Self-Publishing

Guest Post: Self-Publishing Confessions of a Writing Mom

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The Story Behind the Story

Can I be honest with you? I never really planned on being a writer, but a little over 25 years ago, I just started writing. Unpublished short stories, song lyrics, poems, and a 115,000 word novel are still tucked away in my closet, waiting to be shared with the world. 

A Writer’s Inspiration

The years have flown by, and I’m grateful that through grace and perseverance that I didn’t give up on my dream of self-publishing my first novel, Confessions of a Tween Superheroine: The Dunk’N Divaz (PlayBook 1) (affiliate link). So what would inspire a working mom of four, with ZERO basketball skills, to create a slam-dunking superhero book series? Well it all started out with a basketball and a bit of crazy imagination.

Hard Work Paid Off

From the age of 7, my sister was coached by our dad in basketball. I, on the other hand, was never interested in basketball. But as the years went by, the hard work paid off. My sister’s high school jersey was retired, and she received a 4-year scholarship to play for the University of Georgia (UGA) Lady Bulldogs.

A Fallen Dream 

Years after my sister graduated from UGA, our family’s interest in basketball never ceased. My dad and other family members had a dream to create a new women’s basketball league. The ladies would be empowered to slam dunk in every game, but the league never developed. I literally saw this amazing dream fall to pieces.

Reviving the Dream

In 2006, I decided to revive this dream with some creative CPR through the power of fantasy and fiction.  Then I heard the name “The Dunk’N Divaz” bubble up in my soul. Shortly thereafter, I created five tween singing divas who would stumble upon the most unlikely opportunity to become The Dunk’N Divaz: tween superheroines who fight crime and promote fair play, one slam, one jam at a time. 

Overcoming Challenges in Self-Publishing

As a working mom, there’s never a perfect time to exercise; however, when I focus on the end result of having a stronger mind and body, I’m encouraged to stop procrastinating and work out. I’ve discovered that the same applies in the world of writing.

Is There a Perfect Time To Write?

Throughout the years of writing Confessions of a Tween Superheroine, I discovered that for me, there was never a perfect time to write a book. In between writing, it was therapeutic for me to see Confessions of a Tween Superheroine available for pre-order on Amazon, long before the release date which encouraged me to persevere throughout all of the challenges that occurred while writing the manuscript. After long seasons of not writing, I had to get back into the writing routine by adopting a “write no matter what” attitude, especially in the midst of facing life’s challenges and raising a young family. Due to my day job and family responsibilities, it often took me waiting until the children were in bed and staying up until 2 and sometimes 3 am to finalize the manuscript and write for my website and social media accounts.

:: Read Chris Craft’s spin on the 3×3 writing process and get inspired to plan, research, and write no matter what. ::

Going Through the Valley 

One of the greatest valleys that occurred while writing The Dunk’N Divaz took place in 2010 when my computer crashed, resulting in the loss of all of my manuscript files. And to make matters worse, I couldn’t find the backup disc anywhere.  As I searched for the disc to no avail, I found myself asking, “Is it really meant for me to write this book?” 

A Greater Appreciation

After calming myself from the initial fear of never finding the disc, I prayed for guidance to find it. Approximately a year later, while looking for another item, I finally found the disc.  At that moment, I had a greater appreciation for self-publishing The Dunk’N Divaz. I knew that I could no longer make excuses for procrastinating and that in fact, it was God’s will for me to publish this book.

Bringing the Dream to Reality

In January of 2017, I finally hired a team to help me bring my dream to reality.  I also decided that Amazon’s self-publishing outlets at the time, CreateSpace and Amazon KDP self-publishing would be most suitable to publish my print book and eBook, respectively. 

CreateSpace vs IngramSpark

One of the most important decisions I had to make was to choose my publishing platform for my print book. By the time I was ready to publish, there were many more publishing platforms to choose from for print books other than CreateSpace and IngramSpark. Upon reading writer’s reviews, I discovered pros and cons with both publishing platforms.  In the end, I decided to choose CreateSpace over IngramSpark due to CreateSpace’s 24-hour customer service and user-friendly website which was a plus for a novice self-publisher as myself.

Hiring My Editor

One day, I read an article that was written by a lady who offered editing services. I was impressed with her writing style. After talking with her, I hired her to be my editor. One of the greatest writing lessons that my editor taught me was the importance of choosing my words and imagery to “show” rather than “tell” when writing a narrative. I valued her critique of my usage of grammar, punctuation, and writing style and could not have published the book with confidence without her assistance. 

Hiring My Cover Artist

createspace vs ingramspark - The Dunk'N Divaz

Working with my cover artist was one of the most enjoyable parts of creating the book. I found him through an internet search and was grateful that he lived only 45 minutes away from me. I emailed him several images, including basketball players in slam dunking action to help him create the cover art. The advantage of hiring him was that he served as both my cover artist and book cover designer. 

Hiring My Book Formatter

Thankfully, my son did research on how to format a print book and an eBook.  He found a very detailed YouTube video that broke down the steps. He was confident that he could do it for me, so I took a chance and allowed him to do it. I was both pleased with the end product and grateful that he was willing to format the manuscript in a professional quality for CreateSpace and Amazon KDP self-publishing.

Finally Self-Published

It was a long journey, but on August 20, 2017, I finally pushed that Amazon self-publishing submit button. I simultaneously experienced feelings of joy, relief, and a bit of nervousness after finally releasing Confessions of a Tween Superheroine to the public. It had been a little over ten years in the making! In spite of the mixed emotions, I had to remind myself to celebrate, for I was most grateful that I could now add “self-published author” to one of my greatest accomplishments.

Self-Publishing Accolades

In April of 2018, I also became an award-winning author upon receiving a finalist award in the children’s fantasy category of the Next Generation Indie Book Award program. Receiving that award gave me a boost of encouragement, knowing that professional judges in the book publishing industry found my first published novel, Confessions of a Tween Superheroine, award-worthy. In the same year, I received a five star Reader’s Favorite book review and favorable reviews on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, but this writing mom has only just scratched the surface of her writing journey. 

In Conclusion

In addition to those song lyrics, poems, short stories, inspirational writings, and that 115,000-word novel, I have at least two more installments of the Dunk’N Divaz and a spin-off book from the series to publish. One of the greatest sources of encouragement for me as a writer is the fact that I’ve discovered that my faith in God’s grace, my purpose, and my perseverance empowers me to keep writing far greater than striving for perfection. If I were only driven by perfection, I would have quit many years ago. If this busy working mom of four can write and self-publish a book, be encouraged, you can too, so keep writing, do your dream a favor and publish that book!

Learn more about J M Guy and her writing projects online at her website.

J M Guy is the author of 'The Dunk’N Divaz (PlayBook 1): Confessions of a Tween Superheroine'. A native New Yorker, she currently lives in Georgia with her husband and their four children.