Writing Tip: Indie Publishing—The Home Stretch

Three Months Ago I Began Sharing my Indie Publishing Journey.

As I work toward publishing my first novel, I’ve been sharing my experience. First, I shared my decision, and why I came to this conclusion. You can read about it here: Writing Tip: Indie Publishing—When is it Right?

A month later I gave you an update on my progress: Writing Tip: Indie Publishing—Beginning Baby Steps

Last month I shared another update on my progress: Writing Tip: Indie Publishing—Striding Steadily Onward

By sharing my trials, tribulations, victories and insights I hope I can help others find the path to publication without as many of the bumps in the road as I’ve experienced. Others have certainly helped me avoid some pitfalls along the path – and I’d like to play it forward!

This month has been a big one.

All the hard work of the previous month laid the groundwork for a rewarding month. This month has seen the approval of the finished cover design for the Tracker novel (always a milestone for the author), and it’s seen the final approved interior of the print book. Now it’s starting to feel like a real book and the excitement is building. I can hardly wait to hold a copy in my hands, which is the next step – a hard proof.

So here’s an update today:

Victory: I paid the extra cost of having a book designer do the cover art—a designer who does book covers for a living and knows the market place. It was important to me that my novel exhibit all the hallmarks of a professionally published book. We’ve all seen too many book covers that scream “self-published.” I wanted to avoid that. The designer came through in a spectacular way for the cover design. I’m extremely excited about it. It’s top notch and does an excellent job of portraying the feel of the novel.
Insight: This is what a good designer does, if you let them. All too often I hear an author giving specific direction to the designer, or insisting certain elements have to be on the cover. I believe that’s a big mistake. Do you think the designer should tell you how to write your book? Of course not. So why would a writer think they know better about design than the designer? Let the designer be the creative artist. Instead of telling the designer what I wanted on the cover, I filled out the form he supplied, giving him information about the book, the genre, a synopsis and even the manuscript. We discussed what other books were similar to mine and I gave examples of the type of covers I was drawn to. I like simple covers, but like to see layers and depth to the design. That is about all the direction I gave. The designer must have read at least the beginning of Tracker to know what the knife should look like – which I found impressive. This cover is ten times better than anything I could have dreamed up. Point made.

TRACKER Print Book Cover

Victory: I took some time deciding which template I wanted CreateSpace to use for the interior of the print version of Tracker, and I’m happy with the outcome. Seeing the novel formatted as a print book really brings it home that it’s almost out there for the world to see!
Tribulation: I have nothing but good words for the Customer Service at CreateSpace. Everyone I’ve talked to has been pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. But I was disappointed when I discovered that after paying the initial fee for the formatting, any time you want (or need) a change, it’s an additional $79 minimum, no matter how small the change. That said, they were great about fixing a formatting issue that should have been caught by them on the first proof. So, even with the unexpected additional cost, it was a good experience.
Insight: Make sure you go through the entire proof and look at all aspects for that first round of changes. Reading your writing in a book format does allow you to catch mistakes easier as it “looks” different from your manuscript document.

Trial: Indie Publishing my novel means I have to work harder at getting my book into bookstores. Indie Bookstores I support and Writing Organizations I belong to are where I turned to for support.
Victory: Fortunately here in San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore is a huge supporter of local authors. So it made sense that I should contact them about my new book, especially since it fits within the Mystery, Suspense, Thriller theme of the bookstore. I’m pleased to announce that we are setting up a book release and signing event for October of this year. I’ll also be contacting San Diego Writers, Ink to see what I can do within that organization, as they are a great resource for writers and have ‘been there for me’ from the beginning.
Insight: This is why it’s important for you, as an author, to support your local indie bookstores and be active in writing organizations as a writer. I was first introduced to Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore at the Southern California Writer Conference ten years ago and I’ve been a customer for years now. I also attend the Writers Coffeehouse at their store the first Sunday of every month, hosted by NY Times Bestseller, Jonathan Maberry. San Diego Writer, Ink was the first writing organization I joined when I moved here to the San Diego community. I’ve attended years of Read n’ Critique groups, workshops and I’ve even taught workshops for social media and website creation. It’s not just the knowledge you glean from organizations like this, it’s the hundreds of people you get to meet and become acquainted with. It’s a huge family and one that is quite supportive. As lone writers, we need this writing community!

Victory: At the moment my manuscript and e-book front cover are with the formatter who is doing the digital version of Tracker. So soon I’ll have everything ready to upload my e-book and to order print copies of the print version. It’s all coming together now!

Don’t forget to check this overview of my journey and process here


I hope you’ve found this interesting and helpful. I’d love to hear feedback on your experiences!


  1. Laura Taylor

    Love the fact that you’re living your dream, Indy. By sharing the steps you’re taking, you’re de-mystifying critical aspects of the process for those who will follow you. Congrats, my talented friend! 🙂 LT

    • indy

      Thank you so much, Laura. Authors such as yourself have been so supportive and made this journey a little less stressful for newbies like me! I hope I can play it forward to others, as well. :0)

  2. Jill G. Hall

    Mysterious Galaxy is the perfect bookstore for your launch party. Perhaps you can have a signing at SD Writers, Ink on a Friday Night Liberty. I can’t wait to celebrate with you.

    • indy

      Thanks, Jill! And Yes, I was hoping I might be able to have a signing at SD Writers as well! Thank you for the recommendation! :0)

    • indy

      Thank you so much, Dale! I have to give full credit to the designer. I think he hit it out of the park!



  1. Writing Tip: Indie Publishing—Striding Steadily Onward | Indy Quillen - […] For the next step in my journey, click here […]

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