Things I Learned While Publishing

This is a guest post from Stephen Lomer. 

Let’s start off with an establishing statement: I never once considered going the traditional publishing route with Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All. Never. Not once. Other authors may be seduced by the potential for big-money contracts and the marketing clout of the big publishing houses, but I wasn’t willing to surrender control of my baby to God knows who for God knows how long for God knows what kind of payoff.

So I did the whole thing myself. And when I say the whole thing, I mean it. I wrote the thing, participated in the editing process, designed the cover, prepped it for publication, released it, and designed the ads for it. That was all me, baby. And did I learn a thing or two? You bet your left elbow I did.

It’s hard

From A League of Their Own: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” And I think that might be the point. From the specialized formatting you need to do to prepare your book for the Kindle to the exacting specifications that CreateSpace requires, if you’re going to be a DIY publisher, you’re going to jump through some hoops, baby. But I feel like that’s a rite of passage, in a way. A declaration that you’re serious about publishing your book. Because, let’s face it, if there was a one-click button on Microsoft Word that allowed you to upload something instantaneously, there’d be some real garbage on Amazon.

It’s scary

No matter how many writer friends you have or how many friends and family are cheering you on, when it comes time to publish your book, it’s all you. And there’s always one moment just before you click the last button to make it live where you think, “Is this book really any good? Because it’s about to be available to the entire freaking world.” It’s a wonder anyone ever clicks that last button.

It’s not what you expect

I don’t care what any author tells you, they all expect the same thing: the book will go live, a few people will read it, the word will spread, the five-star reviews will pile up, and they’ll be lighting their cigars with $100 bills. Well I am here to tell you that it just ain’t so. The world may stop and hold its breath for you as the author, but by and large, the real world will keep rumbling along, not giving the slightest damn that you’re now a published author. The real work starts after you’re published, not before.

I don’t mean for this all to sound like an awful, unpleasant experience, because it’s not. It’s thrilling, exhilarating, and altogether glorious. Just know that there’s a gauntlet, and you must run it. But every self-published writer has run it, and we’re all rooting for you.

One last little tidbit I’ll pass along while you’re wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into is this: If you’re designing your own cover, leave plenty of bleed on the edges. Trust me, you’ll be saving yourself no end of aggravation.

Happy publishing!


Stephen Lomer has been writing books, novellas, short stories, and scripts for nearly a decade, and one or two of them are actually pretty good. A grammar nerd, Star Trek fan, and other things that chicks dig, Stephen is the creator, owner, and a regular contributor to the website Television Woodshed. He’s a hardcore fan of the Houston Texans, despite living in the Hub of the Universe his whole life, and believes Mark Twain was correct about pretty much everything.

Stephen lives on Boston’s North Shore with his wife, Teresa. Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is his first published work. 

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