Category Archives: novella

Self-Publishing To-Do List

I had no idea what I was doing when I decided to self-publish my novella, Ninth-Month Midnight, about a woman who loses a child and almost loses herself before a charismatic psychic offers her hope. I came to the do-it-myself decision after wasting too much time waiting for traditional publishers to bite.

It took trial and error and considerable research to pull off a professional looking self-published book. See

I think I succeeded, and you can too if you’re inclined to give it a try.

What follows are the steps I took, gleaned from my notes, as I groped my way through the process:

  1. The obvious first step: Write that book!
  2. After revising and revising and revising again, get a substantive edit done by a professional if you can afford it. My book doctor was Martine Bellen. Check her out on Google.
  3. Give the book to two readers you trust or to your writers’ group for suggestions. YOU decide which suggestions make sense and which you want to follow.
  4. Buy the copyright, if you wish, but it’s not really necessary since the Kindle and Nook services provide their own.
  5. By an ISBN (again, not necessary if you’re using Amazon or Barnes and Noble to self-publish).
  6. Get the book professionally formatted for Kindle, CreateSpace (Amazon’s paperback imprint), Nook, and Smashwords. I used Polgarus. They offered a good discount for multiple formats.
  7. Cover design is super-important for sales, as research shows. I’m told you can purchase inexpensive designs on the Fiverr site. Damonza has an extensive portfolio of cover designs. I used Ellie Bockert Augsburger of Creative Digital Studios. She proved to be a gem, very patient and accommodating.
  8. Upload the final revision of your manuscript to the epublishing platforms: Kindle, CreateSpace, Nook, Smashwords. They’ll take you through the process step by step.
  9. Post-publication, update Amazon, Facebook, and Goodreads author pages.
  10. Update your website (You should have one. I had mine designed by, but there are a number of do-it-yourself, no-cost sites like Wix and others that might serve you well.)
  11. Announce the publication of your book on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter, as well as on dedicated Facebook groups like Binders of Women Novelists.
  12. Reach out to friends and alumni to spread the word about your novel.
  13. Check out your local library and community bookstores for opportunities to give book readings.
  14. Do a KDP Free or Countdown promo if you’re using Amazon’s Kindle platform.
  15. Check out BookBub and Booksends for promo deals. You can find free promo and book review deals on the Internet, but to my knowledge most don’t provide much value. Also, conventional wisdom has it that one should not pay for book reviews (they’re recognizable and have influence little on sales).

Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking can serve as examples to us all by their effectiveness in climbing the ladder of self-publishing success to the summit. There’s a lot of information on the Web about how they got there. Peruse it for inspiration; then swing into action, using this list for initial guidance.

Mock Character Interview

This month I decided to do a mock interview with the protagonist of my novella, Ninth-Month Midnight. Readers, meet Dolores Walsh: Interviewer: It’s a pleasure to have here today Dolores Walsh, a 39-year-old full-time mother and former schoolteacher living in Queens, New York. Thank you for consenting to this interview, Dolores. Let me plunge right… Continue Reading

Practicing the Craft of Fiction

I recently did an interview that touched on the elements of fiction from a craft perspective for The Dark Phantom Review. What follows are excerpts from that interview, a nitty-gritty give-and-take I hope you’ll find useful. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT PLOTTING YOUR NOVELLA, NINTH-MONTH MIDNIGHT? OR DID YOU DISCOVER IT AS YOU WORKED ON… Continue Reading

The Plot’s the Thing, Part Two

This month I turn again to John Gardner for inspiration, paraphrasing his comments on plot generation in The Art of Fiction. Last time, we talked mainly about short story plotting. As Gardner points out, writers labor over plot (as if we didn’t already know!). Trying out one approach after another, they often find that an… Continue Reading