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message 1: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments For those in the group who have self-pubbed, what advice do you have for going that route?

I've read posts in the group regarding Lightning Source for POD.

What about cover design? Editing services? What/whom did you use, if any? Or did you do the work yourself?

Did you solicit quotes from writer colleagues and friends?

Did you do some pre-launch promotion? What types of promotion have you done?

And what have you learned along the way that you would've done differently?

This group is filled with such talented and experienced folk, I'd love to get your insights!


message 2: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 14, 2011 02:46AM) (new)

Elizabeth Isaacs (eisaacs) | 339 comments Mod
Hey there!
LS is the way to go, smashwords for ebooks. At least that's what I'm now doing. Royalties are much better, and you have complete control.

You must be warned that LS will view you as the publisher. You need to find a formatter with postscript printer/adobe distiller capabilities. That's an absolute must. Also, really do your homework on pricing, and realize that everything a publisher does is now your responsibility.

Smashwords is wonderful, and if there are mistakes, or you revise your work, you can just update the file. You MUST read their guide to publishing, though. Extremely important.

Regarding editing...I have both a content editor and a wonderful line editor. These you must have. There are some wonderful people out there, but the content editor really has to be able to love the story as much as you do.

Our resident Megan Curd does book trailers and cover design. She'd be a great place to start! And our very own Tracy Riva is a great line editor too! Although I'm not sure if she's swamped at the moment or not.

Are you a member of other author groups on here? Tons of promo stuff on other sites. Great place to start (I just jumped in, but I'm definitely the exception).

Hope this helps!

message 3: by L.T. (new)

L.T. (ltsuzuki) | 53 comments Definitely, Lightning Source is the way to go in terms of value for dollar in regards to distribution. They've partnered with Ingram and many POD companies like Trafford charge the author a huge premium to use Ingram for distribution.
And Smashwords is great for distribution of ebooks. Lucky for me, my husband is a graphic artist and designed book covers and formatted my books for me.

message 4: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments Beth and L.T.,

Thanks for weighing in. So far, Smashwords for ebooks and Lightning Source for POD.

Sounds like other items needed are:
- copy editor
- line editor
- cover design artist
- formatter

Anything else I am missing? Any suggestions on finding the above?

As I do research on this topic, I'll be blogging about what I find at

I just bought a NookColor and am surprised at the books that come up when I browse the romance offerings. Seems like there is lots of room for self-pubs to get a foot in at this point. Any tips on getting ebooks into all venues (not just Amazon)?

Great to have success stories like yours to share with readers!


message 5: by L.T. (new)

L.T. (ltsuzuki) | 53 comments Definitely Smashwords for ebooks. I've actually sold more book thru the Apple store thanks to Smashwords. I guess lots of people read off of iPods. Also sold thru Kobo and Sony because of Smashwords so they're pretty good at ebook distribution.

message 6: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments Interesting blog post about LS versus Createspace:

It looks like you need to start a small business to use LS, and buy ISBNs in a block as well. Createspace looks like they make it simpler, but you end up losing that in per-book profits.

Beth- tips on finding a formatter?

L.T. Lucky you for having a hubby who is a graphic artist. My hubby can cook. Maybe I should have you over and swap services. :)

Thanks for help, ladies!

message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Isaacs (eisaacs) | 339 comments Mod
How much are you willing to spend? The reason I ask is the book has to be formatted in two ways. LS is PDF adobe acrobat 9 with distiller, smashwords is through windows.doc files, so it will have to be formatted twice.

message 8: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments Beth,

After researching Createspace versus Lightning Source last night, I am leaning toward CS. I definitely see the pros of LS, but set-up and learning curve are prohibitive. Since I am not planning on publishing a dozen books, it seems CS is the better option for me.


And BTW, thanks for recommending Megan Curd. She's a sweetie! :)

message 9: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 16, 2011 11:59AM) (new)

Elizabeth Isaacs (eisaacs) | 339 comments Mod
I think every author has to do what's best for them. And there definitely is a HUGE learning curve with LS. I'm planning on two more in this series and then starting another, so LS was a better fit for me, but it's important to go with who will best fit your needs.

And Megan is one of my favorite people on the planet! :-D

message 10: by LK (new)

LK Griffie (lkgardner-griffie) | 51 comments Cyndi wrote: "Beth,

After researching Createspace versus Lightning Source last night, I am leaning toward CS. I definitely see the pros of LS, but set-up and learning curve are prohibitive. Since I am not pla..."

I've been meaning to jump in on this thread, but my days have been a bit crazy. I agree with Elizabeth that every author has to do the best for them, but the good news is that if you decide to go with CS vs LSI, there are variations on how you can do it. For example, mine are on CS right now, but with my own ISBN and I have done the ebooks with Smashwords. CS is not providing me full distribution, because I plan (once I find those few spare minutes in the day) to do the full distribution through LS, but would opt out of posting to Amazon because the books are already there. Similar to my Smashwords distribution because I had a book on Kindle (Misfit McCabe) before Mark started Smashwords, so I opt out of Kindle distribution through Smashwords.

So it really is up to you on what you think will be the best fit - there are so many options out there.

And Megan is a fantastic person.

message 11: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments LK- Thanks for putting in your two cents and sharing your experience! It's too bad we can't buy a 100-pack of ISBNs for the cheaper price and then let friends buy them (instead of the $125 for one or $250 for 10). *grin*

I am knee deep in formatting research now (who knew that was so detailed???), but will definitely post as I make progress on this journey.

I love this supportive community!

message 12: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments Beth- I saw on your blog post (which was lovely, BTW) that you'd outgrown your original publishing oulet for Asteria and were changing to LS.

If I start with Createspace, there's nothing to keep me from changing to LS later, should Between gain traction in the market. Correct?

message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Isaacs (eisaacs) | 339 comments Mod
That's the glory of being your own boss. You own distribution rights. You call the shots. Yes,if you are unhappy with CS,I believe you can pull it anytime. I've never dealt with them, but if there is a contract you might want to be sure and read the fine print.

message 14: by LK (new)

LK Griffie (lkgardner-griffie) | 51 comments Elizabeth wrote: "That's the glory of being your own boss. You own distribution rights. You call the shots. Yes,if you are unhappy with CS,I believe you can pull it anytime. I've never dealt with them, but if there ..."

You can pull it, the only question becomes who owns the ISBN at that point. If you own the ISBN - pull & away you go... if they do, it is not quite as simple. And with CS you actually make a little more through them with Amazon than through LS because of Amazon's terms (I'm digging in my memory here - I think that's with the Pro-plan) and there isn't any reason if you start with CS why you can't keep the Amazon listing and do the broader distro with LS. Or at least as long as you own the ISBN.

message 15: by L.T. (new)

L.T. (ltsuzuki) | 53 comments Another thing to keep in mind that if you decide to pull your work from Createspace who list only with Amazon because they own this company to go with broader distribution with LS, Amazon is painfully slow with removing old titles from their list. My titles that were once with Trafford that I removed to publish with LS are still up on Amazon almost a year after Trafford advised them they are no longer the publisher.
Also, if you do a search on complaints about Createspace, it seems that authors have a number of complaints including payment of royalties. Where as I could only find 1 lodged with BBB with LS. A big difference!

message 16: by Cyndi (new)

Cyndi Tefft (cynditefft) | 38 comments Ooooh, ladies, you are swaying me to LS, I must admit! :)

Best news: I got an offer from an indie this weekend so one way or the other, I will be a published author by this summer.

Let's just say, after a blood orange martini in celebration, I had a hard time holding back the tears of relief after a year's worth of rejection from agents!

message 17: by L.T. (new)

L.T. (ltsuzuki) | 53 comments That's great news, Cyndi! Just read the fine print carefully. If the book doesn't meet expected targets within a specific time and the publisher decides to back list it, find out how long they will hold the rights. Some like Publish America will hold rights for 7 years and charge $250 or so in legal fees if you want out to go with another publisher.

message 18: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Isaacs (eisaacs) | 339 comments Mod
First off, congrats!!!! So excited for you! But I have to agree with Lorna. When you get the contract, take it to a lawyer. Have him break down exactly what they mean, and don't have the mindset of "I'm an unknown, so I'll take what I can get". That mentality is true to a certain extent,but some publishers bank on it. They want to have all the candy in their jar. Just be sure that you can live with what they are offering, and I officially give you permission to reject the offer if it's not what you want. This is your work, your baby, your hours of sweat, your tears as people have passed it over. You have options. Just don't forget! :-D

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