Successful Self-Publishing— a Writer’s Digest University workshop

I  signed up for a workshop about self-publishing that started Thursday.

I’m sitting here at my desk beside a stack of 212 pages of a manuscript that is in the final stages of editing. I just need to re-scan a few photos to get a better resolution. My daughter, who is a graphic designer for a text book company (how convenient is that?) is formatting the manuscript into a book for me. My son, who is an industrial designer for a major toy company and an aspiring artist, is designing artwork for the book cover (again, how convenient, and downright lucky?)

At the beginning of April I described my publication plan in a post I wrote called  Back to work on my memoir and how to get it published.  At that time I planned to “polish” everything up (the industry’s word, not mine. I still fail to see how something made of paper and ink can be polished.) I had a query letter drafted and mostly ready to go, a membership to Writer’s Market online and a list of agents to send queries to. I planned to draft a book proposal. That’s where I’ve stalled out.

I might just be jaded by all I hear concerning the difficulty of getting published by traditional means. I know a talented writer who waited four years until she finally got an agent. I’m not that patient.

Or I might just be balking at the formidable task of writing a seven-part, 30-page book proposal.

The second part of my publishing plan was to investigate self-publishing. So when the advertisement for the Writer’s Digest University Successful Self-Publishing workshop appeared in my inbox, I jumped on it.

I haven’t abandoned my get-an-agent plan, but am just educating myself about all the possibilities (and patience and work involved).

The workshop is not inexpensive at $350 for ten weeks, working out to be $35 a week. But it is cheaper than a college course (and on some weeks my out-to-lunch budget). I took a WD memoir workshop at the end of last year that I found to be worth the money.

This workshop focuses on publishing aspects like setting goals, a schedule and a budget; preparing the book for publication; producing the book and all the pesky decisions you need to make about ISBN (I still don’t know what that one is), copyright, Library of Congress registration; distributing the book; promoting and tracking the book. The textbook we’re using is The Indie Author Guide— self-publishing strategies anyone can use by April L. Hamilton.

My first assignment is to complete a publishing project worksheet to define a selected (or invented) book (e.g. genre, page count, etc.). As I have an actual finished manuscript, this shouldn’t be too hard. Then I have to write up a 750–1,500 word description of my book project, including the title, genre, page count, intended audience and other information to describe my project, for review and feedback from the instructor. I think I might have to have this done by Monday (still trying to figure it all out), which might be a challenge because my son, daughter-in-law and

6-month old grandson

will be here this weekend. Can you tell I’m excited? You’ll probably be seeing a few slapped-up archive photographs for my quick posts this weekend. ( I know a few people who are dropping out of this post-a-day challenge, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.)

Anyway, I’ll let you know how the workshop goes.

Read Assignment #1

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Author: CMSmith

I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, photography, genealogy and travel. I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

19 thoughts on “Successful Self-Publishing— a Writer’s Digest University workshop”

  1. Yay for visits from grandchildren! I’m familiar with that sort of excitement. 🙂

    Good luck with your course. It sounds like by the end of it you may have your book proposal written up just by doing the assignments. Sounds like it’s worth the cost.

  2. Grandchildren and their presence has redefined who and what I am and how I see things. If this is the age these epiphanies emerge then I am comfortable with my age. Doing school projects is a most delightful time spent with them. And when you are called “Grandma” will will finally accept and delight in the fact you are not 25 any more.

  3. I am well passed mid-life, have had two book published and am finally working tn the greatest new novel in the world. Also wanted to preserve some of the stuff I’ve written over the years and used in classes, workshops, and newsletters. So much to do and so little time. and we care for our year old grandson at least two days week. Grandchildren are a parent’s revenge and reward.

    Any way, I have recently tumbled to ebook publishing and that is where I am heading now. If you haven’t heard of Smashwords.com, take a peek. I just added my first book to my WordPress Blog. I unfirtuantely no longer have the original files in anything but Acrobat and most electronic venues don’t use that. Smashwords will format any word.doucment of yours and distribute it to all the ebook writers. Their style manual also explains what an ISMB is. Like sharing what I think I know and hope this is of value to you.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate what others can offer in the way of experience. I have heard of Smashwords but haven’t checked it, or any of the self-publishing sites, out yet.

  4. Thank you, and your book sounds like it will be a huge success.
    Yesterday I sent my book Big Backpack–Little World off to Createspace… it is a scary adventure, and today I’m waiting to hear if it was all correctly formatted. None of it was as easy as they make it sound. Later, I’ll post what I think they are lacking in the way of making it easy.
    Good luck to you!

  5. Awesome post! So informative and so in sync with my feelings, i.e. there’s so much to learn about publishing a book. And like you, I don’t have Job’s patience. So I’ll be interested to see where you go.

    It’s also good to know that you have a life beyond writing and trying to publish a book. That’s the reality for all of us.

    Can I hire your children to do my book as well…when I’m done writing it…whenever that might be?…hugmamma. 😉

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