Monday, November 18, 2019

#GuestPost - "What I’ve learned about self-publishing" by Dee S Knight

Let's give a big welcome to Dee! She's been gracious enough to share with us her journey into self-publishing.

What I’ve learned about self-publishing

The short answer is, not everything, by a long shot! But I have dipped my toe in the water.

I’ve been writing for (gulp!) 18 years. Not straight through—I’ve taken off a few years here and there. All of my books except this last one, One Woman Only, has been published through a series of publishers: Liquid Silver Books (now Liquid Silver Publishing), Samhain, Whispers, Siren-Bookstrand, and Black Velvet Seductions. Finally, the time came last spring when I decided I wanted to have a little more control over my own destiny. I want to be able to look and see when I sell books, keep track of my own royalties, and—maybe most important—control when my book is released. When I finish a book, I’m usually sick of it and need a break. But shortly thereafter, I’m ready for it to be published—I want to see those edits, have the thrill of seeing a new cover, and then be ale to say, “Ta-da! It’s here!!” With a publisher, it can be months between sending in the book and getting through those things. Last spring I decided I was ready to get past my fears and make those things happen myself.

So, making the decision was the first thing that had to happen. The second was finish the book. Yes, that step is still up to me completely. After writing, the differences between being self-pubbed and traditionally pubbed (meaning through any good ePublisher or major print publisher) begin.

  • Editing. The publisher usually edits your book. Some publishers do this better than others, I’ve found. When you are self-pubbed, you are responsible for finding an editor. I have a friend who edits professionally. She charges about $350 for a 65,000 word book. That’s primarily for line editing. For content editing it would be more. That’s money spent up front before your book can go to market.
  • Cover art. Unless you are pretty good with graphics, you might want to find someone to do cover art. I created the cover for my book, but I worry that it doesn’t look as professional as my other covers. FIVERR has people who do cover work and I’ve been contacted by several people on LinkedIn, and most of them are not terribly expensive. The biggest problem is finding an artist with whom you have confidence and get along. Not a problem with my “cover artist.” I get along with myself fine.
  • ISBNs. I’m not absolutely sure on this, but I don’t think you have to have an ISBN number. I have some eBooks that don’t have them and others that do. I decided to buy ISBN numbers and go with books the way I’m used to thinking of them. Amazon will assign an ASIN number, which I think is Amazon’s form of ISBN. If you want an ISBN number, you can buy them through Bowker. They are not cheap. We paid $295 for 10 numbers. Be aware that if you use ISBN numbers, you need one for the eBook and a separate one for the print version.
  • Keywords. One of the things you will be asked for on Amazon is keywords. This is about 40 words (plus or minus) that are words readers would use to find your book. This seems easy. It’s not. Be sure to gather words readers will actually use to find your book. That is the point, after all. Then hold on to them for during the uploading process.
  • Formatting the eBook. There are lots of places to turn to for formatting. I recently purchased Dave Chesson’s Publisher Rocket and I believe he has a way to format. FIVERR also has people who will format. I decided to put my book on Kindle Unlimited since Book 1 of the series is there, so I went with KDP Select. Being on KU means that the book can only be offered through Amazon, which makes things easier at this point but limits where you can make sales. Amazon provides a handy guide that leads you through how to format your book in order to upload it to their processing system. Surprisingly, you can still use some Word features like First line, but most features you will want to turn off. No headers/footers, no page numbering, no double spacing (I think. To be safe, I went with single line and used double returns between paragraphs). You can use Word’s table of contents feature as long as you set your chapter headings to the proper paragraph style. All in all, it’s pretty painless. Once you upload it, you can preview the book before accepting it and having Amazon upload the book for real.
  • Formatting the print book. This is slightly more complicated than formatting the eBook. Amazon provides a guideline for how to format print books, too. The biggest differences are that you can have headers and footers (I have my name on even pages and the book title on odd), you can format gutters so that when the book is printed there is room for the binding, you can have page numbers. You will need to upload your cover and select a back cover, and then add text to the back cover. This is what has given me the most difficulty so far. What looks great on the screen might not fit within their parameters, so once you know what they are, you will think more about those parameters from the beginning next time (lesson learned).

I know that as we do more of these books (my husband and I set ourselves up as Nomad Authors Publishing), the easier and faster it will become. But even as a beginners, the eBook for my book was uploaded in one evening and available a day later. Changes can be re-uploaded if need be.

Despite having purchased Publishing Rocket, this isn’t rocket science. If self-publishing is something you’ve dreamed of trying, jump in. There are plenty of guides and blog articles around to help you through the tough spots. And authors are very generous people, usually willing to lend a helping hand if you’re in a bind.

I am reminded of the Irish in the northeast before and during the War Between the States. Jobs were hard to find (“No Irish allowed” was a sign seen frequently), and when a job was found, they worked long hours for little pay. When told they might work like slaves but they were free, the Irish replied that they were free all right, free to starve. There are pluses and minuses to everything. Stay with a publisher and you might not be “free,” but you will have a safety net, group support with colleagues in the same house, and probably some help promoting your work. Go the self-pubbed route and you will be free—free to pay for your own editor and cover art, free to do all your own formatting and uploading, free to do all your own promotions. It’s a lot to consider. At this stage in my career, I’d rather be free.

One Woman Only, the Good Man series, Book 2
Release date, November 2019
Words: 80,310
Publisher: Nomad Authors Publishing

Buy Link

One Woman Only is on KU:


As one of a set of triplets, Jonah always feels the need to make his individuality known. So where his brother Daniel is serious and completely focused, Jonah shuns commitment. Where his genius brother Mark is hailed in the scientific world, Jonah hides beneath a car, tinkering. Thing is, being different isn't all it’s cracked up to be. It takes a woman—the right woman—to make him see that a "good man" can always be a better man.


Jonah hit Saturday hard. He started with a five-mile run, something he used to do every day but had slacked on over Thanksgiving. He needed to stay in shape so he could enjoy the Christmas feast his mom was known for. No question that the older he got the closer he came to the "done-lop" problem—where his stomach "done lopped" over his belt. Sure, he was only in his mid-thirties, but flab could take over without warning.

After his run and a shower, he checked in with his uncle. The garage was closed on the weekends, but if Zeb had work that needed attention, Jonah would stay in town and help.

When Zeb said nothing was scheduled, Jonah asked, "Want to run up home with me, visit with Mom and Dad? I'm coming back tomorrow, and you know they have plenty of space at the house. You can meet Daniel and his new family."

"Maybe next time. I have some tinkering to do around here, and Clemson is playing this afternoon."

"Okay, then. If you don't need me, I'll see you tomorrow, I guess."

"Drive safe, son. Tell your mama and daddy hello for me."

"Will do."

The day couldn't have been more perfect for driving if Jonah had ordered it up. Slightly cloudy but with some sun. A nice breeze flew in the passenger’s window, which was down a couple of inches, and hurried to the driver’s window, open about the same amount. The air would be chillier the farther into the mountains he drove, but for now, conditions were perfect.

An old Travis Tritt song came on the radio and Jonah added his baritone to Travis' as Ginger opened up and sped through the lowlands and toward the North Carolina mountains surrounding Lucky Strike.

Most people associated the name of his town with the cigarette, but anyone who did so was wrong. The town was named when an eighteenth-century farmer found a large emerald while plowing his field. He promptly gave up on farming and instead dug for precious stones. When North Carolina stopped being a colony and started being a state, the town of Lucky Strike—the "lucky strike" being the emeralds the now wealthy farmer had found—was formed, and consolidated the land where the farm had been.

As a kid Jonah had never given the town's name a thought except to how it had looked as part of the school name on the back of his letter jacket. Now, he liked the quaintness of the place, the way he relaxed once he hit the town limits after being in "the cities," meaning Asheville or Charlotte. As an adult he'd come to appreciate his hometown in a way he never had as a child. And his appreciation was never greater than when he spotted his parents' house.

He pulled in the driveway behind Daniel's old Volvo. Man, that thing had seen better days, but Daniel seemed to love it. At least with Daniel living close, Jonah could help keep the thing in tune and running.

"Speak of the devil," Jonah said, as Daniel exited the house with his son, Timmy.

"Jonah!" Timmy screamed his name and came running for him. Jonah scooped the boy into his arms, laughing.

"What has you so excited, huh?"

The boy’s dark eyes sparkled and his mouth held a wide smile. "My dad got the job you told him about and the school is really cool and we're going up next week to look for a new house for all of us and I might even get a dog."

"A dog? Wow! No wonder you're so excited."

"I know. And right now, we're going to get ice cream for dessert because gramma is making supper and she said she wanted some ice cream. What kind do you like, Jonah?"

"Vanilla for me."

Timmy scrunched his face into a scowl. Vanilla?"

"Well, with lots of chocolate sauce on it."

The boy smiled again. "That's okay, then." Then he twisted to throw a disparaging look at Ginger. "Except Dad says your heap is in the way. What's a heap? I thought you drove a car."

Jonah looked to Daniel who stood laughing softly at Tim's rant. He raised his brows and said meaningfully, "I don't drive a car, Tim. I drive a classic, original 1965 GTO. It's very special. Her name is Ginger. Wanna go for ice cream in Ginger?"

Tim twisted toward Daniel so fast, Jonah almost dropped him. "Can we Dad? Can we take Ginger?"

With a wry smile, Daniel took Tim from Jonah. "Not this time. We have your car seat in our car. But later we can go out if your Uncle Jonah says it's okay."

If possible, Tim's eyes grew even larger. "You're my uncle? I've never had an uncle before."

"Now you have two of them. Me and Mark. Remember Mark from the wedding?"

"Is that the man who kept talking about math and stuff?" Tim asked Daniel.

"That’s him." Daniel held out his hand to shake and Jonah took it firmly. "What brings you home this weekend?"

"Wanted to see Mom and Dad now that all the hoopla is over. Zeb said to tell you hi and that he'll be up with me for Christmas to meet everybody."

"It'll be good to see him."

"So I guess congratulations are due for the new job? When do you start? I thought you had to finish the year up in New Hampshire."

Timmy squirmed to get down, so Daniel set him on his feet. "Don't go near the street."

"Okay, Dad," Tim shouted as he took off across the front yard, arms spread wide like an airplane.

"It seems that while we were here over Thanksgiving, the headmaster filled my spot. They don't acknowledge that Eve and I created a scandal, and they aren't accusing us of creating a scandal—"

"But they want any possible scandal gone far, far away."

"You got it." Daniel shrugged. "Once I spoke with the president of the school down here, I was ready to make the move. We went down to Asheville to meet her and look over the campus the day after we got back, and they offered me the job later that afternoon. We're ready to start our new lives. I have enough money to tide us over, and it’s only a few weeks before I start in Asheville, in the new year."

"Asheville is a good place to live. I'm glad things are working out for you."

"Eve and I will be going after the weekend to find a temporary place to live while we look for a house, and to get Tim enrolled in school. Then we'll be there, getting used to the town and getting a feel for the school."

"You'll do great, Daniel. They're lucky to have you."

"Thanks." Daniel stole a glance over Jonah's left shoulder. "Looks like you might be lucky, too."

Jonah turned to see what Daniel was talking about, just in time to see Kelly's RAV4 turn the corner. His heart rate skipped with that little bit of contact. Damn it. She didn’t even see him. Didn't wave or honk the horn. And still his heart knew her. And wanted her.

Just like other parts of his anatomy.

"Don’t you have to move this heap that's blocking my classic? If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say she was coming from her home and going towards The Emerald. It is lunch time."

"She might not be going to the diner."

"Right. She might not be. But don't you have to move that heap anyway? Check it out, dude. Jeez, do I have to tell you everything?" He turned. "Come on, Son. Let's go get some boring old vanilla ice cream."

Tim came flying across the yard. "Can I have chocolate, Dad?" he shouted.

"You can have anything you want," Daniel said, and gave Tim a big kiss as he lifted him into the air.

Tim wiped it off and scrunched his face again. "Boys don't kiss, Dad."

"Oh, yes they do." And he smothered Tim in kisses until the boy shrieked with giggles.

Jonah had to turn away. He loved that Daniel had found such happiness but seeing him like this filled Jonah with a feeling he'd never known before. Jealousy. And he didn't like it.

"Okay, see you guys soon," he called over his shoulder.

"Good hunting," Daniel called back."

"Is Uncle Jonah going to hunt something? Is it a bear?"

He didn't hear Daniel's reply. Instead his mind zeroed in on one goal. Finding Kelly Shepherd.


A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at

Author links


  1. Amber, thank you so much for hosting me today!

  2. Dee.

    This is a great blog. I have many friends who self-publish and also dual publish (publisher and self).

    I've thought about it fleetingly, but it's the up front not knowing what you're doing that keeps me away from self-publishing.

    Do you do your own press releases? Have you thought of teaching this as a workshop?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise.


  3. Carol, I have not thought about doing that! Stupid, stupid me! I do my own everything, lol, which shows again how much I have to learn. This was my first cover, for instance. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Great post, Dee, thank you for sharing your journey with us! I look forward to reading the book!

  5. Dee:
    I'm happy for your new adventure, but that is too expensive for me to do. Plus, I am happy working with the BVS staff and author friends.

  6. Callie, I absolutely agree. I have nothing but good things to say about BVS! Great cover artists, great boss, great community.

  7. A great post Dee and congratulations, it was a big step to self publish. and like your books, a credit to you. I'm loving the Good Man series and waiting to meet Mark in book three.

  8. Self-publishing can feel pretty daunting, especially when you think of all the work that goes into it; however, I love how welcoming the indie community can be. If you have any questions, they are more than happy to answer.

    I got my feet wet a few months back with self-publishing, and learned some of the ropes. Who knows maybe I'll do the same in the future when I'm more comfortable.

    Good luck with your new book, Dee. :)

    1. Thanks so much, Patricia! There are a lot of advantages to working under a publisher's umbrella, though. Like our fabulous Mystic Desire anthology. Hard to write an anthology on your own. ;)

  9. Great post Dee! Love the input on self publishing. I’m sure it does have pluses and minuses. The excerpt is great and makes me want to find out more about Jonah (hot Daniel’s brother! Yes. I still have Daniel on my mind!) lol.


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