Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Path to Self Publish

I wanted to follow up my 'self publish' journey for my very first book, Time to Spare...Go by Air. I have learned a few things along the way and wanted to share those thoughts and the costs associated with this adventure.


I have been blogging for years and finally decided to publish the stories of our travels. I was encouraged by my bride, Mary, and the dream of someday writing a book of some sort. With my down time due to foot surgery I decided it was time to gather my notes and get to work. Chapters were added and deleted, some held aside for my next book on the journey to obtaining my private pilot license. Words flowed, stories filled the pages and I needed things cleaned up, grammar corrections and any additional advice or changes that made things read a bit smoother.


I shopped around for an editor and the going rate is on average two cents a word. With just over 74,000 words my cost was $1,400 just to complete the manuscript. This process took almost three months to complete and review.


I selected Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon. The process was easy and the steps well defined for a first time attempt at publishing a book.

A few kinks...The document I received from edit was a manuscript that read very well. Looking back, it did not upload and look the same as what I had in my word document. My document looked perfect, everything aligned and looking sharp. When I read the kindle version, once released, it had some format errors. I was not a happy camper. I was very happy with the read, that was good to go.

Also required (for paperback) was the need for an ISBN number. I purchased this number from Bowker Identifier services for $125. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally. Kindle Direct Publishing provides a FREE ISBN for your paperback and you don't really need an ISBN for an ebook, Ughhh...lesson learned.

If you self-publish you will need to set up banking to electronically receive royalty payments. This was an easy step and Kindle Direct Publishing walks you through the process.

Book Cover

I explored many different ways to come up with a cover. Vince, the young man who flys with me, provided the cover photo that I selected. I traded emails and secured his permission. I contacted a fellow blogger who published a few books and asked where he had his cover art done. I decided to go with fiverr, pro_ebookcovers. Angie did a great job and was easy to work with. Communication was excellent and the turn around time was amazing. The best part was the cost, are you ready, $26.25, yep that's it. Overall it has been a learning process that I am still absorbing. I was happy with the edit but I wish I had a better understanding of how this would have looked once in print.


For my advertising I posted on facebook and enrolled in a program with Amazon Marketing Services(AMS). AMS is based upon a set of keywords a potential customer uses to search. More keywords (e.g., Flying, General Aviation, etc.) will increase the chance that customer searches will match your keywords and the advertised product. It was also suggested I forward copies to AOPA and Flying Magazine to see if they will run with a story.

I did advertise with goodreads and the set up process was quick and easy. You can set up your advertising campaign with a set amount of money and renew for recurring thirty day blocks. As soon as I posted I had my first review!

There is so much to explore and experiment with, and an in depth review on advertising is for another post another time. When I figure out what works.
My second book, The Realization of a Boyhood Dream, is in edit as I type this post. Things are a bit different this time around and I have been pointed in a better direction with my new editor who has worked for a NY Times bestselling author. Melody has been terrific, excellent communication and ideas along with changes that made the overall read a better experience. I am confident the final product format will look perfect and I'm sure it will read very well too.


Chris said...

Great stuff, Gary! Thanks for sharing the process.

Gary said...

Chris, you're welcome. I am going to post a link to my new editor to complete the info. If I do more advertising I'll update that too. I just got the second book back this evening so it's a week or so away from ebook status.

Unclerap said...

Good stuff to know. I was unaware of the need for a professional editor, and the costs. Good read, by the way.

Gary said...

Thanks, Rap. I wanted to have my manuscript reviewed by an editor. I tend to write like I speak and therefore wanted posters out from the grammar police :)

I'm getting ready to publish the second book (path to the PPL) in a few weeks then follow up with the path to my Instrument ticket.

I'm glad that you enjoyed the book.