Jennifer Dinsmore Editorial
Free Your Words
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Why I Chose Self-Publishing

A Q&A with Historical Fiction Author Naomi Finley

In May I completed a publishing series outlining the basics of self-publishing and traditional publishing, as well as the pros & cons of each.

But how do you really know you’re making the right decision for your career? This summer I’m bringing you insight from those who have been there. I reached out to clients and authors to share their experiences with both traditional and independent publishing, and asked them about agents, author platforms, and so much more.

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First up is historical fiction author Naomi Finley. She has had a successful career in self-publishing, and shares tips on finding your team of professionals, advertising your work, and what was easier—and harder—than she expected.

I had the great honour of joining her publishing team as proofreader late last year, and you can check out her latest novella, The Master of Ships, here.

Jennifer Dinsmore: Why did you choose to self-publish? Did you try the traditional route at all?

Naomi Finley: When I decided to write my first novel, I didn’t know much about self-publishing or traditional publishing. After A Slave of the Shadows  was complete, I started exploring how to get the book published. It was during this research phase I first heard of self-publishing.

Having been an entrepreneur for over twelve years, I had a taste of the pros and cons of being my own boss. I found the appeal of being in control of my branding, cover design, and final manuscript appealing. Once I made the decision to self-publish, I pushed forward and never looked back.

JD: What platform did you use to publish, and why?

NF: I decided to go for a wide reach with my books and publish on as many platforms as possible. I didn’t want to restrict how readers purchased or borrowed my books.

Recently, I decided to put a few of my e-books on Kindle Unlimited to test the program. Like many indie authors, I’ve found Amazon the best platform for selling books. In my first six weeks as a new author on their site I sold over 2,000 books.

JD: Where did you find your publishing team of editors, designers, and so on?


NF: I’m a perfectionist, so finding a credible publishing team was the biggest challenge for me. Like many new authors, I was taken advantage of by people and companies looking to prey on my inexperience. I learned quickly not all in this industry are who they claimed to be.

Despite these difficulties, I now have a fantastic group of professionals I trust completely with my work. I found my editors in the Editors Canada Online Directory, and my designers through Facebook and their websites.

JD: Self-publishing involves a lot of self-promotion. Tell us a little about your author platform.

NF: Whether it’s launching your new release or promoting an old backlist title, marketing is vital for your success.

I have a website and place ads on BookBub, Amazon, and Goodreads. I’ve dabbled with Facebook, but after signing up for Mark Dawson’s course (Advertising for Authors) I plan to revisit Facebook ads and revamp my advertisements on other sites. Sometimes I also conducted newsletter promotions with companies, but in my experience the return on investment is not worth it.

JD: What do you find most rewarding about self-publishing? The most challenging?

NF: The most rewarding, and challenging, thing about self-publishing is working for yourself. 

Not only do you have to write stories, but you also have to maintain a website and promote yourself through blogging and engaging on social media platforms.

JD: Are these different than you first anticipated? What do you wish you knew when you started?

NF: When I started out I knew self-publishing would be a lot of work, but I underestimated the magnitude. However, if you asked me if the intense workload required would change my decision, the answer is no. 

JD: What advice would you give to those considering self-publishing?

NF: I have a few of pieces of advice for those considering self-publishing:

  • Beware of people and companies looking to take advantage of new authors. I learned the hard way not everyone in this industry is who they appear to be.

  • Write a good, quality book. Don’t skip corners and forego an editor.

  • Be open to criticism. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. It is through our mistakes we learn to become better authors.

  • Stand behind your book, and be proud you shared a part of yourself with the world that so many people will never be brave enough to share. 🖉

Many thanks for the great advice, Naomi! I hope that helps you, fellow writer, make an informed decision as to which path is best for you and your career.

(And if you missed out on my publishing series, don’t forget to catch up.)

Until next time, keep creating!