How I became a self-published author
I had written other books, but they're long gone now and I had always wondered how to get them published. I'm not rich and I can't afford to pay for publishing. I was a single mother from 2009 until 2018 and even though I'm married now, extra money usually isn't in the budget. I wrote a fictional version of my life and turned it into a mystery novel. That's where my book "Shattered" is from.
I had this fifteen-chapter book saved in my Google Docs and didn't know what to do with it. I printed it, hoping someone other than my children would read it and tell me what they thought of it. That never happened. I literally have no friends in real life and as far as I know, no one has read it yet. I decided to see how to publish it and googled away. I first found Page Publishing. Chuck Shank, I believe that was his name, kept calling and emailing me. There was one problem with his proposal, he wanted money. Their service wasn't cheap.
After a week or so, I googled "self-publishing books". There are quite a few different sites available to self-publish your work for free. The first site I used was KDP from Amazon. I was like "awesome"! I read over the "how-to" and realized that my docx form wasn't going to be enough. I started googling again and found Reedsy. Reedsy helps you format for epub, kindle, pdf print-ready, etc, and copyrights your work for you. That was great! My next problem was that it asked for a book cover. My first book took a while to get set up just right to self-publish.
My fifteen-year-old son started helping me. Yes, I'm not as computer savvy as one might think. We found Canva. A site that helps you design more than just book covers. This was our first project together. He made a website for his micro-nation a lil over a year ago and I knew he'd be able to help with minimal issues. Canva has a ton of templates available. We found one that I liked and we edited it until it was perfect for what I wanted. Of course, it wasn't exactly what I wanted design-wise but it was what we could do.
We eventually got everything right for the book to self-publish on Amazon. Then we worked on it for Smashwords and Barnes & Noble. After we got that first book down, it was easier to make the next two.
As I said earlier, Shattered is a fictional version of a part of my life. The main characters in the book are Cheryl and John. John is horribly abusive to Cheryl during their marriage and when she leaves him, he hunts her down. His abuse escalates during their marriage until he almost kills her. That is how she gets away from him. Of course, the antagonist goes to jail but then he escapes. The question asked in the description of the book is: When Cheryl leaves John, will she escape with her life or will John become the victor?
I must point out that Shattered has a preface that states that it could be traumatizing to those who have experienced domestic abuse and rape. It also has national phone numbers listed for help. The reason for the preface is that the story is a no holds barred story that depicts horrific scenes of domestic abuse and rape, similar to my own experiences.
My second self-published book is "Blacktop Drag". It's about a single mother who is diagnosed with breast cancer when she is forty years old. During her chemo treatments and before she is in remission, she decides that she needs more excitement in her life. She becomes a drag racer, racing at the small venues before making it to the NHRA. It's an inspirational story.
My third book, "The Monster" is similar to my first book in that it's a murder/mystery but it doesn't have the horrific scenes that "Shattered" does. It starts out detailing the Morris family, an all-American family envied by those who knew them. Then a tragedy happens that changes their family structure forever. The story follows Jake Morris, a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
My next book will be part of a series. I'm calling the series "I Married a Monster". It'll be books based on stories from those who married someone whom psychologists would determine as having narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic personalities. I just hope that my protagonists in the books survive the story.
If you have written a book that is sitting on your hard drive unsure what to do with it or are working on a book, check into self-publishing. I haven't made any money yet. I don't know if I ever will. I'm just glad I'm able to get my stories out there. I feel more accomplished than I have in the past.