Success with Self Publishing 14

D. S. Walker 1st Book Signing ©Delightfully Different LifeI have heard that it takes approximately seven months for authors who use self publishing to begin to have success. I have even read blogs that swear the traditional publishing is the only way to go if you want to ever get your books in book stores. I have attended conferences that imply that you should only self publish if you plan to just sell your books at conferences where you are a speaker. 

Yet, I still chose an assisted publisher versus traditional publishing. Why did I do this? Was it because traditional publishers rejected my book? No, I did not send my manuscript to any agents or publishers, so it was not rejected by traditional publishing.

I did my research and determined that hiring a good editor costs almost as much money as an editing package and a publishing package combined through iUniverse. They have a relationship with and with Barnes and Noble. I previously purchased two iUniverse books that were well written, one from a local author I knew personally. I also spoke to another local author who used them and had a good experience.

Therefore, I chose to use iUniverse too. I can always pursue traditional publishing later if I choose. I continue to own my copyright. I get to choose how I market my book. I am not required to spend thousands of dollars traveling to multiple cities, on a tour, at a time my publisher chooses where I might or might not have success.

Remember I have two children who are still school age. No they are not toddlers, but they do still need me around, so having control of my time is important to me. That was the biggest factor in my decision.

How’s it going you ask? Okay, I am far from being on the best sellers list. Still, I am in the local Barnes and Noble bookstore and I have received two small royalty checks. I have my first book signing tomorrow. I will be happy if at least 50 people show up although I would certainly love it if more did.

I am just at month seven. Remember I am not even supposed to have my book in a book store by some accounts. I received Editor’s Choice and Rising Star designation from iUniverse which means they believe my book has the potential to have some commercial success. I also received a good Kirkus review. I have entered two book contests that are pending.

Locally, I have been on two news shows, the second of which was an evening news show and that station repeated the showing on their morning show the next day, so technically I guess I could say I have been on three news shows. I have been on a talk show on Hawaii Public Radio. A local, free, biweekly paper told my story this week. The paper is the only source for grocery store ads so most households on the island receive it in their mailboxes.

I have made wonderful new blogging friends. Four bloggers have written reviews of my novel which you can read from this blog. Another blogger wrote a mini review.

One school has twenty copies of my book which they will hopefully use. Teachers at another school have read and talked about my book. The book has been given to a third school.

I told a former colleague that I would be happy if my book changed just one life when I made the decision to quit work and to write my first novel when bullies targeted my child. Today I am grateful for success!


  1. Hi Sue
    I read that you said that iUniverse have a relationship with Branes & Noble and Amazon. what does this mean? I can’t find your book at Kindle, what’s your book’s name please?

    The editing you had done sounds fantastic, how much did you have to pay for that package? I’m also new to book publishing and am scouting around.

    Thanks for your help Sue.

    • Carole,
      I posted the links to my book on the right side of this blog for Barnes and Noble and Amazon. However for those in the UK the amazon link is .

      It should be available world wide. iUniverse gave me the best chance of getting my book on bookstore shelves without going through a traditional publisher. They have packages starting at $599.00. However, I would suggest you use the $2099.00 package as it includes the booksellers return that encourages bookstores to carry your book because they know they can return it without a loss. It also has the copy cover polish for your book cover. This too is very important since your book cover will determine if anyone even opens your book. The package includes an editorial review; however, you will still need to pay for additional editing. I suggest copy editing at 0.022 cents per word and proofreading at 0.011 cents per word at a minimum. I actually used the developmental editorial package which included copy editing, content editing, and quality review editing since this was my first novel and I wanted it to be readable for third graders to age 100, I wanted to make sure I did it right. I then purchased the proofreading as well. I think editing is worth the money as this is the most important part of writing.

      There are cheaper self-publishing options with others, but none that I found formatted the book for me for e-books, paper back, and hard copy without additional costs. Plus, none of the others had a relationship with Barnes and Noble, Amazon and others providing worldwide sales and the potential to actually have your book in a store as opposed to just in virtual stores. This is important for me anyway. I have my book in the local stores thanks to this and I was able to have my first book signing as a result. Self-publishing is not cheap like everyone assumes and it is hard work to get the word out as you promote your book. I also think too many people assume that if you self-publish you get all of the profits. This is not true either. I only get a percentage of the discounted wholesale price not the retail price. It comes out to a little over a dollar a book. I also have to purchase books for marketing at the wholesale price. Only you can decide what works for you. You can spend two or more years trying to get an agent by writing query letters and then still have to work to get a publisher while you earn nothing or you can invest in yourself and start getting a small return for your hard work.

      Best Wishes,


  2. Wow! This is really exciting Sue, I am happy to hear of your success, especially when I think of all the good your book will do. It sounds like you really went about it the right way.

    • Bruce,
      Thank you! I hope more and more people will read it and begin to understand. There is abundant hope now that this will happen!

  3. You are doing so darn well, I bet everyone who personally knows you is not surprised at all by your success! Just the little bit I’ve gotten to know you changed two lives in particularly: one of my best friend’s daughter and her son!
    You go girl!

  4. This is just so wonderful!!!! You have touched to many lives!!! My father also went this route when he published. He loved going this route!! I will have to tell him about your book. Can you download your to the kindle? That really increased his sales. I am so proud of you!!! What a gift you give to us all!!!!

    • Cheairs,
      Thank you for your very kind comment. I have been meaning to stop by your blog to tell you I purchased your dad’s book and I can’t wait to read it once things slow down a little here. Yes, my book is available for Kindle and in all e-reader formats, in addition to paperback and hardcover formats.

  5. Wow, it sounds like you’re really doing well! Glad to hear a self publishing success story. I’m still on the fence about traditional vs. self publishing, though I really wouldn’t mind self publishing at this point. It seems that, with hard work and good content, you can do well.

    • Elisa,
      I plan to comment on Bob Mayer’s post at your site later, but this morning I am limiting computer time to prepare for my book signing. Yes, I do believe with hard work and good content you can do well with self publishing. The key is have others read your manuscript and pay for a professional editor before your publish. This is money well spent! I also think people have to understand that self publishing does not necessarily mean that all you do is write your book and upload it. It sometimes feels like that is what traditional publishers and agents assume, and there may be people who do that. I am not one of them. I did invest time in writing and rewriting and in editing and research for my short novel.

      Book formatting is very important too and again iUniverse provided this in my publishing package. They also did my cover design based on my ideas of what I wanted, and they provided ideas for self marketing. Writing is just the first step.

      • I have heard that many in the traditional sphere view self publishing as the place where failed attempts get published for chump change and never make it. Whether that’s true or not is a matter of perspective. Clearly there are some people that self publish and are successful, yourself included (which is awesome, by the way). I think it just takes perseverance.

        I’ve never heard of iUniverse before. Are they like Lulu?

        • Elisa,
          They are similar, but iUniverse assigns a publishing consultant to help you when you purchase their package deals. My publishing consultant was okay, but the real value for me was the editorial consultant and the editors. Many of them are former Random House staff and I can’t say enough about how wonderful they were. I think all writers need editors, but this is especially true for the first novel. Perseverance is very important too!

          • Interesting. I’ve always been told to avoid packages like that, but if it works, it works. I didn’t know about the editors being from major traditional publishers like Random House–that’s pretty prestigious. But I bet it’s pricey.

          • Elisa,
            Writer’s Digest is holding a webinar on the subject of moving from self-published to traditional publishing. You can get information here:

            Regarding costs, yes, iUniverse is more expensive than some; however for my money I got a total of five editors. This included an initial overview of the manuscript by the editorial reviewer which I imagine is similar to what an agent would have told me. Then because I had legal concerns since the bullying chapter was based on real life, I went with the more complex developmental editing package. The developmental editor helped me figure out how to make the bullying portion of the book truly fictional while still getting the point across that it isn’t being handled well in many of our schools or by some parents. Then I had a content editor to make sure I had followed applicable laws and wasn’t setting myself up for a lawsuit and a copy editor to make sure I didn’t use too must past tense which I have been known to be guilty of and that I used commas as needed since this is another of my faults. I also had a final editorial polish to make sure I had dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s. In addition, I had an editorial consultant who had a background in publishing and who was there to answer my questions. Therefore, for me it was worth the money since I considered it to be like a tutorial for getting back to writing.

            I had help for a total of six months with my rewrites which I don’t think would have been the case with an editor I hired on my own. I have a friend who spent thousands of dollars on his first editor and still wasn’t satisfied with him. I on the other hand loved my developmental editor as she took a list I had written of how I wanted the book to be written and why, and she helped me to make it happen using my suggestions rather than dictating to me. My editorial consultant was also wonderful, so for me it was worth every penny I spent.

            You obviously have to weigh everything out yourself and make your own decisions based on what you need and what you can afford.

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