From Imagination To Publication

Friday, February 5, 2016


Have you ever wondered how authors get their start?
How do they get agents?
How do they get published?
Is it luck? Talent? Drive?

This segment is an attempt to satisfy my immense answer the one question I'm dying to ask every author out there: 

How did your book become a book?


Debra Kristi

Author of 

Thanks for having me, Jessica. The idea of people enjoying my written stories is still such a foreign thought to me. That goes to show how we can all be so critical of our own work. It’s been close to ten years since my writing journey began and it has been anything but smooth. I had a lot to learn about the craft and publishing. I took class after class after class, immersing myself in everything from active voice to deep editing, and asked a ton of questions. As a result, I’ve become a stronger, more confident writer with a mild understanding of the publishing process.

Do you have an agent?
At this time I don’t have an agent. When I first decided my work was ready, I sent out a total of three queries of which garnered two replies. One was a recommendation to revise and resubmit. I never followed through. Instead, I chose to fly solo on my current projects. I don’t intend to stay that way, but it was the path I picked for my start. My father always said to never put all your eggs in one basket, a sentiment I’ve taken to heart. Eventually, I plan to submit certain projects for representation with the hope of becoming a hybrid author.

What made you decide to self-publish?
To self-publish or hold out for a traditional contract, that’s a tough choice every writer must make for themselves. I struggled with that decision for a long time. Then a little over a year ago, a fellow author asked me to participate in a self-published collaboration: individual stories with a shared world. The project not only appealed to me but blossomed into my soon to be completed Moorigad story. Needless to say, I jumped in and took on the role as a self-published author releasing my first book at the end of 2014.  

Did you do everything yourself (such as cover design, formatting, etc.) or did you hire out?
Because I don’t have the time or the knowhow, I hire out for formatting and cover design. But having said that, there are some amazing programs available that will help you if you have the time and desire to do it all yourself and save the cost. If you are considering self-publishing, I recommend you do your homework in this area. Presentation matters. Familiarize yourself with what’s on the market and what’s selling in your genre, then choose accordingly. Don’t cut corners. Remember, the end product represents you. It’s because of these lessons my Moorigad Series is about to get a completely new look.

Which platforms do you publish through?
Most of the platforms are fairly easy to learn. My work is uploaded directly to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Draft to Digital, and Smashwords. Through D2D and Smashwords everything is then distributed to iTunes and many others. Although, iTunes and Google Play are two I plan to master in the coming year. I also plan on taking on iTunes, directly. I currently use Createspace for all paperbacks but I’m in the process of moving to IngramSpark, Even though Createspace is the more economical choice, IngramSpark will allow your product to reach a wider market which is what we really want – to reach our readers everywhere. The next step for me is audio. It’s a huge market and another one of my goals for 2016.

What do you like or dislike about self-publishing?
Control over all the aspects is a major plus. I can decide what stays in my story and what goes. If I don’t like a cover, I won’t use it. If I need more time on a project, I take it. Then again, the same things I love controlling can hurt me when I don’t fully grasp what’s best for the market. If I were traditionally published I’d have guidance in these areas, so it’s a tradeoff. I’d like to think I’d have more time to write if I were traditionally published. Hanging out on Social Media is outside of my comfort zone, and yet I do it often. But honestly, in today’s publishing climate, in order to get noticed, I’d probably have to put the same amount of time into the social aspect if I were traditionally published as I do now.

Looking back would you do anything differently?
Yes, without a doubt. Had to do it all over again I would have waited until one series was completed before releasing any off the books. That way each book in the series could roll out one right after the other or all come out at the same time. Had I done that, I probably would have spent more time and effort on marketing the initial release. To date I haven’t done a lot of marketing. It’s not my strong suit.

What lessons have you learned?
There is so much to learn when self-publishing and I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the process. Some: costly, some: massive time-wasters. But in the end, the work has come together. The one thing I’ve learned and hold true as my golden rule: Don’t put anything less than your best forward. Personally, I run my work through multiple editors and at least one additional professional proofreader. I research choices before making a move and I ask a lot of questions. The thing about self-publishing, there’s room for learning and mistakes, and everyone’s path will vary. Don’t try to duplicate another’s success, carve your own and then see things through.

Any advice for those about to go down your path?
Frustration is inevitable. Don’t lose heart. Anything worthwhile is a challenge. Get involved, get educated, get connected, and follow writer and publishing blogs. Ask questions and then research those questions and answers. Free advice isn’t always the best advice so be willing to do some ground work to support your findings. In general, authors are a rather supportive group. Step in and get to know us.

Can you provide names and/or contacts for the following?

Formatter: Book Cover Corner
Cover Designer: Adara Rosalie, Book Cover Corner, Vila Design
Promotion and/or marketing: The Fussy Librarian, eBooksHabit, StoryFinds, BookBub, FreeBooksy, Hotzippy, eBookLister, to name a few.
Blog Tour Organizer, etc.: YA Bound Book Tours, BookRhythm, Promotional Book Tours
Other: Choosy Bookworm

Ana's world is falling apart. What she thought were dreams start entering her waking life. Eerie shadows hunt her. Her dream guy becomes reality. And strange new abilities begin developing. Ana is becoming something "other." She is determined to find answers, but where to turn? Her mom and best friend are keeping secrets. Her older sister is dead and exists only in her dreams. And her younger sister thinks they are goddesses.

Above all else, dark forces will stop at nothing to crush Ana - to keep her from restoring balance. To keep her from... "becoming."

Is love and blood and sisterhood enough to stop the dark secrets and power from destroying her?


  1. Don't lose heart is great advice! One to always remember in this rocky road that is sometimes publishing. =)

  2. Thanks Leandra. And thanks for having me on the blog today, Jessica!

  3. I think it's good that we learn by trial and error. The harder the lesson, the more likely we are to remember - and not make the same mistakes twice. So, while there might be some things you regret or would have done differently, you still did it right - and learned so much in the process. :)

  4. What is the difference between "Self-Publishing" and the vanity press publishers like, iUniverse, Archway and those who you pay to do all the work? Linda R

    1. Hey Linda,
      Great question! Feel free to email me with questions. Not sure that one can be summed up in a comment.