Sell Books Online Now!

Self-Published Author Gretchen Hirsch Reveals Tips to jexbo's Jill Exler

In today’s interview, we talk to the author “Back Again to Me,” Gretchen Hirsch. Here are Gretchen’s tips:

Tell us about your self-published book.

My book is titled Back Again to Me, and it is available from While the plot centers on a pregnant teen who is making the adoption decision, the book is largely about women's relationships as mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Although I had six books of non-fiction published traditionally, the advice I was getting from agents and editors about this novel, while good, was all over the map, and frequently the experts' opinions were diametrically opposed to one another. I decided it would be quicker and more fun to do it myself.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?

The process was baby-simple, but, of course, there was a cost.

How did you overcome that challenge?

I saved up the money from other writing work and invested it in myself.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book and why?

I enjoyed having complete control over the process and making my own decisions about the cover, the typeface, and everything else related to the work. The worst part was finding errors after it was printed, even though I had gone through three rounds of proof. They aren't terrible errors, but they're noticeable to me. I should have taken up a friend's offer to proofread one more time for me instead of getting in a hurry and doing it myself.

What resources do you recommend to new authors?

Other people's books on the craft of writing. As I've attended writers' conferences, I've been struck by how much time people spend trying to get agents before they have mastered the skills of telling a good story or organizing non-fiction material effectively. As a book doctor/independent editor, I see many, many manuscripts that are full of misspellings, awkward construction, and sketchy research, so I recommend that people spend a lot of time learning the rules. I think Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and Stephen King's On Writing are wonderful books about craft and the writer's life.

What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?

Read the contract. Take only the parts of the publishing "package" that you need and want. Don't buy the "marketing" services. They usually consist of bookmarks, postcards, and other useless material, and if you want those things, you can create them much less expensively yourself. Be prepared to promote relentlessly. Every day. You aren't going to get reviewed, so you have to create your own word-of-mouth, and you can't do that if you don't try every avenue for promotion.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Be invested in your own success, but don't expect your self-published book to be a best-seller. If lightning strikes, that's wonderful, but very rare. Set your sights realistically and have fun.

Thanks for your honest tips Gretchen. To learn more about Gretchen, visit

And if you have questions about self-publishing, or want your book featured on this blog, please write to me here or at I’d love to hear from you! Thanks.