It’s been a wild, unpredictable, scary, and heartbreaking adventure, and I wouldn’t change a minute!
When I first started in the self-publishing world, I was as green as they came. I knew nothing about the self-publishing world. It was the first industry I began working in after switching careers.
I came from an emergency services background, so publishing was all very new to me. My first job as a freelancer was for a hybrid publisher in Maryland. I worked as a project manager and did it all.
I organized the editors, formatters, and cover designers and ensured the author’s books were loaded to various platforms. I worked for this company for almost two years, and in that time, I got interested in formatting.
My Journey Into Formatting and Book Design
Formatting isn’t a career you can go back to school for, as far as I know, as it’s not a career you probably ever heard of before you entered the publishing world.
I started out in Word, and it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t do what I needed to format the books the way they were meant to be. Sure, they were formatted, but they weren’t nearly as professional as they should be.
When I switched to Adobe InDesign, it almost stopped me in my tracks. What a learning curve!
InDesign is crazy confusing when you first start, but after months and months of training, I became more efficient with it. However, I’m still learning even now, years later, and still, InDesign will throw me a curve ball now and again.
I love the aspect of taking a dull and boring Word file and turning it into something clean and professional looking. But my love is, and always will be, children’s books. I love the planning of the illustrations through to the text placement. I love watching it all come together, going from illustration and text to a beautiful children’s book that a child somewhere in the world will enjoy or even cherish.
Our Author Journey Into the Self-Publishing World
It’s probably why my husband and I naturally fell into creating and self-publishing our children’s books. We’ve been going strong now since 2016. We initially started with nonfiction books but quickly transitioned into children’s books.
Our other books were a step into the self-publishing world, but our children’s books were a giant leap! Wow, did we make mistakes in the early days? I won’t even tell you how many times we have gotten our books edited over the years.
We were on a tight budget when we started and tried to do everything as cheaply as possible. We used freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork for almost all of our editing at the time. While there are some great freelancers, the ones we found unfortunately weren’t.
We found out later that we needed to sort our editing out after some bad reviews—nothing like a 1-star review to make you rethink your budget philosophy.
I could handle the formatting, but editing is definitely out of my realm and my husband’s.
When we found Mary Metcalfe, she saved me from throwing in the towel. She helped take my small team at Indie Publishing Group to the next level as she helped find the right people with excellent editing skills.
Indie Publishing Group and Beyond
The reason I created Indie Publishing Group was for my clients that wanted it all in one spot.
My clients didn’t want to have to work with a bunch of different companies or jump from person to person to get their book created.
So, once I got my editors in place, I moved to illustrators, writers, and cover designers. I have added more services over the years to assist our authors with their publishing goals and to try and create a streamlined process that’s affordable yet still delivers a fantastic end product.
Our team has grown over the years, with some people leaving and others joining, but their work has never changed. They can take an author’s idea and create the most fantastic story and illustrations that bring their ideas to life.
When you start in the self-publishing world, it’s like being a deer in the headlights. You have so much information coming from all different directions, and it’s up to you to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. The goalposts are constantly moving too, which means that as a self-published author, you need to change how you do things.
Join Me On My Journey In the Self-Publishing World – I’d Love to See You There!
Unfortunately, like every industry, self-publishing isn’t immune to people trying to take advantage of you or simply promising you the world and, in the end, delivering very little.
I honestly think all the mistakes we made in the early days have helped us spot these issues before our clients publish, so they’re benefiting from the experiences we’ve been through.
I know that budget is always the first thing we think of as a self-published author, but remember that once you publish, you can’t remove bad reviews. It’s hard to take back a book once it’s out there, and bad reviews can sink even the best story.
If it takes you a few months longer to publish while you save for a bigger budget, then take the time. You’ll 100% be happier with a book you didn’t rush or cut corners on, and your readers will appreciate it.
They stay forever. So, in the excitement of releasing your book, just make sure it’s as professional as possible. In the beginning, you only have a few reviews, and the bad ones will be in people’s view, which can decrease your chance of future sales.
Until next time, keep writing, keep dreaming, and I hope to welcome you to the self-publishing world soon!
Chrissy H, (Sam Lawrence Author)
Owner of Indie Publishing Group, successful Self-Published Author, but a terrible editor!