Indie Publishing: A Writer’s Journey



Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, By Susan Jean Ricci

Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, By Susan Jean Ricci


I’m thrilled to have author Susan Ricci joining us. Many writers wonder about the indie publishing option. Today, Susan shares her experience bringing her own work to the public. She has won several awards, and has published in Parenting Teens Magazine, Good Dog Magazine, and Aim Intercultural Magazine. She’s currently revising a contemporary novel called Slick Trespass and penning the sequel to Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, a humorous, contemporary romance about achieving mid-life adolescence, in spite of the baggage incurred with one’s history.


Hi, A. R., and thank you so much for having me as your guest today!

I wanted to share my experiences with self-publishing as an Indie, because since I’ve launch Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems, I’ve received many tweets from aspiring authors, who just want to know one thing: Is Indie or traditional publishing the way to go for them.


I don’t want to rehash the pros and the cons of either, because this debate is ongoing and there’s been so many blogs, posts, etc. about this topic and I don’t want my post to be redundant. Since I can only speak for myself, this is what I’ve learned over the years as a writer, and why I took the path I did.

I’ve been writing in some form or another since I discovered crayons weren’t part of a food group. I began my writing career with an old Remington when I was twelve and became the editor, publisher, and reporter for my neighborhood newspaper, The Hill Weekly. It sold for a dime a copy.

Newspaper commentaries became my platform when my children were very young, because they came easier to me than sitting down and penning a novel, and easier to publish. The drive for penning that novel remained, but there wasn’t enough gas to fire up the engine. Not only was my engine dry, I also lacked time. My son was born with congenital heart defects requiring heart surgery, when he was a year old. My children’s father and I floundered financially, and I had to work full time to help keep our home out of foreclosure.


As my children got older, the following years were pretty good to me writing-wise. Three of my articles were published in magazines and I won several awards for personal essays via the Writers Digest Writing Competition and two Philadelphia Writer’s Conferences. I met traditionally published authors, attended workshops and conferences, and had several bites on a manuscript I’d been pitching, but no offers for representation. The agents all said thanks, but no thanks, and looking back on that manuscript, I can’t say I blame them! One of the agents I’d been talking with went as far as to advise me to stick with nonfiction because that’s where my writing shined, but I still wanted to write a decent novel. Any writer possessing that passion to spin embellishments and lies into a story knows it’s the only way to rid their brains of those constant, streaming voices!


Two and a half years ago, I started hearing about Indie publishing. I was afraid and leery of the concept, until I joined some Indie writers organizations on FB and began learning about the process of self-publishing AND the perks. Because I’m not that technically inclined (both my grandson and my son helped me start up my website), I knew I’d need someone to format any manuscript I brought to the table and hire a cover designer.


My formatter is an author bud I’d hosted on my website. I contacted him and asked him to help me out with the formatting. He formatted the book so I could upload it to Amazon for Kindle and Smashwords (they send the book to Sony, B&N, Kobo, and ITunes as an eBook), and he also included files so I could upload the manuscript as a print book on Amazon.


After the formatting was finished, I sent the work to the cover designer, who fits the pages into the cover, (how I haven’t a clue). She then emailed me all three files so I could publish my work. I enrolled in KDP for Amazon Kindle, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. Since I’d already started creating profiles on those sites, all I had to do was upload several files, such as the blurb, what I wanted to charge, etc. It was time consuming but only took a few days, really. I was nervous, very nervous, but everything worked out fine.


These self-publishing sites are all free and getting the book to them is relatively easy, if you have good advice from reliable people. That’s where my friends from the IWU and Hot Off the Press came in. All are experienced authors making money and some of them even earn enough royalties to pay their major bills.


I now have two books up for Kindle. I and another author bud took 3 tiny short stories of mine and made a book, (she did the cover for me) so I could get my ankles wet in the publishing pool before I launched Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems. It was pretty neat to experience.


Aspiring authors also ask what the costs are to self-publish. Some authors have the abilities to format and design their own covers, (Yes, I envy them), but this was my bottom line financially: $125 for my Cover Designer/Artist and $92 for the Formatting. Then I spent another $78 to buy 10 of my own print books for giveaways (I still get some revenue back with royalties) and I also invested $150 for bookmarks to give as handouts to people wherever I go. I didn’t pay for my ISBN #-s because CreateSpace and Smashwords give those free, and Amazon Kindle uses ASIN’s which amount to the same thing as an ISBN.


Profit-wise, this year will probably amount to being a tax write off for me, but my books are finally out there and I couldn’t be happier. Let me amend this statement: I will be happier as the holidays get closer, which means more sales for my fellow authors and me! Thanks again for hosting me, A. R.!

About Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems:

Twice divorced, cynical Cindy Layton feels like a relic with prehistoric baggage, and doubts she can muster the courage to establish a new relationship, even if it’s on her own terms.


Her journey out of the Stone Age hits freaky, hilarious turbulence when she joins an Internet dating service. The scammers and weirdoes she meets in cyberspace make Cindy want to crawl back into her cave, until she receives an accidental email from Jay DeMatteo.


Jay has the dating blues, too, but after meeting Cindy, reconsiders his options. Now it’s up to him to convince her it’s never too late to pursue a meaningful relationship, even when a couple is struggling with midlife adolescence.


Susan’s Website

Susan on Twitter: @susanjeanricci

Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems on Amazon

Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems Smashwords


Susan Jean Ricci, Author of Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems

Susan Jean Ricci, Author of Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems


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