Monday, August 05, 2013

Self-Publishing Made Easy with Author Robyn Alana Engel

Please welcome author Robyn Alana Engel!

Self-Publishing Made Easy

Hello, spunky readers, and thank you, L. Diane, for this opportunity to guest post. My intro’s at the end. For now, I hope this serves to inform and encourage.

The page has turned. It’s a new era. We’re zooming towards a day when 99% of all books are self-published. Despite what many think, this is good. And it’s simple. Our fore-writers would’ve died —they sometimes did—for the chance to get published. Now, the ease of publication rests at our fingertips. Why not take advantage?

The only viable reason not to, is that you’ve an already established, cooperative relationship with a publisher.

Money presents a semi-viable second reason. Traditional pub houses generally have the dollars that we don’t to design amazing covers and trailers, and to get our books into readers’ sight. But there’s no guarantee. After all, traditional publishers are folding by the second. Those still thriving are rejecting submissions at an even quicker rate. Book stores, too, are dramatically reducing the number of books they carry.

So why not self-publish? Are you holding out for an ego-stroking acceptance letter? Why? What does a publisher (or agent, for that matter) know about quality writing? JK Rowling’s original Harry Potter was rejected 12 times; Dr. Seuss received 27 rejections; Canfield and Hansen’s Chicken Soup for the Soul, 140; Jack London received 600 rejections; and CS Lewis, over 800!

Advantages to Self-Publishing

  • You have full control over your book – title, genre, editing, etc.
  • You get approx 70% of sales vs. approx 15%.
  • Patience. Immediate gratification is forthcoming, whereas traditional publishers impose 18 month lag-times.

How to Self-Publish

Know that my tech skills moved me to a T-Mobile rep for in-person lessons on sending text messages. Years later, I still mistakenly send scores of blank messages. Yet I’m telling you that self-publishing is easy!

You’ve thousands of options for a publisher. I’ve one recommendation: Amazon’s It’s free and has a 24/7 helpline. Plus your book will automatically be displayed on Amazon, the number- one site for readers seeking books on-line. Amazon takes you through the processes for Kindle Direct Publication and paperback publication.

  • Editing. Get it edited, and edited by someone you’re not sleeping with. (EL James’ Editor is her husband. He’s a good writer too. I’ll say no more here.)
  • Formatting is tricky, or can be. For those like me, you might want help. If you pay for this, you shouldn’t pay more than about $40, unless it’s really long or fraught with errors.

That’s all I wanted to say. So just do it: publish your book, your way, yourself. Self-publish!

Feel free to correspond with me, It’s a topic near and dear to me ever since I published Just the Right Time, in partnership with Blogger-Artist Robin Mead. Less than two months after I proposed the idea to Robin, we were published. Proudly so.

PS I’m Robyn Alana Engel at Life by Chocolate Have a good one!

Thank you, Robyn!

Special photo today! While doing a book signing at Quartermoon Books and Gifts, I met Isabel from Tween 2 Teen Books. She purchased Book I of my series and after reading it will be giving it away for her upcoming one year blog anniversary. Thank you, Isabel - and congrats!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sending blank text messages - funny!
Everyone buy Robyn's book. It's awesome.
And cool that blogger is giving away your book, Diane. said...

Thanks, Spunky! It was an honor. Aw, thanks, Alex.

Isabel looks to be the perfect form of PR. That's exciting.


Karen Walker said...

Wow, awesome about the teenager who loves your book and is helping promote it. And Robyn, this is great advice for writers everywhere. There is no reason not to be published today.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you again, Robyn.

Julie Luek said...

Loving that teenager and her willingness to give away a book. Can't you just tell she's going to be someone who goes far?

Great motivation to self-publish too.

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to meet Robyn! Great post. I made the foolish mistake of going with iUniverse about five years ago. Been self publishing ever since and loving the huge commissions!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

CreateSpace is a great company...I've been working with them for a few months now and have been very pleased. :)

Bish Denham said...

This is just what I needed to read/hear! Thanks, Robyn!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Robyn. It's been about two month since self-publishing my book, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Oh, and I just ordered your book... the reviews are GREAT for it! (I hope to add my own to the mix in a couple weeks.)

David P. King said...

This is such good information! Thank you, and it's good to meet you, Robyn! :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Those are great tips. I wish I was a writer, but I'll send it to Nigel.

Melanie Schulz said...

Couldn't agree with you more.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Finding a good editor is so important. Even many pairs of eyes can still miss those typoes.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure the way to go, as there is no wait and less hassle and there are plenty of options about to get good covers and such cheap.

Johanna Garth said...

Great post Robyn. I think everything has changed and it's up to each individual writer to find the path that works best for them!

Robin said...

Robyn ~ I thought I was the only one who CONSTANTLY sends blank texts. It drives me crazy. Anyway, this was encouraging information regarding self-publishing. I think many people are just scared to take that plunge. They might (or might not) feel confident about their book, but they want "someone else" to do everything else. If you self-publish, you are everyone else. It requires learning a lot of new skills and stepping into heretofore undiscovered country. That doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile... as you pointed out. Publishing as we knew it, is simply not what it once was. (Sad, but true.)

Keep posting these tips from time to time. They are very helpful:)

Robin said...

Diane ~ Cool picture from your book signing. How cool that your reader is also a blogger and giving away your book after reading it for her one year anniversary! Makes the world feel very small, no?

My Journey With Candida said...

Great Guest Post Robyn!! But then I always like your posts. said...

I'm thrilled that so many of you agree and are finding that self-publishing works for you.

Bish, so glad you needed the info.

Susan, woohoo! I'm very grateful. Your book is #1 on my list when I next place an order. The cover is so great, I didn't realize it's self-published.

Robin, my namesake and "mistakesake" - I love it! Thanks for admitting to the blank texting.

Thanks, all. I really appreciate the feedback.


Hart Johnson said...

I am getting ready to dive into this thing, so I'm glad to hear the technically challenged can manage!

shelly said...

Good post Robyn. Hugs and chocolate to you and Diane.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Julie, she had a lot of spunk to her.

Susan, Robyn will be happy to hear you ordered her book.

Susan, yes they can.

Robin, it is very cool. I've dealt with a lot of book bloggers over the years but never met one.

Morgan said...

Love all of these points. I think self-pub is a great thing. I love seeing friends have success that way.

Thanks for this fun post, Robyn and Diane. :D

Jay Noel said...

This post is very timely! I have requested my rights back from a publisher that's going under, so I've decided to self publish.

So tired of my publishers folding! This makes two in a row.

cleemckenziebooks said...

Go Robin! Great post with super message.


J.L. Campbell said...

Good post, Robyn with encouragement, which is what so many writers need.

I never thought I'd be able to format a book. I got it right eventually and the Smashwords guide was a tremendous help even though I thought I was going to tear my hair out when I first downloaded it. said...

Thanks again, Diane. Love your spunky crew here.

Hart, yes. You'll be fine! Feel free to commiserate, though, if needed.

Jay, that's incredibly frustrating - a real sign of the times. I have a friend going through the same. He's facing time lags, too, with everything up-in-the-air. I'm sure, once you get your rights back, you'll never return to trad publishing. Best of luck to you!

JL, yes, Smashwords is highly headach-inducing, must stricter than Createspace in terms of formatting. Kudos to you for getting thru it successfully.

Thanks, all. I appreciate your feedback.

Keep faith and a stash (or at least a nibble's worth) of chocolate.

Carol Kilgore said...

Ah, I see we share the same tech skills! Great post.

Thanks for hosting her, Diane :)

Karen Lange said...

It's amazing to see how publishing has progressed. I love knowing we have more options. Thanks so much for the info, Robyn and thanks, Diane, for hosting!

Gina Gao said...

This sounds great! Nice post.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Thanks for the info. I'm self pubing too.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks for the info Robyn!
Thanks for hosting her Diane.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jay, two in a row is rough.

JL, they have the simplest guide out there!

klahanie said...

Great posting! Thanks for sharing! Goodbye!

Kidding. Of course I'm going to leave a real comment. Yay!

Robyn over here at this spunky place. So that makes me a funky, spunky reader :)

I like your idea. I think self-publishing a blank book would be easy and very quick.

I know of some of your options and I take your informative article on board. Okay, not literally on board. I'm not on a boat.

Actually, I totally agree with this. I also don't want somebody editing my writing. My writing, my styles, my way.

Nice gesture by Isobel and congrats on her upcoming one hear blog birthday.

Thank you, Diane, for having Robyn guest post on this spunky site.

Gary :)

Jo said...

I suspect that books will become a thing of the past and ebooks will reign supreme.

Patricia Stoltey said...

The biggest advantage I see these days to traditional publishing (and I lean toward smaller presses) is that some of them still provide extra perks with marketing, and I don't have to lay out money in advance for editing, formatting, and cover art. But we pay a big price in time for those perks. The older I get, the less I enjoy the wait.

Ella said...

Thank you for this post! I need to do just that~ I too think ebooks will rule! Thanks Robyn, Diane and
Isabel is so cute ;D

Thanks ladies!

Rhonda said...

Wonderfully useful and bookmarked for later.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes said...

Thanks, all. Please forgive the typos in some of my comments. I see that I should've gotten them edited.

I agree that e-books are going to reign supreme. I also believe that we'll always have real books.

Cheers, and keep writing.
xoRobyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Gary, thank you!

Do you know there's already a blank book that was published years ago called Everything Men Know About Women? Seriously. And I bet that so-called author got a fortune for printing up a blank book. =)

Anonymous said...

Publishing has changed and I like how I have the option of reading both self-published and traditional books, and finding gems in both categories.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks for this boost of confidence! I'm not the most tech savvy person either - and I'm hoping to self pub once my books are polished and ready to go! Exciting! :)

Steven said...

I love when readers take the initiative to promote writers they enjoy instead of just sitting on the sidelines! Self publishing is challenging, there's a steep learning curve, but it can be well worth the extra effort. said...

Steven, I actually didn't find it challenging thru createspace. But I wasn't/am not going for the best-seller.

David List said...

I've become somewhat opposed to the idea of self-pubbing. Of the last seven books I was unable to finish, five have been self-pubbed. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not. Publishing houses aren't a proven standard of excellence. I've discovered this too many times. But they give you a great leg-up as far as editing, marketing and exposure.
I'm sorry not to be on the band wagon, but the post does ask why I'd NOT self publish.
(And I'm not saying I won't!)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Gary, Robyn fit right in!

Patricia, there are perks both way. We just have to figure out which cons we want to battle.

David, there is a lot of work and money involved, so it's not for everyone.

Eric W. Trant said...

Some of the coolest self-published books I've read are by Roland Yeomans. He actually knows his craft and does a fine job of editing.

I can forgive a writer for their layout or sad cover, but I cannot and will not forgive a writer for poor writing. Like you said: GET AN EDITOR!

And if think you don't need an editor, take my advice and check your pride at the door and get a dadgum editor, please.

- Eric

Jai Joshi said...

Here here, Robyn! I love self-publishing.

Jai said...

That's fair, David. I actually agree. But the chances of a new writer being accepted for publication are so slim, and slimming down by the moment, that self-publishing is a fairly quick and easy way to get our work out there.

Eric, yes! That seems the consensus. Get an editor, a sharp one, whatever route you take. Self-publishing has a bad name in large part, I believe, because many self-published authors don't attend to this piece. Then again, I often find errors in books that were traditionally published.

Good luck, all. Thanks so much!

Jennifer Shirk said...

You're right! Great advice.
I've been giving it a lot of thought.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm impressed that you worked so quickly getting Just The Right Time out there Robyn! It's a great book that will turn anyone into a poetry lover. You did a terrific job of taking the fear out of self-publishing. Diane, Thanks for hosting Robyn!