Blogiversary | Guest Post by Amanda Gale – The Publishing Experience



Self-publishing is more than its name suggests. It’s also about self-teaching, self-branding, self-motivating, and self-growth. Being responsible for every decision is simultaneously the greatest reward and heaviest burden. It’s been one of the hardest, most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t change one moment of it.

I began writing to satisfy a need within myself; I had no intention of publishing, and in fact I didn’t even believe I’d finish. I was surprised when the writing happened in a flurry. I wrote all four books in five months, staying up all night, sleeping for only a couple of hours when I put the baby back to bed. A little idea had turned into something real, and I considered publication.

When the first drafts were complete, the editing process began. I cleaned up the manuscripts and researched agents and small publishers. I sent out query letters and excerpts, but I think deep down I always knew it wasn’t meant to be and that I was only going through the motions. My series has never fit into a convenient niche because it is not easily classified into any one genre. In addition, I learned that it was unlikely that, as a new author, I would sell a series; rather, I would need to make the first book stand on its own, sell it by itself, and then hope the others in the series were picked up.

I reached a turning point when I received lengthy constructive criticism from an editor at a small publisher. After reading the first three chapters, she wrote me a detailed explanation of what didn’t work and how I could improve my writing. It was difficult to read! However, I took her advice seriously and solicited feedback from friends. When I continued to hear the same concerns over and over, I almost completely rewrote the first book and mercilessly revised the others. Those weeks were painful; I struggled to discard so much of what I had written, and I was working harder than I had when I was writing the first draft. But the result was miraculous. I had something I truly believed in. I will never forget the kindness of this editor who took the time to help me. She was under no obligation to do so.

With my scrappy new draft, I was invigorated, and I sent it out for feedback to whoever would read it. So many generous people took the time to share their responses, and their responses were fascinating! Each individual offered a different perspective and different advice. I sifted through this feedback and entered a new stage of editing—this time, revising was more about filling in gaps and tweaking dialogue than fixing structural issues. It was like chiseling away at a rock to slowly turn it into a sculpture, and I watched it grow closer and closer to completion.

By now I knew I would self-publish the books. I had worked harder than I had ever thought I could, and I wanted to take them all the way on my own. After much soul-searching, I decided I didn’t want to change the fact that they were cliffhangers or force them into one genre; while I was eager to execute revisions that would improve the books, I made the personal decision to stick to my original vision rather than pursue a book deal. In the meantime, I was hearing that the books were resonating with readers. These were real readers, real people, the people I was writing for, and that was most important to me.

I began researching self-publishing and realized quickly that my hard work was only beginning. Like anything, self-publishing can be accomplished in many different ways, and no one path is the “right” path. There are endless details and variables, and every author has to create his or her own individual plan. The fact that I did not find two consenting opinions on anything only made the process more difficult. I educated myself as best I could and made decisions I felt were right for me. This stage was difficult and tedious for me, as I am not business-minded. However, I feel good about having accomplished it on my own. It offered me the opportunity for growth, and I am grateful for that.

Though a writer can self-publish without making any monetary investments at all, I decided to invest in ISBNs, copyrights, and original cover art. I always had imagined that I’d have original cover art; I had put so much of myself into the books, and I felt they needed something all their own to represent them. I found the illustrator who created my covers through social media. Her work is raw, elegant, sexy, and beautiful, and she succeeded in capturing the mood of each book.

I decided, for the time being, to publish only through Amazon (as a paperback and an eBook for Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (as an eBook for Nook), and I set up my accounts while I worked on the final editing. I also began building a social media presence and networking. Once the editing was complete, I prepared the files of all four books for my three vendors—no small feat considering every vendor required a different format and cover size. Receiving the proof copies of the paperbacks was a moment I will remember forever. Seeing them in print for the first time, knowing I had accomplished this dream and that I had learned so much in doing so, made me realize that no matter what else happened, I already had succeeded.

I read through the proof copies and made the final changes to the manuscripts, then uploaded the final files and hit the “publish” button. It’s such an odd and wonderful feeling, knowing the characters are blowing around in the wind when they existed only in my mind for so many years. Now I’m working on marketing, which has proven more difficult for me—but I’m becoming more comfortable with it. I know it will only continue to grow easier: having managed to put the books out into the world, I know now that I can do this, too.






A graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, Amanda Gale taught high school English before she began writing women’s fiction. She loves history, classic literature, and quiet nights at home. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. (Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography)


Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with my review of Meredith Out of Darkness.

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