Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Post with Ashley Stoyanoff: So, you're ready to self-publish your masterpiece

Today we're welcoming Ashley Stoyanoff, author of The Soul's Mark series, to Pure Jonel with her advice on self publishing.

Okay, you’ve created a story. You’ve spent countless hours at the computer breathing life into it and bleeding your soul into it, and now you’re ready to take the next step, publishing it. But … are you really ready? The truth is, probably not.

The first and probably most important thing to consider before making your masterpiece available in the marketplace is finding an editor. Did you know that in the traditional publishing world, most manuscripts are edited by a content editor, a copy editor, and then a proof reader? Not only that, but in between each round of edits, the author also reviews all the recommended changes, and at the very end, they will still find the odd errors.

Here’s an interesting Self-Publishing statistic: “Respondents who paid professionals for services like story-editing, copyediting and proofreading earned on average 13% more than those who didn’t.” - Published at (Click here to read the full article)

So, what will an editor do for you? Well, my editor completes two to three reviews of my manuscript before sending it back to me. In those reviews she fixes my spelling, grammar, reviews content issues, plotting, structure, and really, she points out anything that makes her scratch her head. When I get the file back, I approve her changes (or reject them) and complete a bunch of rewrites, and then I send it back to her for more rigorous editing. And I can tell you that since finding her, the reviews I've received have been much better.

The next thing to consider is hiring a professional cover designer. The cover of your book is your best marketing piece. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but we all do it. Most people won’t even bother reading the back blurb if the cover doesn’t spark their interest.
Here’s another interesting Self-Publishing statistic: “Hiring a professional cover designer earned them on average 18% more.” - Published at (Click here to read the full article)

Sounds great, right? More earnings in your pocket, and all you need to do is hire an editor and a cover designer. Well, here’s the thing… When you self-publish, these editing costs come out of your pocket before you make a single cent in royalties. But I can assure you, it is worth every penny, and it doesn’t have to be crazy expensive either.

Personally, I spent a fortune on my first editor, and surprise surprise, even after spending that fortune, I was still finding issues. I also tried to design my own covers, and well … that was a disaster. It took me awhile, but I did find a wonderful editor and cover designer who are very reasonably priced, and they both do a fantastic job. 

I know this all sounds expensive, but really, it doesn’t have to be. Here is a list of great sites that I like to use to find the professional I need to make my masterpieces marketplace ready.

Editing Services
This site can be used for pretty much any job you can think of. You can create a free account and post a job. Once your job is posted, you’ll have access to freelancers all over the world who will place bids, competing for the chance to work with you. This is great, because instead of you spending your time scouring the internet for an editor, you’ll get the editors coming to you. :) Make sure you ask for samples and for their credentials before hiring.

   Cover Design
I have used both these sites for covers. The covers for The Soul’s Mark books were all done by a freelancer from She provided me with unlimited revisions, searched for stock images, and put the covers together in just a few days. Also, I recently found ebook indie covers. You will find a bunch of pre-made covers for $40.00 each here. Melody also does custom covers. Her prices are very reasonable and she is a pleasure to work with.

Each of these sites are free to use. You’ll need to do your own ebook and paperback formatting but these sites do provide step by step instructions on how to do it.
But don’t forget, it doesn’t matter how awesome your masterpiece is, or how breathtaking your cover is, if nobody knows about it then they can’t buy it. So make sure to get out there and spread the word.

Black Lion Tours offers a wide range of blog tours. There is one there for every budget. To sum it all up … You’ve spent countless hours writing your story, so give it the love it deserves. Don’t sell yourself short. Spending a little money now, will help you in the long term.

Now, don't forget to enter the 2 amazing giveaways with Ashley Stoyanoff and The Soul's Mark: Broken.

The first is for participants in Canada & the US only.  Enter to win 1 papberback copy of The Soul's Mark:  Broken by Ashley Stoyanoff, coupled with a 'book cushion' (may not be exactly as pictured).

The second contest is open Internationally.  Enter to win one of 3 sets of The Soul's Mark series.  That's right, each of the 3 winners will win a copy of The Soul's Mark:  Found,  The Soul's Mark:  Hunted, and The Soul's Mark:  Broken.


  1. These were great ideas. Thanks Ashley for sharing!!!

  2. Thank you for hosting me today, Jonel. :)

    And good luck to everyone who has entered the giveaways!

  3. "Would you rather be a witch, vampire, or vampire hunter?"

    I'd rather be a vampire if they were not all bad. If they were I'd choose to be a witch. If witches were all bad too I'd be a vampire hunter! :P

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)