In Being Latina, Career

A Guide to Self-Publishing: 6 Takeaways From the #WeAreLatinaAuthors Event

By Zaida Diaz

You’ve got a great book idea, but don’t know where to start. We gotchu boo. Last week we met four Latina authors at Pico Library’s Self-Publishing Panel Discussion and here’s what we learned:

Authors Natalie Torres-Haddad, Maritere R. Bellas, Elva Alicia Leon and Yahaira Florentino (left to right).

1. Have a PURPOSE.

Ask yourself why sharing this particular story or message is important. Sounds pretty obvious right? But sometimes we can lose sight of our objective when the writing process gets difficult or when we face other obstacles along the way.

Having a purpose behind my book is what kept me going on days that I wanted to give up. – Elva Alicia Leon, author of “Saving Me”

2. Create a vision board.

You may want to pull out that pack of colorful Post-its sitting in the back of your drawer . . . cause your gonna need them. Having a visual representation of your book plans can help keep you motivated. For example, you’ll want to pen some inspirational quotes, goals for your book, or ideas that pop into your head in the middle of the night. Don’t forget to paste images that inspire or make you feel something (they might even help guide the aesthetic of your book cover).

3. Pinpoint when you’re most efficient.

Balancing your job, school, or other activities can be a lot, so you’ll want to figure out what day of the week (depending on your busy schedule) works best for you. After that, Yahaira Florentino, author of “La Salud Que Te Conviene,” recommends that you identify what time of day you’re most creative — that’s when you type your hands off!

4. What are you waiting for? Start writing!

I get it; the writing process can be overwhelming. Here are some tips from author/blogger Maritere R. Bellas:

  • Write an outline (briefly covering your main points). This will help to organize your thoughts.
  • Write three chapters.
  • Read the chapters out loud to yourself and make any necessary edits. Repeat as you develop the rest of your first draft.

5. Invest in an editorial & design team.

Once you have a finished draft, you’ll need another set of eyes to look at your work to identify errors and provide you with overall feedback. So be ready to get ripped apart. Just kidding . . . kind of. Keep in mind that even the best of writers have an editorial team, so just be open to suggestions.

Now, what exactly does an editorial team look like? Lets break it down:

  • Beta Reader(s) – should be well-versed in your genre and ideally represent your target audience (they’ll provide an honest reaction)
  • Editor – can help structure your manuscript and make copy edits
  • Proofreader – will correct any last spelling errors and grammatical mistakes before publication

After your manuscript is free of errors, work with your design team to create an eye-catching book cover.

6. Market like CRAZY!

The biggest advantages to self-publishing are that you have much more creative control and it’s a speedier process. – Natalie Torres-Haddad, author of “Financially Savvy in 20 Minutes”

The downside is that you’ll have to invest much of your time and energy to marketing your book.

Despite you’re books subject matter, the tips listed above will come in handy if you’re planning to self-publish. The ladies from last week’s panel discussion recommend working with organizations like CreatSpace in order to help you with the last three steps.

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