When DIY Doesn’t Work: Guest Post by Anne Uemura, PhD

Does “DIY publishing” mean you do everything yourself? Anne Uemera thought it did—until she learned that publishing a book takes a team:

In August 2015, I started to write a book that I eventually published a year later. The project gained momentum in June 2016 when Jim Britt and Jim Lutes, who were creating the international bestselling series The Change, invited me to write a chapter for The Change: Insights into Self Empowerment. While focusing on and creating the content of the chapter with the inspired title Listen to the Cries of Your Heart, I realized I had a whole book to write.

Unlike many authors, I never had dreams of writing a book, and I knew little about how to do it. I didn’t know what an immense project it would be nor the time and effort it would take, and naively jumped in. My lifelong strategies of independence and self-reliance never allowed for any thought of doing it other than DIY, from writing to publishing.

Looking for Help on a Budget

My assumptions that I could do it myself were wrong. At first, the frequent comments and editing from friends led to clarification, more details, and better writing. I needed this test audience. Then when I had almost completed my first draft, someone suggested I get a professional editor. I obligingly looked online and asked for referrals from people I knew. I had little idea about what an editor could do for my book’s content and my writing. Completely innocent and clueless, I thought I could hire someone for $600.

Through an almost random process, I found a perfect editor for me: Candace Johnson.

I shot a quick email to her, and her quick response stopped all my efforts to look for others. Something told me she was the “right” one. When I talked about hiring her, my partner asked about her reviews. Oops, I should be a conscientious consumer and check her website. Her reviews were stellar. About six weeks later, she began a developmental edit of my current manuscript, and I started revising my full draft in response to her comments. This involved massive changes.

More editing passes and revisions resulted in an impressive eight-chapter book introducing to the world the Child-Heart Method of doing inner child work.unnamed

But Wait! What about Endorsements and Reviews?

No DIY here—you can’t provide your own endorsements and reviews. I quickly reached out to friends who had published in psychology and received very encouraging words (found today on the back cover). Imagine how thrilled I was to receive a glowing endorsement from from someone I had recently met—Jim Britt, author of thirteen bestselling books.

Surely I Could DIY the Book Interior … and the Index …

Then, still in the DIY mentality, I tried typesetting the manuscript for publication. After two and a half week of working long days and experiencing constant frustration, I learned that the book interior template I was using was corrupted, and I needed to start again. Not wanting to trust a template, I hired a freelance typesetter in Poland because he wrote in his cover letter that he loves books and wants them to be beautiful. The wonderful result? My interior pages are beautiful. (In fact, when I went to a local bookstore to put copies for sale on consignment, the shop owner said, “Good, it doesn’t look like most self-published books do.”)

Naively I researched how to DIY an index because I wanted the book available in libraries. I started creating an index but stopped when a well-reviewed indexer I had previously contacted had an unplanned availability, and a very affordable price. Compared to the poor concordance (it was not index) I had attempted, her index was superior.

Other wonderful synchronicities resulted in a dynamic beautiful piece of art created by my artist friend, Karen Nagano, which was used to create a captivating book cover by a freelance designer located in the Philippines. The book designer turned an okay book cover design to something everyone praises.

The reason I ended up with a stunning book cover and excellent content is because roadblocks forced me to give up my DIY mentality and move into the world of collaboration and connection with professionals. Having limited financial means, I thought I had no other choice but to do everything myself. Somehow the funds showed up, and now I know that the journey of Listen to the Cries of Your Heart is learning that more than my support alone sustained its birth and journey into the world.

The Morale of My DIY Story

Let others help, especially talented and experienced professionals. I shudder to think about how poor my book would be in appearance and content had my DIY plans not been derailed.

Let others help, especially talented and experienced professionals. #pubtip #selfpub #writers #authors Click To Tweet

As Malcolm Gladwell concludes in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, “No one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses—ever makes it alone.”

Anne Uemura, PhD, sees her life as a testimony to the riches of achievement through traditional means, including earning her MS in philosophy and a PhD in psychology. But more important, she is eager to tell you about how much more there is when you move to the out-of-the-box principles and concepts that eventually led her to write her groundbreaking book, Listen to the Cries of Your Heart: The Child-Heart Path to Your Inner Child, available in print and as an ebook. Anne offers individual coaching, workshops, classes, presentations, and monthly newsletters. Learn more at http://ListentotheCriesofYourHeart.com.

Thanks for sharing a glimpse behind the curtain, Anne!

Readers, have you had a similar experience? Please let us know in the comments


Candace Johnson
 is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.


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