Saturday, August 4, 2018

Guest Post Featuring Shawn Robinson: An Overview of Self-Publishing, Part 1

Note from the RW Team: To give our writers a small hiatus, we are welcoming author Shawn Robinson to do a 5 part series on self-publishing over the months of August and September. We hope that this will prove very useful, especially to the teen/indie authors in our audience.  
Next week, we will be publishing our second Round Table in honor of Rebellious Writing's first blogoversary, and our wrap-ups will remain the same. In the meantime, please give Shawn a warm welcome! 

Hey everyone! 

I'm glad to be able to share on the Rebellious Writing blog! I've been following RW ever since I heard about it. I am always thrilled with the idea of people who want to write quality work without compromising morality and values.

It is such a joy to be able to write! Writing ends up being an opportunity to create, to explore, to face the challenge of grabbing hold of a reader's interest and taking them on an adventure! Writing is... fun. :)

Writing, however, is not the end goal. I remember reading a while back that many writers would give just about anything to have one person read at least one line of what they've written. Now, for those of you who struggle with hyperbole, that statement will drive you nuts. For the rest (those who are writers), you get the point. We do not just want to write. We want to share what we have written.

One of the things that I've had the privilege of being a part of over the last while is the fun process of Self-Publishing. While it can be a lot of work at times, it's very rewarding and exciting. Not only that, we live in a day when a Self-Publisher can easily publish a well-written, well laid out and well-designed book with the same quality of print that a traditional publisher offers.

What we'd like to do in this post (and the next 4 parts) is to explore the basics of the self-publishing process for an author. 

So, let's dive in!

Self-Publishing Overview, Part 1

We certainly live in challenging times in a lot of ways, but one of the wonderful parts of living in 2018 is that there are many options for writers to get their work out to the unsuspecting public. If an author takes the time and puts the effort in, he or she can self-publish a professional quality book and make it available for sale all around the world!

The exciting part about this (for most of us) is that this can be done for little to no cost!

Now... let me point out a couple areas where there can be some significant cost, just so that you don't think I'm trying to fool you about the cost part of this. 

Here are some areas where your self-publishing process can cost you some cash:


Unless you know an artist who is willing to do your artwork for free, this is likely going to cost you. There are many options. If you do a search, you can find sites that will sell you a cover starting at $20. Generally, the more you pay, the nicer cover you will get. 

 Be careful. You can end up spending $1000 on this, and you might not be happy with what you get. You also have to be careful with covers to make sure that you have the full rights to use the cover (even if you buy it, you may not have the rights you think you have).

Let me give you a quick scenario: imagine you wrote a sci-fi romance children's crossword puzzle historical fiction book and your book sells 500k copies. You're thrilled and excited and you're the new J.K. Rowling of SFRCCPHF genre books. You're now rolling in the cash, but you find out that someone is suing you because you are using their cover and they want a piece of the action. This is an unlikely scenario, but best to make sure you own the full rights to the cover. 

 One option is to hire someone on to draw up an image and use Publisher or other software to design your cover yourself. You can then purchase the image and you should own it completely (assuming they are not using stock photos). But always confirm with them that you own the image...


You NEED to use an editor. If you are a great writer with a firm grasp of punctuation and grammar and syntax and prose and more (if I was a good author, I could come up with a longer list), your editor will have less work to do. But you'll still need an editor.

You don't need to necessarily hire one (although a professional editor is generally good at what they do), but you need people to edit your work. Personally, I've made use of upwards of 20+ editors and alpha/beta readers on a book and I still find issues here and there after they go over it. Editors are important. :) 

 You should self-edit, but self-editing is never enough. If you're struggling with the cost of an editor (on average, 2 cents a word), I can recommend some quality editors who will not charge too much. They might give you a decent introductory rate as well.


We'll talk about this more later on, but this is a cost that can grow...


ISBNs are your book's identification number, used around the world. We'll talk a bit more about ISBNs in a later blog. They are very important and can cost a lot, unless you can manage to get them free or buy them in bulk.

In Conclusion...

All right, those are some of the areas that will likely cost you. In our next blog, we'll start working through some of the foundational information you need to understand in order to sound smart as you talk with other Self-Publishers and to help lay a foundation for you to make solid decisions when it comes to Self-Publishing. If you'd like some more detail on any of these areas, head over to my blog and check it out:

Meet the Orator:
Bio and author picture are sourced from Author website ( Used with Permission.

I’m a writer, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hiker (or at least I was till some recent health problems), a lover of coffee, a biker (not the cool kind, but the kind that rides around on an old motorcycle and has a blast) and someone who enjoys watching movies with my sons and playing cards with my wife.

I have written (so far) four books. One is a book of short stories, the other three are a series (Arestana series). They are geared to younger readers and I have a blast writing them! You can check out my books here:


  1. Great post, Shawn! Can’t wait to see the rest of the series. I’ve been debating self-publishing for quite some time, not knowing much about, but I learned more about it through reading this. Thanks!

  2. Looking forward to reading all the posts! Great start :) And I so agree on editing!

  3. Found this very helpful! I can't wait to read the rest of this series :)

  4. Thanks so much, everyone, for the chance to share! I hope the whole series is a big help to you all.

  5. This is great! I am self-publishing this month, on the 24th, actually, if all goes well, so this is a great series for me. I'm probably going to use the free Amazon ISBN for now and purchase some in bulk later on when I have saved up some more money.

  6. Cool post! Looking forward to future posts in this series!