Self-publishing 101: Social media and blogging for writers

October 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm

This past weekend, I had the honor of speaking on a panel titled “Social Media and Blogging for Writers” at Cincinnati’s Books by the Banks festival with Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform.

The panel and festival opened up ideas for a number of future topics I hadn’t thought about before such as “How to sell your book at a book festival.” I hope to explore a few of these topics in weeks to come. Today, though, I’d like to talk about some of the great questions that were asked about social media and blogging for writers.


Self-publishing 101: How to sell books from your blog

June 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I received a lovely e-mail this week from Paula, a woman I’ve known for some time online from the comments section at I found out Paula is an Ohioan like me who has her own blog at Ec-Ohio – The Ohio-based Green Directory.

She recently read my book and is currently searching for a publisher for her own. She follows SP 101 as well and had a few questions about self-publishing.

In the process, she gave me some feedback on my website (as she is a web designer by trade). One thing she wrote was:

One of the standard WP widgets is the “Subscribe” widget, where people can sign-up to be notified when you put up a new post. I would happily subscribe to that. Any reason why you didn’t implement it?

Yes, indeed, I wrote her back. The reason I didn’t implement it was simply because I’m relatively new to book selling and promotion and didn’t know about it.

I’m almost ashamed to admit it.

So I beat myself up for a couple minutes then went online and started looking for how to do it. It wasn’t long before I came upon the Email Subscribers plugin. 10 minutes later, I had it up on my website (highlighted in red).


Because of Paula’s excellent feedback, I thought how to sell books from your blog would make a good topic for this week.

Self-publishing 101: Five marketing resources to connect you and your book to your audience

February 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Last week, we talked about how marketing begins with your target audience.

While my experience is largely with non-fiction, one of my favorite comments came from athenap about marketing fiction:

With fiction, you’re offering an experience. An entertainment experience, to be exact. So you have to create a question in your target audience’s mind. “What would happen if an entire world’s survival hinged on one short, hairy-footed guy who liked to throw jewelry into a volcano?” or “Hey, what’s that space princess doing in prison, who’s looking for these lost droids, and where did that small moon come from?”

I would never have thought about it this way, but this is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen about writing fiction. If you know your question and who it might intrigue, you know your target audience and have a leg up on how to generate interest and market your book.

Along these lines, I thought today I’d talk about five resources I found useful to help connect you and your book with your audience.

Self-publishing 101: Using LaTeX to create a beautiful book

January 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Last week, skywriter published an excellent piece recommending indy publishers consider both CreateSpace and IngramSpark. It’s a great read and the follow-up discussion was also extremely valuable.

In a poll at the end, skywriter asked about the hardest part of self-publishing and two themes emerged: writing the book and marketing the book.

We’ll be getting to the marketing aspect, it’s the hardest part for me as well. First though, I wanted to talk about a realization that helped me get past a few of my writing hurdles.

This realization was that writing and design are not two separate things. They influence each other. You want the layout to complement the text and the text to work with the design. You want something aesthetically beautiful, whatever beautiful means for the work that you’re creating.


Once thinking about the writing became thinking about the design, the writing became much easier – it was just another aspect of the design.

Layout and typesetting are other critical components. This is why I’d highly recommend using a professional layout program. Or, as I’m going to recommend, LaTeX.

Self-publishing 101: Why Indy Publishers are Smart to Use Two Printers and Not Just One

January 8, 2015 at 11:33 am

I am a former news reporter. These days I work as a book shepherd, editing and designing print and digital books for authors. Doing so keeps me mostly out of trouble and able to pay some of the bills some of the time.

Akadjian asked me if I’d guest host this week and talk about strategies for publishing and choosing between IngramSpark and Amazon CreateSpace.


Self-publishing 101: ISBNs, LLCs, and bar codes decoded

December 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Last week, we talked about 11 reasons to self-publish your book.

This week I want to start off with two of my favorite comments. First, from Glen The Plumber:

My mom told me self-publishing causes blindness.

I just had to post that because it made me laugh so hard. Well played, Mr. Plumber, sir!

The second comment from skywriter spoke to setting yourself up as a publisher:

To become a publisher, the writer must buy publishing numbers called ISBN or International Standard book Number from the sole source provider: Bowker. Without buying that number or those numbers, someone else is the publisher and has control over the author’s literary work.


I wanted to talk about what this means and several early decisions involved in self-publishing.

Self-publishing 101: 11 reasons to self-publish

December 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Welcome to Self-Publishing 101!

The goal of this new series is simple: to share information about self-publishing and learn from others.

After completing my first book, I realized I had a mountain of material about self-publishing: what I’d tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d learned along the way.

I wanted to share and hear about what other people have done or are doing.

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Throughout the process, I found myself constantly amazed at how far the world of self-publishing has come and how reachable it is to a new world of authors.

In this first post, let’s look at 11 reasons to self-publish.