How I Made the Leap to Indie Publishing

My son, leaping between pillars in Clontarf, Ireland

I looked up the date on my receipt: August 20. That’s the day I signed up to attend Indie Recon, which will take place today and tomorrow in Salt Lake City. It is, according to a news article, the “only self-publishing-focused event of its kind held in North America.”

I’m not an Indie, I told myself, but maybe I will learn more about how to be one. Have the gumption to be one.

Fast forward six weeks later, and I have a novel, GHOST MOON NIGHT, about to go live on Amazon for print and e-book. I am waiting for my book proof to arrive so I can approve it and order a shipment for my book launch on October 29 and a book signing event with the Salt Lake Filipino community the following Saturday. Today, I will be attending Indie Recon not as an author looking into self-publishing, but as an almost-published Indie author wanting to learn how to be better.

At a certain point these past couple of months, I made the switch from hesitant, to get ‘er done, to owning it.

How did this all happen?!!


It all started with my daughter going on an LDS mission. She’s slated to leave in early November. I realized if I wanted her to come to my book signing (and even read the finished product), I should have a published book before then. And since my novel is spooky, what better time to launch it than around Halloween?

Up until a week ago, I didn’t think I’d make it this far. The past few weeks have been spent thus (approximate dates):

8/19 Recruit beta readers.
9/1 Edit my novel based on some beta reader feedback.
9/2 Got extensive editing notes from my talented author friends Amy Sandbak and Jonene Ficklin. Altered the protagonist dramatically. Rewrote several scenes. Upped the tension in fighting scenes.
9/20 Got more notes from Jonene. Edited. Rewrote. Double-checked with my formatter that I would be able to get book design done, uploaded, proofed and printed by Halloween. Announced on Facebook that I am launching the book October 29.
9/21 Got more editing notes. Improved a major plot point.
10/2  Edited and proofed.
10/6 Sent it to the formatter for a 2-day rush job. Made a few changes and approved the final. With the final page count, determined a print price. Registered my self-purchased ISBN and bar code.
10/7 Had my artist, Mikey Brooks, finalize the print cover and upload the document to Createspace.
10/8 Ordered proof copies.

When you think of tough jobs in the world, where you have to have the stamina to continue day in and day out, Author has got to rank way up there. There were literally times when I sat in my chair from sunup to past midnight editing my manuscript. Back aching. Letting my teenage kids fend for themselves. Getting kissed by my husband as he left for work and as he went to bed. Let the house go to pot.

Several times, I wanted to give up. I couldn’t see the point of continuing whenever I got the editing notes back. She loves the book but look at all these notes! I’m sure I cried a few times between edits. Considered postponing my launch. But then I knew that if I didn’t do it now, something else would get in the way and it would be harder to rev up the process again someday. So I took a deep breath, pulled myself out of my pity hole and shouldered through another round of edits the next day.

It helped that before I put my book on overdrive, I’d already completed some major steps: done major rewrites, had a cover designed, set up my FB author page and updated my website, arranged to have the formatting done. I’m sure the fact that I have helped clients publish their memoirs through Treasured Stories gave me the confidence I could do this for myself.

And I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many others. My husband, who quietly cared for our family. Jonene, who both encouraged me and made me work the hardest I’ve ever worked as a storyteller. My cover artist Mikey Brooks and formatter EM Tippetts who did everything in their power to get the proof out so quickly.

My life has settled a bit since last week. I am able to focus more on my memoir publishing business. My kids see me outside my office. I am getting more sleep. Has all this flurry of activity been worth it? I guess I may never know until people read the book and the reviews start coming in. But in terms of accomplishing my goal, I feel good that I have gotten it to this point. A lot of twists and turns and a learning curve so steep, but I am managing somehow, thanks to the generosity of so many who share what they know.
I read a lot of chatter on Facebook about “rules” we should follow in writing our novels, or waiting on agents to call. Those things used to worry me. Not anymore. I respect others’ choice to go the traditional route, but as an author who has been on that waiting end for the past decade, I have never felt more empowered. If I like a certain passage in my book, I can keep it. I don’t have to please anyone but myself. Well, my readers to a certain extent, and even then, they are not the driving force. I set my goal and worked my darnedest to achieve it. I’m going to Indie Recon to learn and celebrate as one of them.


I can’t wait to see my novel in my hand.

Jewel Allen is an award-winning journalist, author and ghostwriter. Her debut paranormal thriller novel GHOST MOON NIGHT will enthrall the world starting October 29, 2014. Follow her self-publishing journey at or on her Facebook author page.

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