Thursday, June 28, 2012

Karmafornia and the Mechanics of Self-Publishing by NC Weil

Today it's my pleasure to feature NC Weil, author of Karmafornia

NC's lifelong devotion to words - sound, sense and consonance - has equipped her to write novels and short stories, sonnets, song lyrics, and reviews of books and films. She loves art in many forms - viewable, wearable, edible, and especially, remarkable.

Welcome to my blog, NC.


Karmafornia and the Mechanics of Self-Publishing by NC Weil

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to contribute!

Agents don't think they can sell Counterculture Lit, so I finally published Karmafornia myself.

If you're considering self-publishing, here are some practical steps: start by registering your copyright at and, if you want, obtain a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN).

For a print edition, I wanted my hard work to make me proud, so I engaged Nita Congress of NJC Communications to do the interior design and layout. We selected fonts and decorative dingbats, and together we created a Style Sheet to standardize how certain words appear (e.g.: OK, film-can, coursework).

I bought a batch of ISBN numbers - print and e-editions need separate numbers. The price for 10 is not much more than the cost of 1, so buy 10 at Bowker.

Your cover is the most important design choice you'll make. Get it right - your cover will speak to readers - at the bookstore, online (title and author should be visible in a thumbnail), anywhere. I engaged Nick Zellinger of NZ Graphics to design Karmafornia. He created front, spine, and back, inserting the bar code box with ISBN and list price. I did my cover all at once, but ideally you should include reviews on the back. If you already have quotes from known sources, use them. Otherwise, do a short print run for review copies, and let your designer know you'll finish the back at a later date.

Lightning Source offered the best printing price, and since they won't deal with individuals, I created a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). It's pretty simple: first, check to see if the corporate name is not yet used. Once you're in the clear, BUY THE URL before you register anywhere (people buy up url names as soon as the entities are registered, so they can sell them to you) - I settled for FoolCourtPress.Net because I wouldn't pay extra for the .Com version.

OK, you're ready to register at to get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) - this is free and very simple. Then register in your state (mine is Colorado and costs $50), and your municipality as required - mine is Denver. Once you have these ID numbers, go to your bank and set up a business account.

For your first print order you may want a small run for review copies only - your book needs reviews. Let me say it again: YOU NEED REVIEWS. With reviews in hand, go back to your cover designer to add some good excerpts to your back cover below your "elevator speech" blurb.

 I sent a copy of Karmafornia to Publishers Weekly - if they publish the review it will cost you $149, but it's the best money you'll spend on your book - this magazine is "required reading" for booksellers, librarians, publishers - a review here will reach an important audience. Four times a year, Publishers Weekly includes PW Select, its self-published-book review section (PW Select published 18 full-length fiction reviews in the issue mine appeared in) - if your book makes it here, you can pat yourself on the back! I sent my book to them in July, and the review below appeared in October:

"In 1978, two young lovers leave Boulder, Colo., and head to Berkeley, Calif., where they struggle with life's messy problems and intrusions in this capable, well-developed look back at an edgy, bygone time. Arriving at the University of California, Berkeley, Laura - with free-spirited boyfriend Walt in tow - begins graduate studies in biology. It isn't long before she meets fellow student Cob, an irresistible fruitarian from Nebraska with whom Laura eventually has a passionate affair replete with unbelievable orgasms. But the relationship with Cob - and the sex - lacks love, and Walt is summoned to the rescue. This love triangle plays out against the background of the political and social upheaval of the time, with Weil referencing everything from the controversial Proposition 13 - which rolled back property taxes - to the mass suicide by cult members of Jim Jones's People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Weil ably captures the period, while convincingly delineating her characters." (p. 41, Publishers Weekly, Oct. 17, 2011) 

Good luck! NC


NC, thanks again for being here today. This is a lot of helpful information and great links packed into one blog post. Those authors considering self-publishing should find this very helpful.

You can find out more about NC and Karmafornia at her website, Fool Court Press, LLC, and her blog, aesthetic point.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting NC.

NC - Thanks for sharing the way self-publishing works. It's both really interesting and very helpful!

lizy-expat-writer said...

Interesting to see the differences between advice over there and in the UK.

NC Weil said...

This is all in the spirit of "not re-inventing the wheel" - if I stumbled a few times on the path to a published work, maybe I can spare you!

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's good to have a file folder with articles and blog posts like this one on hand ready and waiting for the moment we decide to self-publish, NC, and I think it's inevitable that most of us will do it at least once in our writing lives. Thanks for these helpful tips.

Grammy said...

Hi, I am currently writing a little story on my blog, and am considering publication of some kind. Wow! Everything I read about publishing sounds so complicated and overwhelming! Thanks for all the information. Best regards to you. Ruby

Lynn Proctor said...

very helpful!!

Susan said...

Fantastic post NC! This is a great resource. Thank you so much for sharing, and thank you to Pat for hosting!