It seems most of us harbour secret, or not so secret, dreams of writing a book at some point in our lives.

Some of us go a little crazy and actually write one. {I’m speaking of myself naturally; I’m sure most writers are totally sane.}

I LOVED writing my book. Just the process of writing, as I’m sure many of you will appreciate, has a quality to it the same as the one I get when in the depths of painting, or baking, or wave watching; I was in the ZONE.

I do also love to research, so working out who to use for publishing the book, since I knew I was going for the DIY option, was also pretty fun, up to a point. As with many things, the more you look, the more you find, and there’s a tipping point into overwhelm that needs to be managed.

I went with CreateSpace in the end; it’s owned by Amazon so your book can potentially be sold through all the Amazon websites {as well as other channels like shops}, and it’s cheaper than say Lulu or Blurb. {I think. Don’t quote me on that; I’ve become rather confused from all the reading, and the variables.}

To say there have been forks ~ and boulders, and the odd fallen tree trunk ~ in the road from writing to printing is like saying the sky is pretty big.

beach on a windy day

So if you are considering writing and self publishing a book, you may like to scan my learnings and apprise yourself of what’s in store. You may find you stop after the most fun part; the writing. Sometimes I think maybe it’s just about the joy of writing.

I wrote because I had things to say; I published because I wanted to help people. That sounds very worthy but it’s the truth.

Ten Things I Learned About Self Publishing

  1. It takes a lot longer than you imagine. And even when you think you’re there…. there’s more.
  2. The words ‘edit’ and ‘proof’ become the equivalent to dirty words and may elicit enormous bouts of procrastination. Why I ever considered a career in proofreading is beyond me.
  3. You canNOT do this half assed. Unless you want to cry a lot and end up drinking a lot of wine.
  4. Without either the knowledge yourself or the help of someone who has the knowledge in terms of design, your book will not look good, professional or worthy of the effort you put into it.
  5. In fact, some outside help and support in the form of someone loving but straight talking is invaluable. {This may be true of life in general.} {And also, thank you Pauline. :)}
  6. The way they work out the pricing means you either have to charge stupid amounts or make no money. At least if your book is in colour.
  7. It’s very very complicated in some areas, such as costs and shipping, and royalty options, especially if you are not based in the country where they print it.
  8. You will need many hours at your disposal to trawl through the forum or help sections of the publishing website to find a tiny sliver of information that may or may not be helpful.
  9. You will have to make choices you never imagined having to make, with no idea how or with any real understanding of possible outcomes. If you are a stranger to trust and using your intuition this is a great place to practise it.
  10. When you get the physical copy of your book ~ your baby, that you wrote and sweated over ~ in your hands, you will probably freak out. Part disbelief that you actually did it, part excitement, and part sheer unmitigated terror that it’s shit and no one will like it or find it at all useful, AND that you will get bad reviews and complaints about the price.

Creative Spark by Tara Leaver; front cover

You might assume that I am very proud that I wrote and published a book. I wouldn’t say proud, but I am glad that I wrote it, glad that I went through the self-publishing mill, unendingly grateful for all the support and enthusiasm I’ve received just for doing it, and I really just hope that it helps to encourage or inspire at least one person!

And if you are harbouring secret desires to write a book, I really encourage you to just start! Publish, don’t publish, just do the writing part because that’s where the real joy is.