author's journey. I loved this book as a reader and a writer. I discovered this book through its high ratings in the writing community. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. This is a book for anyone who writes, anyone who aspires to write, anyone interested in knowing a little more about the life of an author or someone interested in knowing more about Stephen King as he gives a brief history of what led him to where he is now. A great read for any author!
From the Amazon about the book page:
Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.
“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.
King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
So what are you waiting for? Choose one of the above spur jingling books to invest in your own development as a self-published author, or better yet, spread the word and share this reading list with other authors, too.
It makes my spurs jingle when authors unite. I learn so much from other authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys is. I think it is so important to support each other and share knowledge among ourselves. We are stronger working together!
P.S. Don't let anyone tell you that a self-published book isn't worthy. It's simply not true. Here's why.
In this next section, I share some of my own self-publishing successes AND the story of another successful self-published, equestrian fiction author as she explored traditional vs. self-publishing. Seth Godin once said, "The book that will most change your life is the book that you write." Boy, was he right about that!
Self-Pub: It does make best sellers lists & win awards
Follow your dream! Anything is possible! In the Reins, my self-published novel inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction AND has earned TWO Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. This self-published success is proof in the pudding that you don't have to work with a traditional publisher to be recognized for your writing.
Self-Pub: It does interest the media & earn reviews
I've even had solid successes with the media as a self-published author. It was beyond my WILDEST DREAMS to earn the cover of Uptown Magazine! The publication told my story so beautifully in the feature article AND they loved that I was a self-published author because they could feature an excerpt from my book without having to go through a third party. Gallop over to my blog post called, "Recap: It's been a busy summer for 'In the Reins'" for more examples of spur jingling media coverage for In the Reins.
Self-pub: From another author's point of view!
Don't just take it from me! I found real value in reading a post from fellow equine author Tudor Robins. Tudor has successfully published six books on her own. Her self-published Island Series (all of them horse books!) has been wildly successful. In the post, she writes about how she worked to get the rights back to her first book from a traditional publisher after realizing that she prefers to self-publish. Read about Tudor Robins' journey and her view on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing journey here: http://tudorrobins.ca/2017/02/objects-in-mirror/
I'm proud to be a self-published author!
In the Reins is the cowboy romance novel that I wanted to see on the shelf! What a journey it has been. I appreciate everyone who has already bought a copy or helped spread the word on In the Reins. It is these tiny beautiful gestures that help a dream get the kick start it needs. Thank you for giving mine its chance. Please support a dreamer and purchase your copy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, like my Carly Kade Creative FB page, or simply leave a little review behind when you are through.
It isn't always easy being a self-published author with a sequel in the works! There's a lot of heavy lifting involved in getting a dream underway. I am responsible for running my own business and that includes so many different facets from time management (that's right actually finding the time to write!) to deadlines to running promotions to generating publicity to website development to creating marketing materials to attending events to running social media channels to writing a blog and so much more. Still, I wouldn't do it any other way! I am proud to be a self-published author.
A writer’s job is writing books, while a self-publisher’s job is selling books. I do both. This is just the beginning! I am a busy cowgirl and very happy self-published author. Keep up with the latest In the Reins series happenings, news and events when you visit my media room here: http://www.carlykadecreative.com/media-room.html
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Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!
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