Riding the Roller Coaster of Self Publishing

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 by   25 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

Anyone who tells you self publishing is easy is a liar.TameriEthertonScaryCoaster

Anyone who tells you self publishing is a pain in the butt is your friend. If they offer to help you through the maze of fonts, formatters, cover design, and the myriad other questions that pop up, they’re your new best friend.

Since I was a kid, I dreamed of being traditionally published. I still have that dream, but after meeting Bella Andre in February of this year at my local RWA chapter, I was inspired to take my dreams and my future into my own hands.

Looking at the roller coaster ride I was about to attempt was terrifying! But I steadied my resolve and stepped up to the challenge.

First, I found a cover artist. This part was easy. Really! I had a friend whose novels I love and the covers are gorgeous. So, I asked him if I could use his artist. He said yes, she said yes, and it was a go from there. We set a timeline with the cover to be complete byJuly 31st.

Next, I edited my butt off. Content editor, line editor, you name it, I had it done. I wanted this book to be better than any New York produced book.

At some point I realized I needed a formatter because there was NO WAY I was going to attempt to format this beast myself. I am, at best, a technophobe. Thankfully, a friend of mine needed some work and since she formatted her own self-pubbed books (and they’re beautifully laid out), I hired her to format my books. We set a deadline of August 1st to have everything to her. Manuscript, cover art, the whole enchilada.

So far, the roller coaster is idling in the station, loading passengers, getting ready for lift off. I’m a little nervous, but excited, too.

Then the darn thing shoots out of the station onto the track and everything goes crazy!

The first drop came when my line editor decided to do a complete content edit of the book. Not cool. She changed things that didn’t need changing and put in hyphens everywhere. It set me back a week. No worries, my awesome content editor agreed to proof the book after I made changes. Whew! That dip wasn’t so bad.

Then my cover artist’s mom died. Double loop with a half twist!

Once my tummy settled, we kept on for a bit, wary, but not totally derailed.

Except, the double loop of death pushed back the date of the cover art being done. Which messed up the timeline for the formatter. Which might affect the date I had set for release.

I breathed through the next set of spins and dips, surviving, but not necessarily enjoying the ride anymore.

Then the giant hill of doom presented itself.

My formatter had to leave for a week for a family emergency.

The coaster chugged up that hill, puffing and huffing, gears grinding until I thought for sure we were going backward.

Still, we worked around the emergency. But dang! Did she have a ton of questions I wasn’t prepared to answer!

You know when, in high school or college, you arrived to class and there was a pop quiz and you all of a sudden felt like the biggest loser because you chose to go out the night before instead of studying? Yeah, that’s how I felt. Total loser. I should’ve known the answers, but I was clueless.

Here are a few of the doozies she tossed at me:

Do you have artwork for the title page? Title page? I need a title page? Crap.

How do you want the copyright page worded? Uhhh

What size book do you want? Oh! I know this one! 8×5, yes! Got one right.

Have you set up your Smashwords account? What about Createspace or Amazon? Yes, yes, yes. Another one partly right. I hadnt actually set them up as an author, with tax information and all that jazz.

Are you going to do KDP Select? Not sure. Next question, Ill come back to this one.

What category is your book? Is awesome a choice?

What keywords do you want to use? Please buy this book because its awesome?

How do you want your Table of Contents to read? Content? Table of Contents? Contents? Um, is it okay if I answer, I dont care? No? Dang.

Are you using the ISBN-10 as well as 13? 10? 13? Yes?

How do you want the headings on each page to read? Name on the right or left? What font do you want your type in? Name? Book title? A readable font? Help me!

Where do you want the page numbers? Top right? Top left? Bottom center?

At this point, I was so dizzy from the loop d’loops that I just mumbled my answers. I had a lot of research to do! Fortunately, my formatter kept amazing notes and if we needed to refer back to something, she would remind me what my answer had been at the time.

It was overwhelming, to say the least! Where to put the page number? Seriously? But yes, those were all valid questions. Mostly I would pull books off my shelf and scan them for what other authors did.

After all of that, including two deaths, a wedding, and a trip to Canada, we got the book uploaded in time. The cover art wasn’t complete until the end of August, and we didn’t get the print edition up at the same time as the epub, but that’s the beauty of self publishing.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So, even though I went on the wild roller coaster ride of hades, it cruised into the station just fine. Sure, our hair was as frazzled as our nerves, but it was a thrilling ride, to say the least.

My advice to you before jumping onto that coaster ~ read up on everything you can about self publishing before you need to. Some of it won’t make sense, but it will once the questions get tossed your way.

My formatter and I have come up with a style sheet now, so the next book will go much smoother. Read the books, take notes, make a style guide for yourself.

But most of all, fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an awesome ride!

Here’s a handy list of some of the books that helped me muddle through:

Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran

Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran

Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl

Self-Publishing Manual vols 1 & 2 by Dan Poynter

Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant

The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing by The Indie Voice

What Tameri Etherton is writing:

Some say she’s the one of prophecy,
that she’ll bring balance to the world.
Others say she’s the destroyer,
meant to bring an end to Aelinae.
They’re both right.
Everything Taryn knew was a lie. Her life on Earth, the man she thought was her grandfather, even her age, were all fabrications meant to protect her, to keep her hidden until she could return to her home world. Once on Aelinae, Taryn realizes she has more to fear than the creeping darkness that threatens to suffocate her.
Unwilling to become a pawn in the machinations of her scheming family and the world she now calls home, Taryn sets out to learn about her mysterious powers. Reluctantly, she accepts the help of Rhoane, a man who promises to protect her, but whom she’s not sure she can trust.
As tensions mount and her loved ones are threatened, Taryn must confront an ancient enemy and stop a sinister plan to bring back a banished god.
On Aelinae they say there can be no Light without Dark and no darkness without light. If Taryn fails, there will be only Blackness. Absolute. Binding. Without end.
Failure is simply not an option.


More about Tameri Etherton:

Rocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines—and the rogues who steal their hearts—with her own PrincTameri Ethertone Charming by her side. Social Media Links:






25 Responses to "Riding the Roller Coaster of Self Publishing"

  1. Comment by Tameri Etherton
    October 6, 2014 10:47 am

    Whew! What a crazy ride that was. A huge thanks to FF&P for having me here today!

    I love this chapter and all the amazing people in it. Together, we’ve helped each other through writing struggles, personal issues, and the wacky ride of publishing. Whether it’s traditional or self-pub, this community fills my soul with knowledge and camaraderie. It’s my happy place.

  2. Comment by Karen Ritter
    October 6, 2014 2:41 pm

    Good article. Very Funny!

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 6, 2014 3:18 pm

      Thanks Karen!

      I’m glad you liked the humor. As you well know, self publishing is a hairy beast at times! Thanks for all your advice and wisdom along the way.

  3. Comment by Janet Tait
    October 6, 2014 2:54 pm

    Great post, Tameri! I am so glad everything turned out well for you despite all the twists and turns!

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 6, 2014 3:26 pm

      Thank you! Ohmygosh, me too. It’s been a thrilling ride and I’m glad I’ve had mentors like you to look up to/quiz. 🙂

  4. Candace Colt
    Comment by Candace Colt
    October 6, 2014 3:35 pm

    Tameri, great article. I’m thinking self-pub is my next step & I see now I have a LOT of reading to catch up on as well as workshops, etc. Many thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 6, 2014 3:53 pm

      Candace, good for you!

      There a a ton of great resources out there that can help. The books I mentioned, other self pubbed writers (they are a treasure trove of info!), classes, etc.

      You’ll feel overwhelmed, but keep at it. Take it one step at a time if you need to and remember to breathe.

      I’m so happy I self pubbed. Even with all the twists and turns, it was a great decision.

      Email me if you have any questions. I might not know the answer, but can probably point you in the right direction. tamerietherton at gmail dot com

  5. Marie Andreas
    Comment by Marie Andreas
    October 6, 2014 4:38 pm

    Great post, Tameri! Looks like you’re moving forward very well 🙂

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:39 am


      Somedays it feels like I’m going backward, but it’s a blast no matter which way I’m headed. I’m just glad I survived the first round!

  6. Comment by vondasinclair
    October 6, 2014 5:05 pm

    Great post, Tameri! Welcome to the wonderful world of self publishing. It’s not always so difficult. 🙂 Hope your next one is smoother.

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:41 am

      Hey Vonda!

      It should be since now I know what I didn’t know before! Just last night someone was asking me about self publishing and I was so excited I could answer her questions. So, yeah, it’ll be a smoother ride.


  7. Comment by Sherry Ewing
    October 6, 2014 5:52 pm

    Tameri –

    What a great article and it was so spot on with my own self publishing ordeal. Honestly, it was a nightmare at times but in the end so worth it. I love the fact that I have complete control of my own destiny.

    Your book sounds interesting. I’ll have to put it on my TBR list! Best of luck with your sales!


    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:43 am

      Hey Sherry!

      Isn’t it a wild ride? But you’re right ~ so worth it. I love having control, too. Even though some of it was out of my control, I could ultimately change things if I wanted. Just the other day I notice something on the cover that wasn’t quite right and was able to have the artist fix it. I love that!

      Enjoy your self pubbing coaster ride! I hope it’s smoother for you here on out, too.

  8. Comment by PJ Sharon
    October 6, 2014 6:39 pm

    Hilarious and very relatable, Tameri. it has definitely been a live and learn process for me. I’ve now self-pubbed six books and you would think it gets easier, but as the Industry evolves, so must we. I’ve learned what items are worth paying for (covers, editing, and formatting) and what things I can do myself, like keeping a WordPress site and setting up my own blog appearances. I’ve not had great success with paid blog tours or paid advertising in general, so I’m very picky about those things. Bella is an amazing and inspiring resource and the books you mentioned above are awesome. We are definitely lucky to have other adventurers paving the way! Keep on keepin’ on and soon you’ll be riding those hills with two hands in the air!

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:47 am

      Thanks, PJ!

      Two hands in the air! Funny you should mention that ~ I have a picture of my son and his friend on Thunder Mountain with their hands in the air and I almost used that pic instead. I should’ve! Because that’s exactly where I’m heading. To that great Whooohooooo! moment. Although, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Like you said, the industry keeps changing and therefore so must we. But you know what? I’m having a great time figuring out where I fit in all of this and where the industry can work FOR me, instead of against me. It’s a challenge, to be sure, but totally worth it.

      Thank you for being one of the women we look up to in our self pubbing adventures. Six books! Yay you!

  9. Comment by Christine Ashworth
    October 6, 2014 8:08 pm

    Well done, my dear – both the article here and the novel! As soon as I have a few minutes to breathe, I’ll be doing the rollercoaster ride, too…thanks for helping to pave the way!

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:48 am

      Thanks, Doll! When you get a chance to breathe and take a trip on that coaster, I’ll be here for you. Just let me know and I’m happy to help, advice, bring wine, whatever you need. 🙂

  10. Comment by Lisa Kessler
    October 7, 2014 1:58 am

    Congratulations on the book Tameri!!! And what a huge sigh of relief to have it out in the world, right? 🙂

    This was a great peek behind the scenes… I’m SUPER happy for you!!!


    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:48 am

      Thank you, Lisa! It’s amazing and humbling to have it out in the world. Glad you like the peek behind the curtain!

  11. Comment by Susan Burns
    October 7, 2014 8:58 am


    Long Time No See

    I’m heading your way–in self-pubbing that is.
    Very entertaining article and great blurb on your book.


    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 7, 2014 10:49 am

      Hey Sweets! SUPER long time no see. 🙂

      Yay for you! It’s crazy, insane, exhilarating, and totally worth it. Let me know if you have any questions. I might not know the answer, but I can help you figure it out.

  12. Comment by Patricia
    October 7, 2014 8:10 pm

    Well alrighty then. I have some more work to yet.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure in such an fun way and thanks for sticking with it. The cover is beautiful and mine is on the top of the next TBR pile.

    Good luck on sales!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Comment by Tameri Etherton
      October 8, 2014 12:12 pm

      There’s always more work to be done, I think! I still don’t know tons, but have a good idea where to go for information. That’s the key ~ either know where to look, or who to ask.

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Your support is much appreciated.

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