Road to Publishing: self-publishing, the writer, and the start up

Meeting Kelsye Nelson via Google Hangout had to be one of the funnest experiences I’ve had doing this blog so far. During our recent conversation, I learned so much from her and about the publishing world.  At the time she was eagerly waiting for her book, Smart Girl, Dumb Love,  to go live on Amazon and running her business,, which she co-owns.

What is Think of it as a one stop shop for writers interested in self-publishing — articles, editors, marketers, etc.

Here’s some of the things I learned:

  • The stigma of self-publishing is lessening. Writers want to give good quality products to readers and readers want it. Now that technology is easier and writers are getting more savvy (as are editors) it’s only a matter of putting the right resources at the right places to make your book close to or as polished as the traditional books.
  • When thinking about what avenue you want to use to publish, think about what do you want out of it? Just publishing to grow readers? Go for it.  Self-publish while writing that masterpiece. Go for it. Want to play in a different genre. Go for it. This opens up a world for the writer that wasn’t there before.
  •  Think of this as a business: platform, launch team, marketing plan, etc.  Get use to the idea that it goes beyond the words on the page.  “A lot of the rules for writers are the same for a start up,” Kelsye said.
  • Don’t wait until it’s perfect, just start. You’ll learn along the way. This was when my mind was blown!

I loved, loved this interview and I’m super interested in learning and using Kelsye’s spreadsheet system.  What were some of the lessons you learned from the video?


Some great writing links I saw this week


There were some great writing links floating around social media this past week. Ridiculously good. So good that it was difficult to chose which ones to include in this weeks round up. So, I just included all of them for your viewing pleasure.

Foreshadowing is one of those things that don’t come to writers as easily as you think they should. Here’s some advice from Joanna Penn’s amazing site.

Are you in the query process and are not quite sure what makes an agent say yes? Mediabistro has this great post on letter that have worked.

If you’re a working writer, you look at weekends with hope and depression. You hope for the best but get depressed by Sunday because you didn’t get to do as much as you could have. Here’s some thought on how to structure you weekends to be more productive.

“Write drunk. edit sober.” Did Hemingway mean this literally? This is what happened when someone tried to follow this advice.

What are the best writing apps for iPad? has a great list and some of these apps are FREE.

After the conversation with Kelsye Nelson from, I thought a check list on what to do the first 90 days of self-publishing was a great idea.

Writing is a verb and daily writing just makes you a better writer. Here’s the argument for that from Writing Forward.

What links did you see this week that you’d like to share? Put them in the comments below.

On Assignment: Publishing in a new world

Lloyd Francis
Lloyd Francis

Recently on my Facebook page, I asked my Facebook followers what’s the way to go — traditional, small press, or self-publishing?

It’s been a question I’ve asked myself for a long, long time as I get closer toward finishing the revision of my novel. Could it be too early to ask that question of myself? After all, I should be concentrating on the words on the page.

Yes, but knowing what I’d like to do will only help me determine how much MORE work I have to do — formatting, marketing, editing (finding one myself).

When I asked this question, one of my friends, Lloyd Francis chimed in. He just published his book, from Rum to Roots, and talked a bit about his experience through the self-publishing process and why he decided to go that way.  (He’s got some great reasons!)

We’ll be talking via Google Hangout this week about this topic and I suspect others.   I’ll put a post up soon after. Here’s a bit about him:

Lloyd was born in Oakland in 1961, a first-generation American child to Jamaican parents. As a child his trips to Jamaica in the 60’s and 70’s shaped who he became. Growing up in Hayward California he was steeped in the island tradition of reggae, Jamaican cuisine, and patois.

After studying engineering, Lloyd became a staff photographer for the San Jose Mercury News. He left newspapers to work for Yahoo Financial News Network and returned to journalism after 9-11. In 2001 Lloyd reported from Iraq for Newsweek Magazine, and went on to cover the war in Afghanistan. In 2004 he accepted a job with the Army Times Publishing Company and worked in Iraq intermittently for two years.

Currently he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.

So, what do you want to know about the self-publish processes? What do you want to know about his book? Let me know in the comments below.