The First Self-Published Book is Hard. Never Give Up

Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels

You don’t know what you don’t know. Keep going. Self-publish your book.

Writing my first book almost broke me. I self-published. I believed that self-publishing would take the delay out of the process. I was wrong. Self-publishing added an overabundance of new non-writing related tasks that took time to learn to use.

Set Expectations

It was a demanding process. I woke up many nights thinking about the tasks I needed to complete. Nothing would soothe my mind until I got out of bed and worked on one of those tasks swirling in my head. It was the most sleep deprived that I ever was including when I was in University studying for an Electrical Engineering degree.

My expectations were all out of whack. In my head, I thought, write the book. Publish the book. Boom. You are done. Let the money roll in. The reality was different and daunting.

How do you self-publish a book?

I know how to write; writing comes easily and naturally. The ins and outs of uploading a book to Kindle, setting up landing pages, marketing and author websites are new.

You can’t just write the damn book and walk away.

The frustration I felt not knowing or understanding the plethora of work surrounding writing, editing and self-publishing a book spilled over into my everyday life.

Someone should have told me about all this work before I jumped into it. Writing my book “NEVER a $7 Whore” was already plenty hard. I was returning to a painful period in my life when I was not making the best decisions. I wrote the book because I wanted no one else making the same mistakes I made.

Image by Jacob Kiesow@narrowedge upsplash

The Relentless Work

Self-publishing requires a person to update their existing skills and to gain new ones. I was not prepared for the effort it takes to get a book written, edited, spell checked, uploaded and marketed.

The author takes on the tasks of an entire team to self-publish their book.

The writer is the

1. Author

2. Editor

3. Proofreader

4. Agent

5. Tech Support

6. Banker

The Burden of Each Position

1. Author

Your book is about cats. Cat is a broad subject. The final idea will be something like this: traits of red American tabby’s that are not purebred born in the last three years. All that specificity must come from the author.

— there is only one person who can sit down and write the book. You. You must be the one to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard

— Your passion for expressing the ideas in your head make you sit for hours capturing the words associated with your voice. Capturing the words can be a chore because our lives are so busy.

— Finding the time to write while making a living is a grueling task. Free time is precious, especially if there is a family involved.

2. Editor

Editing your book is even more challenging than working the book. Editing is not only about the grammar and spelling of the book.

— editing is also about the structure and story of your book. — Editing is how you change the book to ensure that the reader is engaged in your ideas.

— editing your book is very hard because you wrote the book. Seeing the structure another way is beyond the capability of most authors. They need help. Most successful authors have an outside editor.

— I work with a professional editor. I was so close to the book that I no longer saw what was on the page… I saw what I wanted to be on the page. The cost was about a thousand dollars.

3. Proofreader

Proofreading is an activity a person who has never seen your book before should perform. The writer is the worst person to perform this task.

— when a writer reads the text all, but the grossest errors are invisible. Your mind will “auto correct” miss-spelled words. A miss used word will look fine because the spelling is correct. You will not see that the “to” you used that should be “too”. Your editor missed that and so will you.

— be prepared to pay to have the text spell checked by an actual “proofreader.” He of she will improve the quality of your work.

4. Agent

Someone must market the book. That someone in self-publishing is the author. I have found marketing to be the toughest of all the activities.

— finding the many varied ways to get your book into the public’s eye and then exciting the public is draining.

— there are blogs, v-blogs, papers, magazines, websites, landing pages, podcasts, classes, billboards, and posters for a start. Someone must contact and set up each “touch” for the book. That someone is you.

5. Tech support

– who do you think is setting up all those landing pages, websites, blogs and video blogs?

6. Banker

— the money spent to write the book is not zero even if you perform all the tasks yourself. If you want or need to hire out any of the tasks above, you will need money.

— While you can go out to FIVERR, you may want more controlled hires for your book. You decide what you can spend on your book dream.

The author must understand what it takes to bring their book to the public.

To be a successful self-publisher, the tasks mentioned above must be accomplished if you are willing and capable of performing all the tasks yourself, great. Consider becoming a self-publisher.

If you plan to perform the tasks which play to your strengths and can afford to “farm out” the rest, great, consider becoming a self-publisher.

If neither approach appeals to you, self-publishing is not the route for you. Reconsider your decision to self-publish.

Remember, the goal is to publish your book. Writing and publishing my book has been one of the hardest things I ever accomplished.

I chose self-publishing because I wanted control, but I struggled with the first book.

Statistics claim that 80% of people would write and publish a book if they could. My first book almost broke me down as I kept discovering the tasks that had to be fulfilled by me.

It frustrated me that I did not understand the work involved in self-publishing. The effect on my life, family relationships and finances would have been handled better had someone had prepared me for the process.

Each time I tried to do well; some new task would pop up to put me behind yet again. My checklist kept growing.

I hope this glimpse helps any other new authors avoid that overwhelming sensation as the work piles on.

Never give up. Your book deserves to be published.


My books are available on Amazon.

Join my Readers Group.

I can be reached at

Helping each other write better. Join Us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top