From Self Published to a Contract

This is not going to be about how to write. Rather I want to write about what I learned on the way to being a “published” author. I am going to assume you have written a book of fiction, a novel, and now you want to know what is the next step.

1. Everything I have read says you need an agent. I wouldn’t know as I don’t have one. I have been rejected by them. At last count it was approximately eighty seven times. Of that, some of the rejections were multiple times as I can be persistent. I still don’t have an agent. I will write about this more later. Also I will cover getting your own contract.

The problem is agents don’t really want you until you can prove it’s worth their time and they can make some money off you. I have come to the conclusion they are literary pimps who, because of the times and state of the industry, can pick and choose who will be the money makers in their stable. There is a market for fresh flesh but what really pays for the BMW is the money makers. What is a money maker? Someone who has established their own client black book.

So you don’t have a black book and you don’t write fresh vampire novels you find find your self realizing that maybe self publishing is the way to go. I mean it’s not so bad now, right?

My research told me I had two choices; Lulu and Amazon. I have used both. Amazon is the best because they are the market now for what you will be producing. I have actually liked my Amazon experience for a number of reasons. The main one is that it works. Before we go there I want to tell you about getting your book ready for both paper and ebook sales.

Paper. A real book. That is what I think of when I say I am a writer. It is also going to be less than half your sales. Paper is dying but right now it still has a place. You are going to need a decent computer, some computer skills, and up to date word processing software. I have WordPerfect, Word, and OpenOffice and prefer OpenOffice.

1. Get a good editor. I know. They cost money. Get yourself the best editor you can find. Why? If you don’t and you start selling books your reviews on Amazon will be bombed by grammar Nazi’s. Reviews are very important. You do not want this to happen. I know this the hard way.
2. The cover. Unless you have some money to burn you are going to be stuck using the Amazon templates. They’re not bad if you can come up with your own graphic. Don’t use a copyrighted one. Besides being cheesy it is not a good idea.
3. Formatting. Createspace wants an HTML document these days. It does ugly things to your Word formatting. Such is life.
4. Remember to save the preview copy of your cover to a file. You will need it for your ebook.


1. Well, at least you are Kindle ready but what about the rest of the world? I use Smashwords for the creation of the other formats. Don’t do text or PDF. There is only seven people in the world that would buy it and I feel like why make it easier to be given away.
2. Smashwords is pretty crappy as everyone is using it. Don’t be surprised to find yourself #754 in the queue for the formatting process. Also, the software ends up having a problem with your formatting it will reject you. That means getting back in line once you fix it.

Steve Campbell is the author of “The American Apocalypse” book series. He writes under the name Nova. You can learn more about Steve and his books at The American Apocalypse books are available at