Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in 2023? Why? Self-Publishing

Insecure Writers Want to Know

Happy New Year, dear IWSG friends! I wish you all success in 2023.

As for that word that sums up what I need to work on in 2023, I’m afraid to say it. Is anyone looking? [Eyes dart left, then right.]

Self-Publishing. [In a whisper.]

Okay, so it’s a hyphenated word. But I’ve said it. Now I need to make it come true. [Starts to tremble.]

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Why am I so terrified to publish? I’ve been published in magazines and anthologies before. But this time it will be all me.  

I know what I don’t know. I know I need assistance with this self-publishing thing. I know I’m tech challenged and get frustrated easily. I plan to pay for assistance and pray I hire the right people.

But I also know what is troubling me the most. It’s the marketing. It’s the reviews. It’s finding out what others think of my stories, my college memoir. It’s trying to make a success of this publishing thing; finding readers interested in my topics and themes.

Publishing is a scary endeavor. Only the brave try it. And live with the results. And then try again. I so admire anyone who self-publishes and then publishes again. More power to you all!

I need to publish this college memoir. My first full-length book. I need to move on to my next writing adventure: collections of middle grade short stories. And then start the self-publishing process all over again. Nerves and all!   

Last month I spoke about my college memoir and its themes. I said I wished to “show those who have dreams that dreams can come true if only one is determined enough to see it through. Hard work can make things happen. We shouldn’t be afraid of inferiority or opportunity.”

It worked for college. No. It wasn’t easy. Still, I need to try it for publishing my stories. I need to see this through.

Do you have any recommendations for:

book cover artists  
formatting specialists [e-book and hard copy]
information on how to purchase ISBN’s
how to send out Advanced reader copies for jacket quotes.  

Did I miss anything? I’d rather not just surf the internet to find assistants for these jobs. I’d rather have recommendations from those I trust. And I trust you, dear IWSG friends.

Please feel free to offer any comment on my intentions with self-publishing this college memoir or my middle grade short story series. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Now I’m off to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors on this scary writing and publishing journey.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again!

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for January: Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin! Please visit them if you can.

Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

29 thoughts on “Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in 2023? Why? Self-Publishing”

  1. Congrats on deciding to self-publish your memoir. The marketing would scare me too. I’ll already help you by shouting out about your release in my Follower News when your book releases.
    Another marketing tip would be to find a book blog tour company with a readership of memoirs or adult novels and go on a blog tour to introduce your book to new readers.

    • Thank you so much for this, Natalie! Seriously, I can’t thank you enough. I’m scared stiff here. Truly appreciate your kindness.

      It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Have a healthy and happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much for this, Alex. I will certainly check out IWSG resources. Truly appreciate this. All best to you, sir, in 2023!

  2. Hi Victoria!
    You should have a look at the Self-publishing information and resources on the IWSG website. It’s under the self-publishing tab. You can also ask for recommendations in the IWSG Facebook group.
    Or send me a DM via facebook, and I can send you some links…

    I agree that publishing is a scary endeavor, especially self-publishing. At the moment, I’m busy with a self-publishing course. There’s a lot to learn but I’m determined to get through it.
    I just need to start applying the theoretical knowledge by actually publishing one of my stories. Step by step. I’ll get there. You will too!
    Happy IWSG Day!

    • Thank you, thank you, Michelle! Truly appreciated. I’ll DM you for some links, too. What is the self-publishing course you are taking?

      Thank you again. Happy New Year!

  3. Best of luck this year. I think any publishing is scary, really, because even with a publisher you’re expected to do a lot yourself. I second (third?) the calls to check the IWSG site, which has great resources.

    • Thanks, Nick. You are right. All writers, no matter how we are published need to do marketing and publicity for the book. All the luck with your writing endeavors this year.

  4. Sadly, I can’t help. I self-published my first book back in 2008, and I am Canadian, so everything is different. You’re right, tho. There are many here at IWSG who know a thing or two. Happy 4th New Day, Victoria! Best to you in 2023.

    • It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Joylene. Yep! I’m very glad to be a part of IWSG. I wish you every success in 2023!

  5. Love your word!
    I recommend Carrie Butler for interior and cover formatting because I’ve worked with her, and she is wonderful, timely, and thoughtful.
    For marketing, I recommend starting now. Like, right now, months before your book is released. Start small somewhere, like on one platform – here or another social and start mentioning things about your book. College memoir? Write something about memoir writing, or college, or something else related to your memoir and mention your memoir every single time. Seek out other memoir writers and see if you can do a newsletter/blogpost swap with them when your book comes out, or even earlier.
    Recommendation: try to find the creative joy in the marketing process. I know this sounds strange, but if you can find something you like and lean into it, it will go a long way. If you like public speaking or find it tolerable, look for places which will give you an open mic or an opportunity to speak. If this is terrifying, look for smaller groups like book clubs that read memoirs. I’ve discovered I like bigger events and not smaller groups – I have a weird fear of talking with new, small groups of people, but I’m fine with a microphone and 25-250 people. Lean into what works for you. If talking sounds terrible, look for a different way. I know authors who are artists who use their art to highlight their writing.

      • No, you are the best, Tyrean! This is precious insight here. You are so right that I need to begin now in offering info about college or memoir writing and connect with other memoirists. I have a teeny tiny mailing list. I don’t mind swapping blog posts. I need to jump in with both feet, like I did when I started college.

        Thanks again, Tyrean! Happy New Year!

    • Happy New Year, Adrienne! And welcome to Adventures in Writing.

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, IWSG will be very helpful in this self-publishing journey. But I’m still scared!! All best to you!

  6. Self publishing can certainly be scary, but it is exciting too! Other commenters have recommended the IWSG resources, which is great advice. In addition to such resources, I also scoured many author blogs to see unfiltered accounts of what others had done, what they regretted, and what they wished they’d done. I was overwhelmed by how complicated it can be! This was what led me to go simple on my first foray into publishing. I viewed my first book series as a learning experience. I didn’t hire any strangers because I had friends and family with the necessary skills. I published on Amazon only. I focused on just a few online venues for my author platform. I now feel comfortable with how things work, and I know what direction I’ll go next. However you decide to approach it, good luck on your journey!

    • Solid insight here, Kim. Thank you so much. I truly need to consider this. So much to think about. So much to do. But I need to get started. All best to you in 2023!

  7. I am wishing you peace of mind in your self-publishing journey and that you find exactly the right people who will make each step easier and take some of the pressure off. Take care!

    • Thank you for your good wishes, Chrys. I certainly need them. How did you gather your “street team” to help promote your books?

      Have a beautiful New Year!

  8. What a great endeavor for 2023. And once you’ve taken the plunge, it will get easier and easier. I see above that IWSG has many resources. I think Ingram Spark might also. I have heard some self-pubbed that fondly recommended mention of Book Brush- an inexpensive software that helps you develop your cover and matching giveaways (like bookmarks). I’m told by my fellow self-pubbed writerly folk that Bowker is a place to get ISBN’s. You save money buying in bulk (like one is $250, but 1000 are $1 each).

    • Miffie, thank you so much for this insight. I truly have a lot of research to do. Self-publishing is not simply printing a book. God! I hope I’m strong enough for this.

      Have a beautiful New Year!

    • Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Yvonne! Thank you so much for sharing Jane Friedman’s link. I will definitely check it out. Truly appreciate your input here.

      Have a successful 2023!

  9. It appears that you have a wealth of info and support from your IWSG. It may be scary to move to the next level bit remember that you did this before when you decided to go to college.

  10. It’s a big step, but if you study the path and find the right people, it’s not as scary.

    I do book formatting. I can also help direct you where to buy ISBNs. (Always buy your own!) Shoot me an email, personal or through Dancing Lemur Press.

    • It’s a tremendously “big step,” Diane. And I’m as nervous as can be. I’ll be sure to email you about this.

      Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing and offering your insight here. All best in 2023!

  11. Best of luck! And if it’s your first publication under your name (not part of an anthology with others), I run the debut author spotlight at the Operation Awesome blog. Hit me up when you’ve got a buy link.
    ISBN buying may or may not be needed, depending where you publish. Check out Amazon and Smashwords for more information before you spend money.
    “Without having a goal, it’s difficult to score.” Paul Arden
    I hope 2023 will become everything you need it to be.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

    • Yes, Lenni, this college memoir is my first publication. I will remember you as I move forward with this publication process. Thank you for the opportunity to be on your “Operation Awesome blog.”

      Thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. All best in 2023!


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