Self-Publishing Lessons Learned

I had heard ton of tips and tricks on how to self-publish, had even attended a few conferences about it, before I ever decided that was the right path for me. One of the key things I took away from the speakers that was self-publishing is fast and you have to move fast if want to go that route. I left feeling inspired, but completely overwhelmed. One of the speakers I saw said she was about to draft and edit a book every 3 months and has covers made during this process. This seemed nearly impossible to me as I was preparing to publish for the first time.

There was one big difference between the speakers at these conferences and myself. They had years of experience and knowledge they had built up that allowed to know the process inside and out, enabling them to move quickly.  They already had relationships with editors and designers from previous work, so they knew how best to work with these people. Whereas, I had none of this. I was still learning all the details of how self-publishing works.

The biggest lesson I learned while publishing my first book, Crystal and Flint, as an indie author is that it’s ok to go slow if you need to. The great thing about self-publishing is that you can set your own deadlines. It’s totally ok to go slow while working your way through the process the first few times. I can guarantee that each time will get a little bit easier and go a little bit faster until you are an expert, just like those speakers I heard at the writer conferences.

Once I gave myself permission to go at a pace I was comfortable with the whole process seemed much more manageable. For me, what worked best was taking each step one at a time. This helped me to stay on task and make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Here’s some quick checklists for want you need for each step of the process.


  • A completed manuscript- polish your story as much as you can so that you can get the most out of your editor. You aren’t paying them to find things you easily could have fixed yourself.


  • Title page
  • Table of contents if you want one
  • Copyright page
    • ISBN number
    • Publisher/Imprint name
    • Editor’s name
    • Designer’s name
    • Any copyright language you want like “All rights reserved”
  • Dedication page
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author biography

Cover Design

  • Idea/inspiration – most cover designers will ask you answer some questions about your story and give some examples of covers you like
  • Book blurb for back cover
  • Any quotes, taglines, or reviews you want included on the cover
  • A completed formatted manuscript – this is required for the print cover so that the size of the binding can be determined.


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