Being a Self-Published Author

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Not that I never tried to become a published author in the traditional sense, but I’m too impatient to wait for something I can do myself. After all, I self-published my first short story in book form when I was fourteen. Ten years later, I self-published my own comic book. By the time I was forty-four, I’d self-published more than twenty of my books in between juggling my art career and raising my family.

Writing stories is fun and sometimes easy to do. Editing, not as much. Self-publishing, however, is long, hard, tiresome, and daunting work. There is no uncomplicated way to do it all and produce a topnotch product. Even authoring a short story can take several months to produce. My hat is off to those authors who do it all and make it look easy. I strive to be one of them someday.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on getting the series of my Green Crystal short stories onto the bookshelves at Amazon. The books are part of a rural fantasy series set in a town called Ridgewood where lightning strikes teenager, Vree Erickson, and changes her life and the lives of those closest to her.

The series is based on six short story e-books I published in 2013 at Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service (KDP) under the Fantasy/Science Fiction heading. I wrote the series as Steven L Campbell. The books featured young adult (YA) characters Vree Erickson, Lenny Stevens, and Dave and Amy Evans. I took the books off market at Amazon in 2016 and began fixing plot holes and rewriting them in 2019. I halted the project in 2020, then started anew the following year. Among the major changes I made, I renamed Lenny and Amy to Lenny and Leona Avery and made them twin siblings, cut Dave’s character altogether, experimented with new situations, and created two main characters for the series: a villain known as a Trickster, and a mentor and helper character named Mom Treefell. I also changed some of the titles and created new cover art.

The series follows Vree and begins when lightning strikes her and causes her to see supernatural beings and events. She also learns that she has a brain tumor. All this changes her life, of course, and leads her onto a path of magic, deception, and a struggle against antagonistic forces—both internally and externally.

It’s a fun series to work on, and I’ve been busy hammering out the events of Book 3 like a grinning madman to get the book finished and onto Amazon’s bookshelves. Like I said, self-publishing is a long, hard road to travel. Sometimes I wish a major publishing company owned me and did all the cover art, editing, and page formatting for me, but that’s a pipedream, especially in today’s floundering book publishing marketplace. Besides, when it’s done, I can say I did it my way, no matter the struggles and setbacks that occurred and the tiny errors that made it into the final product.

No one’s perfect, but I must admit my art and design for the covers have improved, even in simplicity. Here’s a look at Book 3’s cover:

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The 10th Anniversary cover for Book 3. Copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

Before I get back to working on my story, I want to share a bit of advice on taking advice from beta readers and other writers. When I’m writing a story—even if it’s in its fifth draft (if I go that far), I share it with no one. I don’t want anyone’s opinion about all the plot holes and problems in it until I’m done and satisfied that I’ve given my story all I can. Then I hand it over to be critiqued. And sometimes, I ignore some, if not most, of the advice I get. Not to be stubborn or presumptuous, but sometimes I trust my own feelings over those of others, especially if changes are going to topple the plot’s structure like a house of cards.

The biggest plot toppling changes are usually suggested by writers and readers who don’t understand the enormity of fiction. In the type of fiction I write, anything goes. It isn’t realistic (despite the realistic elements in it) and it’s not meant to be. James Patterson said it well: “I don’t do realism. Sometimes people will mention that something I’ve written doesn’t seem realistic and I always picture them looking at a Chagall and thinking the same thing. You can say, ‘I don’t like what you do, or I don’t like Chagall, or I don’t like Picasso’ but saying that these things are not realistic is irrelevant.”

Another critique problem I have is someone pointing out unfinished clauses and sentence fragments in my stories. Fantasy fiction is full of both. Sometimes those authors even use a preposition to end a sentence with. And so do I.

One last bit of cautionary advice (if you’ve kept with me) is: I don’t let anyone change my story with silly rules. If you’re a writer of fiction, you’ll recognize this one: Eliminate all those adverbs and adjectives!

Really? All of them?

I think not.

Same with deleting every example of that nasty word “was” and not using the word “said” so much. I try to do the latter, but I don’t freak when I see it used in a paragraph that immediately followed a paragraph that already used it.

Rules make sense to a point. It’s up to the author to figure out which ones work best for them.

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading.

As always, peace and love to all my readers.

Steve, 1/23/2023

This post “Being a Self-Published Author” copyright © 2023 Steven Leo Campbell at – All rights reserved.

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6 thoughts on “Being a Self-Published Author

    1. That’s so very true Max. I still find great books by authors I’ve never heard of, who have a small following, just as you find great music by lesser known artists. They aren’t stars in the business, but they should have been. And on the flipside, some stars shouldn’t have been. The finger of fate is forever fickle.

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  1. Yeah, the rules thing really depends, so I never follow them either. Especially the adjective bit. Even the guy who hates them the most (Stephen King) uses quite a few adjectives himself. Anyhoo, wishing you all the best on your writing journey!

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    1. Thank you for your reply. I have two copies of King’s classic On Writing (the second has contributions from his sons), and I noticed that he isn’t a firm follower of some of his advice. And neither are his sons. Wishing you the best, too.


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