So You Want to Self-Publish?

Guest Post by 

Tamara Rose Blodgett, my name’s Tamara and I decided to publish my début novel, Death Whispers on March 31. I did the query-merry-go-round, but not extensively. When an agent finally liked my sample well enough to ask for the full manuscript after revisions…I went ahead and revised it. On the teetering chasm of re-submitting it, my husband read an article about the incredible Indie success of Amanda Hocking. Her success was so inspiring to me that I changed direction entirely and took the metaphoric leap into the “middle of the lake”, to see if I could swim.

As it turns out, I could…and so can you!

There is nothing I would like more than to save other Indie authors whatever time I can by offering a few suggestions that were helpful to me.

Formatting(!): Wow, in a word: Learning curve! ( I know, I know…that’s more than one word!) Ha!

This was the single, greatest challenge for self-pubbing that I faced. Now that I’ve done it, I would offer just a few steps to get other authors in the right direction. First, the following link provided me with the skills I needed to bring my manuscript to print via CreateSpace, then ultimately e-format with Kindle/NOOK and Smashwords:

The above link will direct you to part one, of a two-part tutorial created by the WONDERFUL, Bryce Beattie (, who shared his knowledge of formatting in an easy-to-learn method. Don’t worry about this being a print tutorial. With very little “tweaking,” you can have format for both types; print and e-format. Another super-important point, and just “trust” me on this: download for FREE and use that for your manuscript. It transfers cleaner “code” than word (and I heard that from another author; it’s true). In lay terms, your book won’t look “whacked” in different formats.  Secondly, when you go to finally publish to (and for the sake of space constraints, let’s use them as an example), save a copy of your org.doc in HTML format. Once that uploads, you can look at the entire manuscript on their sample. Now, that’s not a perfect representation but it’s darn close. Of course, every author downloads their own book to peruse it closely once it’s “live,” to catch anything screwy. I used this method on my latest YA PNR, The Pearl Savage, and was extremely pleased with the clean transfer from org to HTML…to my Kindle. isn’t editing! Formatting is just the book looking good; clean paragraph and line breaks and spacings. Editing is totally important and super-difficult! I won’t lie: next to formatting it’s a big challenge too! If an author has a few, key people to read their work (called Betas) that is very helpful. Unfortunately, as self-pubbed authors, we generally do not have the “fleet” of editors at our collective backs; helping with flow, typos, spelling and grammatical structure. A person’s Betas are usually just there to say, “…yeah that works…”, or, my personal favorite, “what were you thinking?!” I cut ten thousand words (about forty pages) from Death Whispers. I have edited it ten times if I have once. And still…there will be a mistake! There are mistakes in traditionally published works as well. I had one Beta on DW and will have a different one on the sequel, Death Speaks. I am extremely grateful for the help on book #2 because this Beta is only looking for typos/spelling errors and the like. I am a self-professed Run-on Queen and Homophone Princess. The first is acceptable insomuch as it is often times used by me as style as opposed to lack of understanding structure. My book scenes play out like “a movie in my head”, and I write them with that sense of fluidity, breaking only when absolutely necessary. It’s purposeful. The homophone thing…well, reference editing above! Spell-check won’t help fix the difference between say, whole and hole. You have to see it and correct it. That is what I’m working on. This is what my Beta will help me with (for some inexplicable reason, [some] mistakes are very difficult for the author to see…wonderful phenomena, that). Every author has their Achilles heel. Identify yours and look for the mistakes you may repetitively make. We’re all just storytellers in the end. Everything after that is perfecting what we already told; it’s work.

Social Networking: lastly, this is critical for self-promotion. I was pleasantly surprised once I got through the learning curve (again!), I was off and running at the following hang-outs: twitter, Facebook and Kindleboards. Those three venues have been essential in developing rapport with readers and other authors. Indie authors, for the absolute most part, are completely thrilled to affirm and support each other. It’s been a fantastic experience and I’m thrilled to be a part of this cool group. One caveat; don’t “over-promote” and get, “spammy”. Keep people abreast of news about your book but have fun too. Establish a blog (I TOTALLY love the free, user-friendly Blogger), and keep people up-to-date that way.

Finally, I am so thankful that I worked as a journalist for almost four years. Hands-down, I would not be as good of a writer without that starting point. It has forced me to be succinct when I would naturally have gone on (who me?)…yeah, right! It was practice for what I’m doing now. Aspiring authors, start following blogs that have successful Indie authors that have great advice like the following: Bob Mayer, Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath and John Locke, to name a few.

Good luck, and if you happen to read, Death Whispers, send me a line and tell me what you think!

Thank you, Louise, for your graciousness in hosting me on your blog.

Caleb has the most rare of the paranormal powers, Cadaver-Manipulation (aka corpse-raiser). In this world of the future, with Brain Impulse “pulse” Technology’s wide-spread use and influence keenly realized, routine school inoculation has expanded to include a pharmaceutical cocktail, which once administered, unlocks the genetic potential for paranormal abilities. Using this small window of puberty, teens who have the genetic propensity find themselves manifesting extraordinary gifts; some of which garner the full attention of our government. Caleb must camouflage his new “talent” during the mandatory eighth grade Aptitude Test so that he remains undiscovered while establishing choice for his future. However, events beyond his control systematically reveal Caleb and his friends, which force them to fight for their freedom. In the midst of this struggle, his girlfriend’s father battles to reassert his abusive dominance in her life while a couple of “peer enemies” thwart his efforts of secrecy at every turn. In the explosive climax, Caleb must protect his friends, and Jade, the one he loves…at all costs.

Author Tamara Rose

Tamara Rose Blodgett is a ‘thinking-out-of-the box’ paranormal enthusiast who believes there’s a 95% chance zombies do not exist; but loves to write as if they do.Tamara Rose is from Alaska and has worked as an online journalist in the past. She enjoyed writing Death Whispers, and is hard at work on book two Death Speaks, (pub. Aug. 2011). Her paranormal romance, The Pearl Savage, is due for publication in mid-June. 

Barnes and Noble:

So, what’s Death Whispers all about?
Almost fifteen-year-old Caleb Hart is a Cadaver-Manipulator in the year 2025. When teens receive a government-sanctioned pharmaceutical cocktail during school, paranormal abilities begin manifesting… making the teens more powerful than the adults.

After Caleb discovers he has the rare, Affinity for the Dead, he must do whatever it takes to hide it from a super-secret government agency whose goal is exploitation. He seeks refuge in his new girlfriend, Jade, until he realizes that she needs as much protection from her family, as he does from the government. Caleb finds that hiding his ability while protecting Jade and his friends is a full time job; can he escape the government, protect Jade and lose the bullies that are making him miserable?

Thank you Tamara Rose for letting us know about Death Whispers. Any questions for Tamara or simple words of encouragement are highly appreciated. 

5 thoughts on “So You Want to Self-Publish?

  1. Editing may be the hardest part but I love it! The worse part, for me, is the final read-throughs just to check for the odd typos because you know the story inside out and your mind is yearning to move on to another.

    Or is that just me?



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