Help for Self-Published Authors

 Publishing takes lots of determination and a little luck, too.
Anyone who has read my February 2020 post knows that I had bad luck with a “vanity” publisher and closed my account. I’d been working with the publisher for two years. So, I suppose losing sleep only two nights fits. Two days isn’t that long for an author to think the world had come to an end. On the third day I began writing emails to my colleagues asking for advice. Immediately, I found the help I needed and haven’t looked back since.

First Concern: The Book Itself
In the throes of feeling like a swimmer lost at sea, I realized that I could quite possibly turn this experience of what seemed like an extreme case of bad luck—witnessed by the condolences I received from people who have been waiting for this book to be published for years—into a silver lining.

What better time to take advantage of a professional edit to get any kinks out of the book, if there were any. Ha! There were plenty. So, already I saw one big advantage of having my book cut loose from the publisher.

My professional editor: Chris Eboch, a prolific author and editor:

Kinks Out. What Next?
Viewing progress in stages, I thought the next feat would be to create a website that would shine. I had admired the website of an author who is in my Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators chapter, SCBWI-NM, Kit Rosewater. View Kit's website here:

I contacted Kit’s website designer, Danika Corrall, and the rest is history. It was great fun working with Danika. Fortunately, I already had artwork that had been created by the illustrator of my book, Tiffany Tutti. And I had created a website with the help of Karen Cioffi. Danika and I worked together to use what we already had and for her to create the look I wanted. She did a terrific job and was wonderful and fun to work with.

My website designer:
My website: 

Companies Willing and Able to Help
Now I was on my own. So, I turned to the self-publishing company I knew: KDP. Luckily, the files from my publishing company are my property and I have them all, front and back covers and interior illustrations. The first brick wall I encountered was not being able to use these files. I tried to fit the illustration files into the interior text pages. They didn’t fit! I needed a formatting company who could create the interior using my files.

My rescuer: Karen Cioffi, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Writers on the Move,
Children's Author, Ghostwriter, and Online Marketing Instructor.
How to get in touch with Karen:

Karen told me of two companies who could help: and

The team at Formatted Books has created files complete with the illustrations and front and back matter for the paperback and eBook. The team at 100 Covers has re-created the front and back covers and the spine. Both companies’ customer service is exceptional.

So, Who Will Publish My Book?
The book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, paperback/eBook, is not yet ready. But it will be soon. I’ve opened accounts with three self-publishing companies and as soon as the files are ready, I plan to get started:

Draft2Digital, a print-on-demand company, recommended to me by author and editor, Chris Eboch. D2D offers self-publishing with support. I’m very excited to begin working with this company. Any questions I’ve emailed to them have been answered immediately even though I haven’t sent them my files yet. D2D hosts a YouTube channel (among many other services they provide) that is chock-full of information.

IngramSpark, a print-on-demand self-publishing company that offers many benefits, including a large global reach.

Amazon’s KDP: From what I read it is a good idea to publish with KDP as well.

Since I haven’t started this last process of working with the self-publishing companies, I can’t speak to that. But I can tell you what I’ve learned so far.

ISBN Numbers: A Big Subject!
I spent an entire Friday evening studying what to do about obtaining an ISBN number for Secret in the Stars. Don’t worry, it was fun! KDP offers a free ISBN when you publish with them, however, author beware. From what I read this number is not transferable. In other words, KDP does not allow the number to be used with other publishing companies. So, I decided to purchase my own ISBN number, and went with the 10-number option, as these numbers never expire and can be used for different editions of your book, and for future books. Please note: ISBN numbers are not required for eBooks, and for books that will not be available in stores or libraries. Acquiring an ISBN number for your book is a study in itself. I opted to purchase my numbers from the ISBN source, Bowker.

While filling out my purchases with Bowker, I included with the ten ISBN numbers, one bar code, and one other item: a Book2Look Biblet. There are additional options you can purchase such as registration of a copyright, a QR code, and more.

Book2Look: Learning about this marketing tool was better than watching TV! I am very excited about creating my Biblet for Secret in the Stars. The caveat for me was that the children’s author who is featured on the YouTube video about Book2Look is Karen Inglis. I didn’t realize I knew her—she’s from England—until the Biblet for one of her books, The Secret Lake, was described. I have read that book and found it on my bookshelf. It truly is a small world!

Though the process for publishing my book took more time than if I had published with my original publisher, the time has been well spent. And it’s been a fun learning experience only to be matched, I would imagine, when my book is finally published!
Credit for introductory image:
Credit for the social media image: 100Covers
 Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, will be out soon. Follow Linda on


Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for this post and loading it with resources and insights. Whether you self-publish or hybrid or traditional, every author has to learn about the options then make the right choices for them. It is not easy--as I well know after my years in this business--but it is a journey and each of us are on it.

author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Terry. I hope this post helps authors on their journey. As you said, publishing can be a rocky road but thank goodness we help each other make our dreams come true. It's part of the reason I love publishing so much--the many wonderful people I've met along the way.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Great example of the value of networking Linda! You were lucky to ffind Karen. Groups at .io. , Google etc. But they are not all created equal. It’s one of the reasons I like books. They are frugal. It’s easy to check authors’ credentials and you will almost certainly get info you didn’t know you should ask! 😊❤️📚Hugs, Carolyn

Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, what a valuable article. There are so many authors who don't know the steps needed to self-publish a book. There is definitely a learning curve and you've helped shorten it!

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Carolyn and Karen. I hope the post helps authors have a smooth journey to self-publication!

deborah lyn said...

Wow Linda, this is so helpful for all writers! Thank you.

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Deborah!

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing Uni...