Melissa Ohnoutka- Self Published And Lived To Tell About It Part 2

By: Stacey Purcell

I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  ~James Michener

Last week we took an in depth look at an author’s experience in self publishing and my head is still swimming. Melissa Ohnoutka graciously agreed to a follow-up series of questions. Couple these interviews with the last two posts of Jenn’s and you have a fairly good idea of what it takes to jump in with the big boys and put your material out there. It’s a brave new world for us-fraught with many woes and frustrations, but the pay off in satisfaction seems to be worth it all.


How did you go through the editing process? I know you worked hard on polishing, but did you have help from others to get it ready to publish? Did you hire anyone?

Melissa: The editing process on Faithful Deceptions extended over about the last four years. Heavy critiques, contest feedback, reader feedback and then several read throughs by others just for spelling and grammar. If I find a good editor, I’ll hire them for future books.


What specifically have you learned about marketing your book? You say you would have started earlier- how? Do you have plans before your next book or tie in short story is published? Twitter? Blog Tours? Etc.

Melissa: I’ve learned it’s a lot of work and very time consuming. If you don’t figure out a way to balance the marketing and the writing, you’ll get absolutely nothing done on either end.

As for starting earlier, I’m talking about social media. I would have joined every group I could find that dealt with books and made myself a regular contributor. The building of those trusting relationships, even if they are online with people you may never meet, is so important. These are your future readers and promoters.

Future plans….Working on trying to get a book launch set up this summer, but it’s still too early in the editsfor the next book to be thinking about blog tours, twitter, etc. I have formatting and book covers to work on next.


How did you decide on a price point?

Melissa: Again, I’ll have to say J.A. Konrath. He has done the research and I just followed along.

Did you really consider the type of fonts you were going to use or did they prescribe what you would have to use?

Melissa: I did a lot of research on what worked and what didn’t. Stick to the normal on this. Fancy fonts are hard to read and just not a good idea when dealing with formatting.


How did you decide on your cover? How did you create it?

Melissa: The cover was fun for me. I loved browsing through all the pictures, searching for the perfect fit. I got chills when it all came together. For the how, I used a combination of two programs. Photoshop and Printshop. If you haven’t used Photoshop before, I recommend taking tutorials now. This is not a “learn as you go” program.

What exactly have you done for marketing?

Melissa: Lots of blogging. Visiting Kindleboards, Nookboards, Bookblogs, facebook, twitter. Set up accounts with Goodreads, Shelfari, Bookbuzzar, Googlebooks. Requested reviews from review sites. Been a Guestblogger on several blogs. Printed postcards to hand out to those who purchase the ebook. I’m set to be a guest at several local book clubs hosted out of others homes as well. And my NWHRWA chapter here in Houston has set up a Grassroots Marketing Program. Each month there is an Author Spotlight. That author shares their information for promotion with the group and they spread the word through social media, word of mouth and blogs or any other idea they can come up with.

All this and I’m just getting started. LOL

“There is no requirement to register your copyright, which exists from the moment the work is created. Registration is a service provided by the Library of Congress as a means to record claims to copyright. If you ever have a dispute about your copyrighted work, your best evidence is going to be the registration you made, and the date it was entered, to show you are the originator of the work.” Did you know about this? Have you done this?

Melissa: Yes, and yes I’ve registered my books with the Library of Congress. It’s quite easy and can now be done online. I love that part! You definitely want to register your copyright, even though it isn’t required. Copyright registration will put the facts of your copyright into the public record.



Finally, if you had to do this over, would you do it yourself again or would you hire parts of it out for someone else to deal with?

 Melissa: Although this was a lot of work and the frustration was overwhelming at times, I would definitely do it over again, and again. I love being in control.


11 Responses to Melissa Ohnoutka- Self Published And Lived To Tell About It Part 2

  1. William says:

    Everything Melissa said, and more! In some ways, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought, in other ways there was a lot of “What was I THINKING?”. But, overall, it’s done and out there now, so we’ll see what happens next!


  2. john roundtree says:

    Book Business Twists In To New Shapes To Face Its First Digital Challenge.


  3. Thanks John! This was a terrific article. I hope everyone uses the link you provided because it’s an eye opener. Glad to see you back here at Muse Tracks- you’ve been missed like crazy!


  4. William has just published his first book under the name of Will Graham called Street Heat! Kudos for him surviving the gauntlet as well. Of course, he’s a technical guru so he had an upper hand!


  5. Tess says:

    Great follow up!!!!


  6. jbrayweber says:

    What a great follow up. Thank ytou Stacey. And Melissa. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are giving us a peek into what it takes to self-pub, and I greatly appreciate it.



  7. Thanks Tess! I have to tell you and Jenn that Melissa did all the work. She did grumble a bit when the long list of questions showed up in her in box! There’s just so much we don’t know. 🙂
    Welcome to the brave new world!


  8. Suzan H. says:

    You did a wonderful job, Melissa! Wishing you many sales!


  9. Missy DID do a good job letting me rummage in her brain. This is obviously a topic whose time has come and I will definitely try to address it in our chapter meetings as well.


  10. John Roundtree says:

    Sorry about the brevity, I was mobile at the time I posted that link. But thanks a ton –Stacey, Jenn, and Melissa– for publishing/blogging these articles/interviews! I’m a student here taking copious notes. You all Rock!


  11. Melissa says:

    Thanks again to all who stopped by and to Stacey for this great blogging opportunity. I’ve learned some new things as well. Keep writing and learning. That’s what it is all about! 🙂 No matter what path you decide to take, I wish everyone lots of luck and all the best!!


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