By Betty Boyd
Nancy Colasurdo is a blogger, author, and life coach. Her journalism career spans 30 years and her work has been featured in or on Fox Business, CNBC, Fortune and Ladies Home Journal. Her recently published memoir is called Alive in the Sunshine.
- Why did you decide to self-publish your own book?
As a journalist for over 25 years, I had a preconceived idea about how the publishing process should go – write the book, get an agent, land a book deal, celebrate. Well, I’ve learned how old school that is. It took me over a year to get an agent, which is not uncommon. Then I signed a two-year contract with her. While we had interest from publishers based on the merits of the book, ultimately they didn’t sign me because I didn’t have enough of a “platform.” I am not one to buy fake followers on social media; it’s not my style.
In the process, I had had the book professionally edited. I’d thought about self-publishing, but was stopped by the idea that I’d never be able to create a book that met my own high standards – how it would look, how it would feel in my hands. I’ve seen a number of self-published books that are of inferior quality and I was nervous about that.
However, because I am a trained life coach, I asked myself what I would advise a client to do. The answer is this: try. Do your research, pick a route, and give it a whirl. I asked a local artist whose work I love to design my cover. Then I created an e-book and it felt great. So empowering. Because I was emboldened by that triumph, I decided to try creating a paperback myself as well. I was more than pleased with the result – a memoir called Alive in the Sunshine.
- What was most difficult in self-publishing your book?
The most difficult part about it was teaching myself to navigate the process – the cover template, how to create page breaks, etc. I had this manuscript that I needed to birth and I had to continually remind myself to be patient when I became perplexed. I almost gave up a few times.
- What was the most enjoyable? The least enjoyable?
The most enjoyable part of self-publishing was getting the very first proof in the mail. When I held the paperback in my hands, felt the quality of the cover and the pages, saw how beautifully the colors translated from template to proof, and realized how many little decisions I had made to create this book, I was in awe. So proud.
The least enjoyable part was correcting little mistakes along the way, then uploading the manuscript. Correcting more, then uploading again. Getting it just right required I do this dozens of times before getting it to where I wanted it to be. It was ultimately very satisfying, but definitely the least enjoyable part.
- What tips can you give writers who want to pursue self-publishing?
Do it! If you decide to create a physical book in addition to an e-book, do some research. Not just on the self-publishing process or which outlet to use, but on what appeals to you in other books. Pluck books off your shelf and see what you feel strongly about.
Maybe you love or hate glossy covers. Perhaps white pages are a bit too bright or off-white ones are too dull. Do you like page numbers on the top or bottom? Centered or flush right? These are all decisions you’ll have to make in creating your book.
I’m not going to lie. It can get tedious. But the rewards and satisfaction far outweigh the moments of doubt.
- What other advice would you like to give?
Engage a few trusted friends in your process. In my case, I had a friend who sensed I needed an extra dose of encouragement and he would dash off an email asking about my book progress a few times a week. When I got hung up on one particular aspect of doing it, he came over and sat with me while I figured it out.
Another friend with a great eye helped me choose the color I used for my spine and back cover. I’d narrowed it down to three and she came by and gave her opinion. We liked the same one, so that was quite validating.
Yet another friend assisted me in getting the cover image to line up perfectly.
I highly recommend tapping into your support system. It’s invaluable. I would caution, though, not to enlist too many people in the process. Be judicious.
About Nancy’s Book:
Nancy Colasurdo’s memoir, covering a decade of self-reflection and change, begins with the staggering effects of 9/11 and her subsequent layoff as a television producer. Her well-ordered life falls apart completely as she struggles to find her way, continually questioning and seeking a life beyond that of the conventional Italian-American Jersey girl she was raised to be. She finds a new profession in life coaching, divorces the Catholic Church in the wake of the priest scandal, and seeks love, often with devastating results. Eventually she attracts a man who shows her capacity for love, opening her up even further.
Writing Prompt: What would make you want to indie publish your book?