Misha Gerick is here to talk about self publishing, but first Decree of Hope is free today.
Thanks for having me over, Beth!
When I started out writing, I never thought I’d take the self-publishing route. It wasn’t that I ever
assumed that the quality was necessarily bad, but I didn’t think it would be practical, since I live
on the other side of the world from my market. (South Africa, for those of you who don’t know.)
But hey, life takes interesting twists and turns, and here I am. Publishing on my own for a variety
of very good reasons. And you know what? I have a huge sense of pride and accomplishment in
these books because literally everything in these two books—except for the critiques and
editorial advice from my former publishing deal that helped me edit—was done by me.
The thing is… I don’t really do things the easy way. I didn’t pick one book to publish. I
published both because The Heir’s Choice was way over-due. AND I think both books would be
better served if I published them together. So not only did I have to pick up one heck of a
learning curve, I had to do it twice. Because no, just because both books are supposedly uniform
does not mean that they’re identical.
Luckily for me, I belong to a group of writers called Untethered Realms
(http://untetheredrealms.blogspot.com), consisting of indie writers who’ve seen it all from a
self-publishing perspective. I ran almost everything by them (until it felt like I was annoying
them, but they were super-nice about it). But I know not everyone is as lucky as me, so here are
my five best tips, based on things I’ve learned, for those of you who want to do everything on
1) Editing: Print out your work to proofread. Preferably do so in a font different to the one you
use when you write. I stumbled across this one by accident because I’m planning to have the
paperback versions out very close to the e-book release dates. (Waiting for the proof copies to
The idea is to print out the version you want to submit for print, in landscape and two pages per
page. That way, you get an idea of what the book will look like and you can spot editing errors.
Not only that, but you can read through the whole thing again and you will spot things that can
be written better, or places where you made mistakes. Our brains are wired to gloss over things
they’re used to. Which means that staring at a computer screen in the font you know will result
in you missing a lot.
2) Cover Design: Bonus tip: If at all possible, get Photoshop. It has a month long trial and after
that, it has a really fair monthly payment plan. This is especially justifiable if you’re like me and
you’re planning to publish a vast amount of books.
The actual tip is this: If you know what you want in your cover, don’t give up on it because you
don’t know how to make it happen.
Instead, GOOGLE: How to….on Photoshop. There will be a myriad solutions, possibly with
Bonus bonus tip: If you have a light-colored cover like mine, put a thin medium gray border
around the versions you’ll be posting on websites. NOT the one in your epub. BUT INDEED ON
the pic Amazon and the like requests to post on their website. You’re welcome.
4) Formatting: Don’t cut corners, and unless you want to do something really special with your
e-version, don’t pay someone else to do it. Instead, download Smashword’s style guide and
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. Every single one of them. Including the bit that says: “Go
Bonus Tip: Don’t use your original file to go nuclear. But do use it to create a list of all the
places where you have italics and the like. Use your search function to find those places in your
nuclear version so you can put the italics back. It’s faster than doing it one at a time.
5) Tax: This is for the Non-US writers wanting to self-publish. If you’ve already had a
publishing deal, you’ll know this, but any company that has to handle your royalties are required
to charge you withholding unless you submit a form that exempts you for living in a country that
has a tax treaty with the US.
This means that if you don’t submit the form, you will in fact be TAXED TWICE (in the US
and in your own country). But to submit the form, you need a US Tax number called an ITIN.
Before you even think about hitting the publishing button, you need to have the ITIN in your
hand. Because right before or right after hitting publish, you want that tax form (called Form
W8BEN) submitted to Amazon, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, or whoever else will be paying out
Those are the best self-publishing tips I have. I hope this helps you all on your road to publishing
your own work.
Have you published your own work? What’s your best tip?
If you haven’t published yet, are you considering self-publishing?
Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after
her dream of making a living as a writer.
If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog
(http://Sylmion.blogspot.com), where she also discusses all things related to writing and
Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing
next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):
You can follow her Tumblr (http://mishagerrick.tumblr.com)
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick