My Personal Path to Self-Publishing by Lisa Kentgen, Ph.D.

When it comes to publishing, deciding which route to take can be a challenge.

For the traditional route, once an author writes a book, they sign on with an agent or publishing house. The author shares a hefty percentage of the sales, in exchange for the agent doing everything involved in getting attention and sales.

A self-publisher keeps all the money — but does everything, including possible hiring of an editor and book designer, buying advertising, etc.

New York City psychologist, Lisa Kentgen, Ph.D., debuted, “An Intentional Life: Five Foundations of Authenticity and Purpose,” June 2018. Here how she went about it…

Cover of, "An Intentional Life" by Lisa Kentgen

Turning down a book contract was a painful decision. My book emphasizes listening to your internal voice. My voice told me I wouldn’t be happy signing a contract that didn’t feel mutual. The morning after making this decision the idea for my next book came to me. I then knew self-publishing was the right path.

Two things were clear. 1) I would create a publishing imprint to house this and future books. 2) I would be intimately part of the process.

Creating a publishing imprint meant establishing an LLC. Its mission is broad enough to cover other professional activities, like public speaking, so that my writing will be an essential part of my professional life.

Photo of author Lisa Kentgen by Todd Estrin Photography
Photo of author Lisa Kentgen by Todd Estrin Photography

There are reputable companies, like Girl Friday Productions, that help authors from concept to final production. I believe they quoted me $16,000. I chose not to go with this sort of company because I had a manuscript that already was far along and, also, it means not taking the lead in creating my team. Establishing my team meant spending hours finding a top quality editor, cover designer, and interior designer.

I was fortunate enough to find a developmental editor who is the vice president of a publishing company. She had me reduce my manuscript by 30%. She told me that while I don’t like telling people what to do (I am a psychologist) – as a writer I needed to be more directive. After a major edit, I hired another editor to polish the final manuscript.

For book design, I chose Reedsy, an online company that has wonderful professionals for hire. Inexpensive cover designs cost around $500. For an experienced, artistic designer it is closer to $1000. My cover designer was so good that I persuaded him to do my interior design which cost about $2000.

I learned the hard way that what makes for a beautiful physical book creates complications for the ebook. (Suggestion: Make a copy of the interior before getting fancy!) Creating the ebook to look like the physical copy proved difficult. I had no way to assess the actual skill level of designers. The first person misrepresented their experience, and I paid $450 for something I couldn’t use. The next person charged $500 and what I wanted took more time than estimated–so we negotiated a higher price.

My experience creating the audiobook with Brickshop Audio in Brooklyn was a pleasure. The audiobook, with production help, costs $250 per finished hour. My 55,000-word book (on ACX) cost $1650.

I recommend my path to authors who enjoy creating a business and who have the time and desire to address countless creative details. It means a lot more work upfront, but having finished products closer to your vision. I am excited to take what I have learned to new ventures!

Quote by Lisa Kentgen: Living with intention you understand that your interests are intimately bound to the well-being of others.

What do you think of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

Guest Blog Post: “An Accomplishment” by Robert

Man and Dogs Playing Cards by Ryan McGuire of Gratisography
Thanks much, Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Too many days, I lie awake at night worrying that I didn’t get enough done. How about you? If you’re like me, RobertLovesPi is here to reassure us that it’s all good…

RobertLovesPi.net

accomplishment

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Guest Blog Post: “Water: Miracle Drink,” in Amna’s exact words

2 fish kissing
Thank you Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Simple solutions are elegant and often the most efficient when it comes to so many things! Here’s Amna’s secret to good health…

Guest Blog Post: “3 Tips on How to Expand Your Hobby into a Career,” in Julie Morris’ exact words

The first step toward a dream can be the hardest. Blogger Julie Morris is also a career and life coach. Here’s her advice for turning a passion into profit…

Photo of small plant being potted
Pixabay: rawpixel

Whether you want to start a side gig to earn extra money or want to start a full-fledged business, you need to know that not everyone is cut out to be their own boss. While it sounds like a great idea to set your hours, work for yourself and not answer to anyone else, starting a business is quite an undertaking. You need to be sure that you have the right characteristics for owning a business and that your products or services are marketable and can turn a profit. 

1. Ensure You Have What It Takes to Start a Business

Running your own business is anything but easy. You’ll face financial and professional challenges, make decisions at a moment’s notice, handle customer complaints and poor reviews and manage your taxes and expenses. To determine whether you’re cut out to start a business, Plexus has identified the several signs that you were born to be the boss. If you don’t have all those qualities, never fear. You just need to know where there may be gaps in what you’re capable of so that you can hire others to help fill them.

Photo of photographer
Pixabay: Tama66

3. Understand Your Tax Responsibilities

It can be so exhilarating to start your own business that you can forget your tax responsibilities. Plus, the government needs to see that your hobby counts as a legitimate business in order for it to be classified as such. The difference between a hobby and a business affects your taxes quite significantly, so make sure when you leap into business ownership that you have solid records and are doing all you can to fit the business mold.

photo of someone drawing a cartoon business plan
Pixabay: rawpixel

It’s take a lot to turn your hobby into a livelihood, but with the right planning and strategy it really is possible. With a little extra elbow grease and tenacity, you could change your life.

About the author of this post: Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts.

Guest Blog Post: “How to Be All Classy and Shit,” in DGGYST’s exact words

Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

What’s classy to you? Here’s how ‘Damn, Girl Get Your Shit Together: Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong’ defines it…

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

I have been thinking a lot about class lately. My thirtieth birthday is right around the corner and I have really been trying to hone my style. I’ve always been horrified by my mother’s butterfly bedazzled bell bottoms and the ever presence of “big gulps, tractors, and pink camo” in my sordid memory bank. But what makes someone classy? The internet has nearly convinced me that the whole of classiness is kept in the human cuticles and if they aren’t on point, I should just hang myself with a length of the Confederate flag while standing on a crate of Pabst.

Not one to believe everything the internet tells me, I thought about real life. Who was the classiest person I know?

For me, that person is my dear friend Betty. Betty is a landscaper and ironically has the most mangled cuticles I have ever seen. When she comes by…

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Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…

Snuggle Dogs by da-AL

Our best friends are those who cheer us through our ups and cheer us up through our downs.

Mr. Gentleman Dog is aging. Growing older is a gift, but it extracts a price. For some of us, the cost is higher than for others.

In Mr. Gentleman Dog’s case, arthritis is wearing away his hips. And his kidneys don’t work as well. Rather than soil stuff, several times a night he rouses himself to ask to go out into the cold and pee.

But every day, he still has plenty of moments that he enjoys. He still loves treats, short walks, and cuddles.

And he loves the warmth of friendship…

Guest Blog Post: “My Life: Kuala Lumpur vs Singapore” in Kally’s exact words

Singapore Night View

Kally’s blog features excellent professional advice serves everyone anywhere.

Overview of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Here she writes about the contrasts between her old home vs. her new home…

MiddleMe

I have relocated from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur for almost 2 years now. From a small cosmopolitan country Singapore to a major city Shanghai and a buzzing world in Kuala Lumpur. For the past 4 years, it has been nothing short of an adventure.

One thing that my friends love to ask me is what is life like between Malaysia and Singapore, what is the difference. Yes, I do get that question all the time. I mean besides the exchange rates at the current SGD$1 is to RM3. There is a vast difference between the two countries even though they shared a long history and are neighbours.

U9109P1274DT20121226202058.png Singapore Night View

People
One major draw to me living in Kuala Lumpur is the local population here. I’m a Singaporean, and I love my fellow countrymen, but local Malaysian folks are just too friendly to ignore. I thought I would have a…

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How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL

The good vet kept my little friend warm, wrapped in a special heating pad…

This week I’ve been looking after a friend’s two elderly cats. While one shows her age only by her lack of teeth, the one in this photo was thin and slow.

A couple of nights ago, this little guy was listless. My husband and I massaged him, got him to drink some broth, turned up the room’s thermostat, and made sure he was comfy on his pillow throughout the night.

The next morning he was back to looking awful.

A couple of months earlier he’d appeared to be on the brink of death, yet pulled through. Now, given how he’d perked up somewhat the night before, I took him to the vet optimistic that some intravenous fluids might perk him up.

Unfortunately, the vet affirmed that there was remote hope that the kitty had any more good days allotted to him, probably not a single day left without constant pain and nausea.

Of the few pets I’ve had, I’ve never had to decide whether to euthanize them.

In the case of this sweet boy, my friend decided. I did, however, decide whether to be with the kitty when the final injection was administered. The vet’s caveat was that the cat wouldn’t care either way. Given that, he suggested that if I stayed, I might always remember the cat at his worst.

After considerable deliberation, I opted not to be there.

Have you had to make such a decision? If so, how and what did you choose?

Do’s and don’ts for if your friend has lost a pet.

Here and here are professional links about pet euthanasia.

Guest Blog Post: “A Wish List for a Better Life,” in Julie Morris’ exact words

Is New Year’s when you resolve to improve your life? A life and career coach, as well as a blogger, Julie Morris recommends we start this very minute…

Photo looking down neck of a guitar
Image via Pixabay

We all want to be happier, smarter, healthier… better, right? Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little self-improvement.  But there’s no rule out there that says you can’t have fun while doing it. This holiday season, why not make your wish list a little brighter with some ideas for gifts that facilitate a better life? Your list may even inspire your friends and loved ones to do a little self-improvement themselves.

If you want to face your fears…

Ask for a gift that confronts them! For instance, if you are afraid of heights, membership to a rock climbing gym is a great idea. Rock climbing allows you to become comfortable with heights while being safely strapped in with gear. You get to go at your own pace and work towards the highest points. Best of all, it’s a pretty great workout that builds strength in your arms, legs, and core. Facing your fears AND fitness… it doesn’t get much more self-improved than that.

If you want to pick up a new skill…

If you are looking to pick up a new skill, why not add more music to your life and learn to play a stringed instrument? Playing the guitar can boost your brain power, reduce stress, alleviate pain, promote heart health, establish bonds and relationships… not to mention it’s just plain fun!

For those who have trouble playing the guitar because of smaller hands, the ukulele is just as good an option! It’s fun, simple, and quirky. Plus, even the best ukulele on the market is an affordable option.

If you want to increase your self-esteem…

If you could use a little boost of self-esteem, try picking up meditation to improve your mindfulness in your day-to-day life. While technically you don’t need anything to meditate– only a quiet spot and a few minutes– meditation classes can really help deepen the practice both for novices and the experienced transcendentalist.

You can find meditation classes at a local yoga studio if you think you may benefit from a group setting. However, there are several awesome meditation apps that can help you expand your practice from your own home. A membership to one of these is only about $10 a month, so it’s an affordable gift option for your family.

If you want more discipline…

If you find yourself constantly playing catch-up or goofing off, you may find some self-improvement in discipline. A fun day planner can help you stay on track and get what you need done. In your planner, you can craft your to-do lists, block out task time, and get a more realistic view of your weeks so you can handle them better.

If you want to be more charitable…

Ask for a charitable donation.  It’s the easiest gift to ask for from friends and family… they don’t even have to wrap anything! Pick a cause that is near and dear to your heart and let your family and friends know in lieu of a gift, you’d like them to make a charitable contribution. It’s a gift that’s better than socks, but will still make you feel warm and fuzzy. Check out these top-rated charities that could use a donation from you!

***

If you want to improve your life, there’s no better time to start than the present (get it?). Making your wish list with self-improvement in mind doesn’t have to be dry. All it takes is a creative approach and a little personalization. For instance, if you want to face your fears, ask for an activity that facilitates such a thing like rock climbing as a way to combat a fear of heights. If you want to pick up a new skill like playing guitar, lessons are a fun and easy gift to ask for. Meditation is a great way to boost your self-esteem and your friends and family can easily buy you at-home lessons through popular apps. If you’re looking to add more discipline in the new year, a day planner can help you achieve just that. Finally, if you want to be a more giving person, asking for charitable donations in lieu of a gift is a classic idea that never goes out of style.

Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. Find out more about her at juliemorris.org. Here and here are some of her other posts for Happiness Between Tails.