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The DIY Publishing Diary: Volume Four – The Basics

Here are some things I’ve learned over the past few months:

How to find a Cover Designer
Cue mini rant – Never under any circumstances should anyone put their book out into the world without a cover. I read a story on the Absolute Write forum by someone who actually put her book up on Amazon without a cover on it!! Someone felt sorry for the poor girl and made a cheapo, but pretty, abstract cover for her to slap on there, but REALLY?! End PSA.

There is always Google, but I found it more helpful to do three things:
1) Ask your writing friends who have published a book where they got their covers.
2) Check out the title pages/acknowledgement page/back cover of books – the cover designer gets a shout out somewhere on those pages.
3) Ask around in general – most writers are happy to help.

Know how much you want to spend beforehand. I was not going to spend $1000 for example. That is ridiculous.

How to find an Editor
Second mini rant – a “friend who is good at proofreading” does not replace an editor. I don’t care how cheap the book is. I don’t care if it’s free. It’s hard on the eyes to have a minefield of unedited crap everywhere and it’s rude. At the very least, find a college student in that field. I was an English major. I knew lots of students who would have been happy to edit someone’s crap for $20, including me. We probably would have done it for free, just for the experience. It wouldn’t have been 100% Chicago Manual of Style compliant, but it would have been clean. End PSA

One of things that will make this decision easier is deciding what kind of editor you want. I wanted someone who would do developmental/content editing AND line editing, so that’s what I focused on when gathering information. I ended up going with someone I met at a local writer’s conference in 2015, but there are lots of places to find editors, it turns out. I talked to someone who found their editors on the Kindle Publishing Board Yellow Pages ( Lots of sites that cater to writers will have a list of where to find good editors.

How to write a Blurb
This wasn’t super hard, honestly, I have been a querying a time or seven, but the best advice I got on this was to hone this skill the same way I learned how to write – by reading. They advised reading the blurbs of books in my genre, but I took this one step further by specifically reading the blurbs of books that I thought were intriguing and interesting and have picked up to read myself. Most of them were going to be in my genre anyway. I highly suggest this. Then get some feedback on it, of course, because a writer can be biased. LOL! And also because a writer can let awkward sentences fly sometimes. Haha… I also referenced a book on how to write a query letter, focusing on the summary writing part. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s just called “Query” by CJ Redwine.

Some Thoughts
Saying that there is a steep learning curve to this is a complete understatement. If I had known going in, honestly, I would have done it anyway because I’m cocky, but now all the hardest stuff is done, at least, kind of. All the tedious stuff is done, let’s say that.

Biggest Stumbling Blocks
Formatting – until I went with a template – and uploading a cover to NookPress. No joke, my file was like 0.04 inches too wide for their platform, and I’m like, “Are you kidding me? OMG!!” You don’t even want to know what I had to do to get that ish to work. 😭 LOL!

Final Thoughts
The good news is that I’m going to save so much time next time!!

Exciting News Close On
First: I have an interview up on Smashwords! Hop over there if you want to read it. ^_^
Second: The official cover reveal is Wednesday March 8!! I can’t wait to get it uploaded everywhere. Mark your calendars and come congratulate me. Haha. I’ve been working so hard, people! I earned myself a big bowl of crushed ice, I think. Seriously, eat some with a spoon and tell me it doesn’t taste great.
Third: I’m officially a Goodreads Author! And I have an author page on Amazon! So crazy.




  • Tonja Drecker

    Without a cover on Amazon? Wow. But I guess there’s everything. Editing is SO important and not a place to skimp. Glad you found someone you like! As to formatting – ugh. That is the one beast which terrifies me. I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about that one. I’m going to go check out your interview..and yay to goodreads!

    • Krystal Jane

      I do like my editor! Most importantly I trust her judgement. I actually really liked formatting once I got the template. It’s still time consuming, but worth it! ^_^ If you ever find yourself in the position, definitely get a template!

    • Krystal Jane

      Right?! The first book I finished this year was “proofread by friends” and very painful to read. I’m actually looking forward to formatting the next book! Haha. I enjoyed it once I had a handle on what I was doing. 😀

  • Thea Landen

    The first time definitely is the hardest! I still hate writing blurbs, and I think I always will. And yeah, there are some people charging craaaaaazy prices for covers out there.

    Let me see if I can find you on Goodreads! (which I probably don’t use enough)

    • Krystal Jane

      Yay! ^_^ I always think the blurb is going to be easy. Then I get started and it’s like, nope. I went to a cover panel at a conference one time, and one of the designers said people pay in the thousands sometimes for a custom photo shoot! What?

  • A.S. Akkalon

    Wow, exciting times! Congratulations!

    Books that haven’t been edited (or have been edited badly) drive me nuts. Why would people do that? 🙁

    • Krystal Jane

      Thank you! ^_^

      Oh my gosh, I know!! There are few things that irritate me more than crap editing. Even if the writing isn’t great, if it’s at least clean and interesting, I can get through it.

    • Krystal Jane

      Isn’t it?! That blew my mind. She gave all these excuses for why she did that, but it’s like, no, there is no excuse for that.

      Thank you so much! It’s so good to know that it gets easier, faster especially. LOL!

  • sandiedocker

    For the love of all things Chocolatey, people, have your books edited!!!!!

    I recently read a self-pubbed book that I was planning to give away on my site, but there were SOOOO many mistakes in it, I just couldn’t. And it was a good book. Really was. But I couldn’t promote it because of the mistakes.

    I’m so excited for next week’s reveal!!!!

    • Krystal Jane

      I had to downrate an otherwise interesting book in a review earlier this year for the same reason. It was really sad. But it’s not fair to gloss over it. I wish people who thought it was okay to skip having an editor could see why it makes the reading experience so bad instead of making excuses for it.

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