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Sydney Landon | My lessons learned from Self-Publishing

November 12, 2012

Sydney LandonWEEKENDS REQUIREDOne of the most frequent questions that I have been asked since signing with Penguin Publishing is what is it like to go from being a self-published author to a published author? When you self-publish, you are in charge of everything.  I would have never thought it possible to write, design, format and completely build a book by myself.  I have learned more about formatting and design than I ever wanted to know!

Probably one of the first things that an aspiring author does is open up a word processing program and start writing.  That is exactly what I did.  Only later did I figure out that I should be formatting the text a certain way for a book in e-book form.  Also, when I first started writing, I didn’t worry a lot about the grammar or the spelling.  Hey, I figured you could always go back and fix those things later.  What you don’t think about at that point is how hard that will be when you have written several hundred pages.  It soon becomes apparent as you attempt the editing process that you will need some serious help because you will never be able to do it on your own.  I hired several different people to edit my books and each seemed to find something that the other had missed.  I spent so much time and money on editing.  That was the single hardest thing about self-publishing.

When you finally have a manuscript you are comfortable with, you start thinking of designing a cover for your book.  I must have looked at thousands of pictures.  To me, the cover is so important, especially to a new author.  You want people to be attracted to your cover enough to give your book a second glance.  There are people out there who design e-book covers, but for your first book, most try to spare the expense and do it themselves as I did.

When I signed with Penguin, I was amazed at how streamlined the above processes were.  To have a team of editors going over your books is just amazing.  They took books that I was already proud of and turned them into something so very special.

The most important thing that I have gained has been the support system.  Now when I have a question, my editor is there to answer it.  It reminds me of the saying “it takes a village.”  Sometimes to fully realize a dream, it does indeed take a village.

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