Updated: Aug 18, 2021
When I made the decision to self-publish, I should have trawled the internet looking at how everyone else had accomplished the task, from editing in Photoshop to promoting the beast...yeah, I didn't do that! Perhaps this was a mistake but I was so keen to get started.
Don't get me wrong, I did A LOT of planning, a lot of note taking (brilliant notebook shopping opportunity!) but I didn't really know what I was doing. And I absolutely hated the idea of self promoting, still do...
Where I did do my research was who to work with, which book printer to help me with my project. Read the testimonials, search through the website (yes, first impressions matter!), get a quote! Alongside this, I googled my subject matter to see the existing material I was up against. Fortunately there aren't too many picture books about bogeys, which made me both very happy and very sad #givebogeysachance.
And Photoshop is...?
This one won't apply to all self publishing efforts in quite the same way, but you may still need to use Photoshop, or something like, for your book cover. That is unless you ask someone else to do it – very wise!
I got to know the Rectangular Marquee and Crop tools very well last year. We are now firm friends and write often...If you can, do what I did and marry someone who knows Photoshop inside and out! A lot of my work was resizing and, for printing purposes, making sure there was bleed around the edge of each page containing an image. It doesn't sound like a lot but, along with my promotional images, the hours stacked up so don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel it isn't your area.
Assembling my own photo booth for promotional pics!
What the...spell check!
Read and read and read your work! Check that text until your brain is near explosion from checking...and then check it again. And then get someone else to check it too! I got so excited about publishing my first picture book, I almost forgot to get anyone else to check the actual words! Good thing I did because I'd forgotten to add a whole, very relevant, line when positioning my text for printing.
If someone tells you something doesn't make sense, take it in and work with the feedback. You can't edit forever but any feedback is good feedback, especially when you are self publishing and proofreading services are hard to come by on a budget.
This might be an obvious one but try to enjoy yourself! I had some very hard evenings, sat at the computer for hours, editing the same images but I still loved the whole process. Everything I was doing excited me. If you feel that excitement slipping, stop what you are doing and move onto my next blog point!
When I say have fun, I mean take random photos of snow of course!
Step away from the illustrations
If you start to hate the words on the page or the illustrations now haunting you, take a step back. Slowly creep away from the notebook/keyboard/printer/insert relevant object and do something else. It is important to find time for other things and not just project, project project! Juggling a full time job and family, self publishing became my evenings, every evening. Pretty exhausting and you will end up hating it.
After the launch of Bestest Bogey, I had every intention of cracking on with promotional efforts every night but suffered 100% book fatigue. Perhaps the melancholy of current affairs didn't help but I do think there was a little too much undue pressure and not enough time left for knitting/reading/gaming towards the end.
Not relevant at all - I just like this photo...
Embrace the Opportunity
Take your time with your project and enjoy the fact that the opportunity even exists. Self publishing is a fantastic opportunity but does take commitment and a definite passion for your project. I have seen some wonderful creations during my limited self publishing journey and I am confident I will see many more...good luck!