Hi, I'm Oliver. Let me introduce myself with a pre-written third-person bio.
Born in 1998, Oliver Dahl is the oldest of five children and lives in Idaho. Previous to finishing middle school, The Dreamers had earned him the a spot as one of Idaho's Top 50 Idaho authors (2011). The title of Idaho's Student of the Year (2012) preceded both the publication of Dahl's second novel, The Nightmarers, and the completion of his freshman year of high school. Oliver's books have spent time in the top percentages of books on Amazon.com. Authors like Brandon Mull, Obert Skye, and Richard Paul Evans own autographed copies and have expressed interest in The Dreamers. Dahl is also an awarded musician and engineer. He has twice as many Oscars as Leonardo DiCaprio, and has won the Tour De France as many times as Lance Armstrong.
Well, now that that's out of the way... Zara asked me to write about the toughest parts of my self-publishing process and how I overcame them. When I first read the topic, I knew it would make for a great, helpful post. And then I thought about it. What was the hardest part of self-publishing? My difficulty in picking something to write about doesn't derive from dozens of instances of difficult times while self-publishing. It's actually the opposite. Self-publishing is... really easy. That's the way the creators of this type of publishing intended, and I think that they have pulled it off rather well. I've had a harder time joining some websites!
However, this isn't to say that the road is completely smooth and without any hiccups. There are three main things that I have found to be the most difficult when self-publishing. Not coincidentally, I also feel that these are some of the most important parts if self publishing. Here we go.
1. Editing. Aah, my least favorite part of the writing process. And again, the hardest in my opinion. I guess this does fit more into the writing aspect of things than the publishing aspect, but having a clean, well-edited, professional book, free of typos and up to the quality standards of traditional publishers is going to be a HUGE advantage to you. You wouldn't believe how many reviews you will get that will comment on the grammar, spelling, and formatting mistakes that are in your book, if you have any. You may even lose a star off the rating in some cases. And positive reviews are going to have another huge impact on your sales.
What I did: I had my dad edit. I am currently having two other (professional) editors go through it who have kindly offered their services. I also had an old family friend to through it before The Nightmarers publication.
2. Cover Creating. Though I have gotten better at it since I first started, cover creating can still be difficult, especially when sites like CreateSpace and LuLu's "cover creators" aren't all that great. I have spent hours moving around images, going from computer to computer on various programs so that they fit properly where I want them to on the cover, only to find that the new resolution of the image is incompatible. This has been the most stressful and annoying part of the self-publishing process that I have encountered. Hair was pulled, and angry grunts were made frequently. Many professionals will advise you to search out an actual cover designer. This can be this can result in much more professional looking covers.
What I did: I, didn't have the money or the budget to pay for one of these cover designers, so I did it myself. (And they turned out pretty awesome, right?!)
3. Promoting. Though the first two steps are also good, I feel as if promoting is where it really pays to have a traditional publisher. A traditional publisher can get you into bookstores, libraries, and pretty much anywhere else that sells books. They also promote your books in magazines, newspapers, on the radio, and even on television. This can pretty quickly start word-of-mouth marketing, which is really how people sell books. Getting your word out to other people about your book can be really difficult. Especially if it's just you promoting it. It's a lot easier for traditional publishers to promote books, because they have an entire marketing team with tons of experience that know exactly how to promote and sell your book.
So, that's it for now, but I hope you'll check out my books and start stalking me on a few places online, too. I hope you learned something new today, and that I gave you something else to think about. I'd love to hear back from you about what you thought, or with any questions.
Thanks for having me!
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I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,