From Writer to Writer: Susan Ross on Self-Publishing

Susan RossMeet Susan Ross

I am a self-published children’s author with 4 books: The Great Bellybutton Cover-up, Say Please to the Honeybees, The Kit Kat Caper, and The Rose & the Lily. I published my first book in 2008. Three of my books were created while I was a storyteller.

Fifteen years or so ago, I started writing my stories down after a woman said I should write them for my (as yet non-existent) grandchildren. I sent one book out to traditional publishers. After a few rejections—in defense of the editors I did change the book considerably before publishing it—and frustrations with the typewriter, I ended up shoving my manuscripts in the closet.

Years later I saw The Bucket List. That movie, combined with the new technology of computers, prompted me to start writing again, and now the rest is history. What I like about self-publishing is that it’s the fastest route to publication, and it lets me have total control.

All books combined, I’ve sold around 5,000 copies, mostly of The Great Bellybutton Cover-up.

Susan’s Self-Publishing Tips

  • I read my manuscripts to hundreds of children and make tons of revisions before publishing. I also hire an art student to do  illustrations and hire a professional for feedback on the manuscript.
  • If you have the means and the time to promote your book, self-publish. One of the best means of self-promotion is through the use of promotional products. Companies like Quality Logo Products, Inc. offer a wide variety of different promotional items to help you promote your brand. Another option is to get a print-on-demand (POD) company so you don’t have to lay out a ton of money (like I did). For a small investment ($300 not including art, layout, professional editing) you can get your books on and buy some to sell on your own. You won’t make as much money, but you won’t have as many headaches either.
  • Before you go this route, however, you need input from your target audience. This does NOT include family and friends. Make sure your book is as good as you think it is before you invest your time and money. (I had to scrap one book because what I thought was funny kids thought was mean. Live and learn!)
  • If you have not written multiple drafts/revisions, odds are your work is not ready for the public.

 Connect With Susan

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog


0 thoughts on “From Writer to Writer: Susan Ross on Self-Publishing

  1. Sjhigbee says:

    Thank you for sharing your hardwon experience here, Susan.  This week is turning into a Red Letter Event, thanks to Emily and folks like you who are so willing to give the rest of us the benefit of what you have learnt by getting out there and doing it…

  2. Lisa Nicholson says:

    I like your suggestions on input on a target audience (and that doesn’t mean family and friends!)  So true we need to hear real feedback so we are achieving the results we need to in order to succeed. 

    • Susan Ross says:

      I wrote a story about the illustrator and I. We thought it was hilarious. Read it to the children and they thought it was mean. Kept the title and tossed the rest. You never know how children will respond.

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