Finding Confidence in Self-Publishing

Crys documents their experience with self-publishing.

By Crys Sherman

Publishing a book is hard. There is the initial drafting, the writing, constant editing, working with an editor, etc. A lot goes into finally placing a book out into the world and saying, “Here it is, come read this please!”

I entered into writing at about 12 years old. I used poetry and short stories to cope with things happening in my life that I couldn’t quite talk to anyone about or did not understand fully yet. It helped a lot! I continued – and still continue – to write for the next 15 years. It took a very long time for me to have any confidence about sharing my work, let alone even thinking it could ever be placed on sale for the world to read it at their own free will. Close friends inspired me to publish my work and put it out there with their reactions and support every time I shared something I wrote with them.

So, I finally started the process of publishing my work in December 2021. Discovering Sunshine was released on December 20th, 2021 using Barnes & Noble Press services.

Getting all the writing together was honestly the hardest part, out of everything. Deciding which poems I wanted out in the open for everyone to read, analyze, and share was a process that had me stressed for days. My main thought being, “Is anything good enough?” This, of course, was the imposter syndrome talking, and I got over it after some more diligent and enthusiastic encouragement from my friends. It still took some time, but I gathered up about 20% of my work from December 2020 to December 2021 and decided to go with those. My most raw writing happened during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and I felt the need to share that specifically, this open part of me. It felt all the more realistic and human.

After figuring out which poems to put in my book, the next task was arranging and editing it all. Not that bad, if I do say so myself! It took some Googling for standards, finding a font that would be easy for dyslexic people to read and understand, while still keeping the aesthetic I was looking for, getting an editor (or five… love you all dearly!) to look over the manuscript for typos or other errors – things like that. The font was one of the hardest decisions for me, as I love typewriting fonts, but they are not always accessible to everyone, especially people with dyslexia. So, I sampled some fonts and had a couple friends (who themselves have dyslexia) go through and narrow down my choices with me. I’m very happy with the font we came up with, “Courier New.” It may not seem important, but that one choice made my book accessible for so many more people than it originally would have been, while still keeping my creativity in play. That was very important to me.

Once the actual book is written, edited, and ready to go, that’s where the fun part comes in: publishing it officially. I decided to use Barnes & Noble Press, the free self-publishing service Barnes & Noble has online. It allowed me to walk through the simple steps of uploading the manuscript, covers, my information – and voila! Book all done! They made it super easy to self-publish and place Discovering Sunshine on sale in quick, simplistic, easy-to-understand steps that even I could follow along with and get done.

It took about three days for my book to get approved, but then it was right there in the Barnes & Noble webstore and on the Nook application, ready to be purchased and read.

The most daunting thing about writing a book for the first time was my own self-conscious mind and the things I would say to hold myself back. I lacked confidence and self-reliability for a long time, even though this was a big dream of mine. To anyone who is thinking of writing and publishing their own work, I have one thing to say:

Do not hold your own self back.

Once I finally had my work out there for all to see, the pride that hit me was phenomenal. I can’t ever find the words to describe the complete and utter bliss that washed through me, it’s impossible to explain. You are the only thing that can truly stop you from achieving this kind of goal. Beat those insecurities back and let self-confidence push into the forefront. Stand proud of your efforts and work hard – trust me, it will show in the final product. Writing and publishing my very own book of poetry was an exhilarating experience I cannot recommend enough to anyone passionate about writing. Putting my own creation out into the world for people to see, discover, and enjoy has lit up my inspiration and gotten me writing even more, and I am so grateful for that.

Publishing was as easy as googling some things, following a few prompted directions, and then BAM! – I was all done.

You really can do anything you set your mind to.

Discovering Sunshine by Crys Sherman can be found here at Barnes & Noble, on Nook devices, and on the free Nook applications for Windows, IOS, and Android devices.

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