5 Self-Publishing Lessons in 2023

Takeaways from publishing my first novel

Diona L. Reeves
3 min readFeb 24

The Prescott Diaries | Art designed by Donna Dean

It took far longer than I intended, but my first novel is finally available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other retailers. I’m even on Goodreads. Yay!

While one book certainly does not make me an expert at self-publishing, I did learn a few things.

1 — Your early readers help in ways you might not expect.

Three people read my manuscript and shared their thoughts before I published it. But even more than their input on the storyline, I appreciated their perspective on genre and back cover text since I was too close to it to be objective. I am immensely grateful to these readers and hope they are open to reading my next book, scheduled for late spring/early summer. =)

2 — You can have a beautiful cover without breaking the bank.

The moment I saw my cover, I knew it was the one I wanted. But it took months for me to get to that point. Thankfully, I found a designer who was affordable and easy to work with, and I absolutely love the way the cover turned out. (If you are considering hiring a designer, drop me a private note, and I will share her info.)

3 — Being professional is key.

Along with hiring a designer, I purchased my own ISBNs, used InDesign for the interior, and joined an author’s alliance. It is too early to say whether these efforts will translate into sales, but I put my best foot forward and that counts for something. Plus, I now have a gorgeous book to stare at on with my name splashed across the front. How cool is that?!

4— You will make mistakes.

Unfortunately, slipups are inevitable. But if you see them as part of the learning curve, you’ll be better equipped to handle things when they go awry. From not fully understanding how the different publishing platforms work to miscalculating release dates and pricing, making poor or misguided decisions is all part of leaning something new. Do your research but accept that your launch will not be perfect.

5— Get out of your own way.

If there is one piece of advice I have for anyone considering the self-publishing route, it’s do what needs to be done and then remove yourself from the process. Putting your work out there for others to consume and judge is unnerving. Being able to separate from the anxiety and stress of self-publishing will make it far more rewarding.

I wish I had a crystal ball to know how my self-publishing adventure will play out. But I don’t, so I will continue on, using what I learned from this experience — the good and the bad—to further my writing dreams. I wish everyone exploring this option good luck in their efforts!

Diona L. Reeves

Author of The Prescott Diaries. Writes articles on productivity, the writing process, and this thing called life.