Self-publishing is not hard, but there is more to it than you might think unless you’ve actually done it. This series is not about telling you how to do it, but telling you how I did it, what I went through. In most cases, what you will go through will be similar to my experience in getting my first novel, ONE MINUTE GONE, live on Amazon in both ebook and trade paperback forms.

There are a lot service providers, platforms and sites that will help you self-publish. Below is the list of my providers. It doesn’t matter who you use, or which platforms you choose, but these are the essential pieces of self-publishing.

INTERNAL FORMATTING, TYPESET & COVER DESIGN: This is the process of converting your Word file, or whatever word processor your finished manuscript is in, to a form, generally a PDF, that will become your book between the covers. In addition to your novel, or whatever the content is, you will probably want to add a copyright page, acknowledgements, dedication, and author bio. Keith Snyder at did all of this for me. Because Keith is a talented graphic designer I had him do my cover, though generally the internal setup and cover design come from separate sources. Keith is a mystery author himself, but does a wide range of designs for children, YA, sports, poetry, etc. His prices are reasonable, he’s professional, prompt, and easy to work with. In addition to the formatting for print, as part of the package, Keith also formatted mine for Kindle and other ebook vendors.

COVER ART: I purchased the rights to a photo of Lower Manhattan from I first found it on another photo bank, which was selling it for more than I wanted to pay. After half an hour of scanning, I finally found the same photo in iStock for a third of what the other site was asking. Keith modified it and turned it into—what I think—is a terrific cover. Of course, you can do your cover yourself, but, unless you are a talented designer, it will look amateurish. When you are selling online, your cover is one of your most important promotional tools.

WEBSITE DESIGN AND MAINTENANCE: You really need a website, and you can do it yourself. Generally (see COVER ART), that’s a bad idea. I used Maddee James at Maddee is unbelievably good, which is why she has a waiting list. She was a dream to work with. She used to do only crime fiction, but has recently expanded to romance and YA. Check out my website,, and then go to and look at some of Maddee’s other client sites.

NEXT: CHOOSING A PLATFORM: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookbaby, etc. And how do you PRICE YOUR BOOK, the ebook and the hardcopy?