Adventures Into Self Publishing: Part One

About two weeks ago, I made the decision to self publish my novel "Sparks Fly." Initially, I wanted to traditionally publish it, since I don't trust myself to do anything right, let alone something this important to me. But I had to come to terms with the fact that the publishing world just isn't ready for my polyamorous LGBT supervillain extravaganza. Their loss.

So self-publishing it was. After talking to some self-published friends of mine, I decided to use Kindle Direct Publishing as a service, because I'm a broke college kid and I can't afford to print a ton of copies I might not sell. In fact, I can't afford to do much of anything. I knew that if I did this, I'd be doing everything myself, one way or another. Luckily for me, I'm a perfectionist, and I was pretty sure I could do it. We'll see when the book goes live, of course, but as of this point, I'm still standing by that.

You'd think the smart thing to do would be to fully finish the book itself. You'd be right. But I'm not actually as smart as I'd like to think I am, so I've yet to fully finish the darned thing. Don't get me wrong, it's on the last draft, everything is in there that needs to be there, I'm fully confident in the plot, characters, and pacing. I just haven't done any line edits. The number of typos in there could kill a man, seriously. The only thing is... I'm shit at editing. And, again, I can't afford to print out all 200 or so pages at home. If I was at school, I'd just use my free printing (because my school can definitely afford it), but alas, I'm not, and so we've been waiting until I can coerce my parents into printing it at their work. Once that happens, it's hardcore line editing time, I swear. I've even got a friend with some editing experience lined up to double-check me. The advantages of being in a creative writing program, I guess. You befriend all the publishers-to-be.

While I'm definitely-not-procrastinating on my least favorite part of writing, I've been working on a much more enjoyable part. Coming up with that oh so important back cover blurb. Oh, and spending about six hours working on a perfect, professional-looking book cover using the template that Amazon KDP uses. If I may say so myself, they turned out pretty great. Just for some fun, I'm going to go into my process on the summary. I fully intend to make another post on making a cover in Canva, the program I used since Photoshop is a thing I do not have.

The Summary

I'm not going to tell you how to make a summary of your book. That's not what this is, okay, let's be clear on that. I can tell you how to write an ADHD or an LGBT character, but what I cannot tell you is how to do anything related to publishing. I'm figuring this shit out as I go, alright?

But here's how I made my summary. To start, I made three different blurbs that would fit on the back of a book. This included (1) a one-sentence hook, (2) an intro to the main character, and then (3) the book's main conflict. Each of the three had a different 'focus,' since Sparks Fly has a few different plot lines going on. One was mainly focused on the bare minimum, another more on the romance, and a third that I decided to really hone in on Sparky as a character, using his particular type of humor and focusing on his personal struggles. I sent each of these to my main beta who'd already read and helped out with the latest draft. He decided on the third one as being the most intriguing and accurate to the book's overall feel.

Then, of course, came editing the blurb. A lot. I think it went through three more drafts before I was fully satisfied, and it got sent to four other people for feedback (and thank god it did, the last reader noticed a typo no one else saw). In the end, the summary was a nice mash-up of all three of the first attempts, pulling the plot, the humor, and the relationship between Sparky, Hall, and Scout together rather nicely. I considered it as good as it'd get and slapped it onto the cover, and that was it!

So yes, there's my little self-indulgent pat on the back for writing the back cover, something that was stressing me out probably more than it deserved. I'll be making a few more of these progress updates on the publishing of "Sparks Fly" as we go along, and you can expect a guide to Canva book covers!