Self pub & BLADE SONG

I’ve had a lot of people asking me things about what/how/why I did things with Blade Song (focusing on the ebook…technically, the print version that’s coming won’t be self published)

So I’m going to just do a quick run down of the basic process I used.

Naturally, the first thing I did was write the book.  Then I had a beta reader read it and see if it sucked it or not and I tried to sell it in traditional markets but nobody was biting.

Sooooo…since I had it and I wanted to get it out there, I decided to self publish it.

This isn’t my first self-published book, not by a long-shot, but it is the first full-length book, it’s the first urban fantasy book I’ve done and it’s really the biggest project I’ve ever taken on.


The primary editor I worked with is Sara Reinke, although she only takes on projects occasionally.  Sara is an author, but also has editing experience from Samhain.  When I talked to her about this project, I asked her if she’d help me…well, I begged.  She did this out of the kindness of her heart and because I threw myself at her feet over P.F. Changs one day.  If you want to inquire about her rates, you need to contact her.  She doesn’t do these often, but she does occasionally take on projects.  You can reach her via her website.

I also had a secondary line editor, Lorena Streeter.

The rates she quoted:

Services and rates effective 7/1/12

A basic editorial read, checking for timeline, continuity, consistency, and glaring errors is 75 cents a page.

Simple edit: spelling, punctuation, grammar including sentence structure: $1.75 a page.

Comprehensive edit includes the above, but also includes suggestions for story structure, characterization, plot questions, as well as suggestions for any paragraphs that should be restructured, deleted, moved, and so forth. $2.75 a page.

Word-use read (spelling errors not caught by spellcheck programs, homonym confusion, word usage errors): 50 cents a page.

Contact @

I’ll probably have a third for future books.  NY pubbed books usually have numerous editors going over them and I still found things I’d missed even after numerous passes by all of us, so maybe a third line editor will help.


Now it’s possible to format on your own.  Nadia Lee has a fantastic book on it.  I used that for several of my books, including the first few Hunters I reissued.  But, it gives me a massive headache and after a while, my eyes start to cross and my deadlines are getting murderous.

I asked Jax Cassidy from Romance Divas for some names on edits and formatting and she passed on several names, including LK Campbell. LK has since saved my life, for very little compensation.

From her site, formatting a book runs roughly:

Normal fees for basic formatting (based on word count) are as follows:
Short Stories Under 10K – $10.00;
Short Stories 10K-20K $15.00
Novella 20K-45K – $20.00
Novel-length 45K-80K $25.00
Novel-length 80K-100K – $30.00
Novel-length 100K-125K – $35.00
For very long novels $35.00 + $5.00 for each 10K over 125K

And she can do it in Kindle, Nook & Smashwords formats.


There’s very little question of who I have do my covers.  It’s Angela Waters Art.  She’s my go-to person.


One question I was asked a lot was how did I get the book up for pre-order.  You can sort of thank Sylvia Day for that.  I’d asked her how she had BARED TO YOU up on Net Galley and she mentioned she’d used INscribe.  I wanted BLADE SONG up on Net Galley.  So I checked on INscribe and I’ll be honest, at first I was leery.  It handles distribution for you and there’s some upfront fees, yes.  Some of the forms made my head spin.  (I don’t do well with forms.)  But it had two undeniable benefits…getting that book on Net Galley for a fraction of what it would cost me to do it on my own.  And making the book available for pre-orders.  They can also get the book available for some of the special deals with Amazon and BN, like the Daily Deals, etc.

And… they can distribute your ebook to libraries.  One of their partners is Overdrive.  They have world wide distribution so your book isn’t just made available to Amazon, BN, etc.  Ebook partners in countries across the globe will be able to order the book, if you choose.

A quick run-down from my contact at INscribe:

INscribe Digital helps…distribute and market effectively. They distribute content to all the biggest retailers, and work with the online merchants to drive sales and suggest promotions.


Finally, all those years of sending dead roses to bloggers paid off… *Just kidding*

The first thing I did was set up a huge giveaway.  I did a rafflecopter giveaway of 50 PDFs back in June, well before the book was due out.  This suggestion came from Ilona Andrews…I was talking to her back in the spring and she suggested a big giveaway.

I contacted Patricia Briggs–I already knew Patty enjoyed my work, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask to for a cover quote.  She was happy to read it over and so I sent her a copy and hoped for the best.  Carolyn Crane was happy to read it as well and… yay!  Both of them liked the book.

I posted a call on my blog to see if anybody might be interested in hosting me for a blog tour.  Some very awesome people responded, included my die-hard favorite author, Lynn Viehl. I had print galleys printed up on LuLu (I hadn’t yet worked out the print deal for the book) and did giveaways on Goodreads.  Having the book on Net Galley helped a lot.

Several bloggers read it in advance and were talking it up and no, I didn’t bribe or send them roses.  Word of mouth is one of the biggest things you can get for a book, but there’s no magical guarantee any book will get that.  I managed to get a little bit of buzz going on this one, but there’s no rhyme or reason to what works and what doesn’t.

So…the first full-length self pub project doesn’t look to be a total flop.  Yes, I’m going ahead with book 2.  Sara has Night Blade and I’ll have it back in a couple of weeks.

The things that I think helped the most…

it’s the things that help with my traditionally published stuff.

  • Getting it edited.
  • Having it formatted.
  • Having a cool cover.
  • Having promo-the hard part is, I don’t have any of that behind the scenes promo that’s going on…well, behind the scenes, so I was handling it all on my own.
  • Distribution

I out-sourced as much of this as I could this time around.  I already have a great cover lady and having somebody else handle the formatting, the distribution made things go smoother.

Promoting the self-published works is still one giant pain in the tail.

But I loathe and abhor promo anyway.

6 Replies to “Self pub & BLADE SONG”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m not an author (I’m one of those that got dead roses, just kidding). I, am, however, a very curious person and I wondered how all the self publishing worked. You fill in a bunch of blanks for me. Thanks again and I can’t wait for book 2!!

  2. Thanks. I’m interested in getting into line editing, so I was curious to see the rates you were charged for that. Without doing any research on the subject, I had actually come up with very similar rates, so it’s good to know that I’m in the ballpark.

  3. Well, what probably helped most was…you wrote a dynamite STORY! I loved it. The cover art did catch my attention–it’s awesome. But, of course, it’s the story that will bring me back for book 2.

    Thanks for the tips and the rundown!


  4. That was super helpful. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I have wondered about the whole editing process and that explained so much. It also helps to have a general idea of how much capital you need to have to pay good people to do that kind of work to get a self-pub in good shape for purchase. Yes, you have to have a decent book to start with but even good books can be annoying to read if they are poorly edited or distributed.

  5. Thank you, thank you, for self publishing Blade Song, I read A Stroke of Dumb Luck when it was first available and I have been watching for more of Kit, she really intrigued me and I like what you have done with her in Blade Song.
    Looking forward to Night Blade.

  6. @A Jaye… thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Just a note, I moved your comment off the book page to the blog page. I can’t get the page to close to comments for some reason and I’m trying to keep all comments restricted to the blog itself. I’m going to be moving my blog/site to a different server/template soon so hopefully this problem will be addressed.

    Again, thank you… I’m glad you liked BLADE SONG!

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