Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Tips for Self Publishing from Misha Gericke

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

(, 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

your own.

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

instructional videos.

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

your money.

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

(, 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 (

You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1

And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick


  1. Do you have advice for generating reviews?

    1. I have to admit that this one, I'm still working on. What I did so far was to ask for reviewers on my blog, which got me six people interested in reading one or both of my book. And then I got one more from Goodreads and submitted to a blog.

      I'm lucky in that I also had some reviews from the last time that The Vanished Knight was live (Amazon was nice enough to transfer them to this edition), so I'll be starting off with about 15 in total.

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  2. Awesome advice, Misha. Thank you! I would definitely want to do things myself too.

  3. Great advice here. If you can't afford Photoshop, GIMP is a great alternative. That's how we make all of our covers, and it's free. Also, one of my favorite ways of editing is reading the story aloud to wife. Every single book I've ever written I've read aloud to her (insert studio audience "awww"). Reading something in your head is okay, but hearing it read aloud can really help with flow and structure.

    1. The reading aloud tip helps. I read aloud to my cats. (Insert studio audience "aaaaaaw how pathetic...")

      Sadly short of a suitable spouse. And the cats probably aren't Fantasy fans, because they took turns listening.

    2. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Good advice, Misha. That was a lot you had to learn. PhotoShop really is the best tool for creating graphics.

    1. Thanks, Alex. Yeah I have Gimp and Photoshop, and I have to say PS is worth every cent. (And it really isn't that expensive.)

    2. Thanks for stopping by Alex. I wish I could learn to make my own covers like some of you.

  5. I'm so impressed that you did your own graphics. Even when I read Photoshop instructions I am still hopeless at making anything presentable! After everything you've gone through in publishing I hope these two books are both smash hits.

  6. Fantastic advice. It takes tons of work to self-publish and I don't think many new authors realize that. I have Photoshop, and I'm always learning new tricks on it. It's a great skill to have as an indie author.

    1. I agree with you on Photoshop. I think my next authorly investment will be to take an actual course on using Photoshop, because I think there are a ton of tools I could use but don't know or don't understand.

  7. These are all essential. Good advice.

  8. Reading aloud, Photoshop, Gimp, double taxation! I certainly would never have believed that possible! Thanks for the exceptional advice.

  9. I send my final file to my Kindle and use the text to speech feature to have it read to me. You can hear the errors and it keeps your brain from filling in missing words or letters.

    Congrats, Misha!

  10. All great advice! :) I went through the whole tax process, but sadly there's no tax treaty between the US and Hong Kong (where I live) so I get the joy of double taxation anyway. Boo.

  11. Great tips for self publishing. Thanks for the advice!

  12. Great tips and with important detail I didn't know, especially about the taxes! Thank you.

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