Nittany Valley Writers Network Self-Publishing Discussion Panel

The Nittany Valley Writers Network discussion on self-publishing at Schlow Library this past Tuesday went very well. We had a crowd of over twenty come out to hear Michelle Weisen, Cindy Keith, John Swisher and me share our experiences in the brave new world of self-publishing.

The meeting including a demo of how to format and upload a book to a self-publishing service. There were a lot of questions during and after the discussion. It became quite heated at the end with members of the audience disagreeing with each other over self-publishing in the world of academia. Some thought it was a career killer. One said that at her age, she couldn’t wait around for a publishing company and decided self-publishing might be the way to go.

Here are some useful links for those interested in self-publishing:

  • Joe Konrath’s Newbie’s Guide to Publishing has everything you need to know from writing to pricing and tips on a good cover:
  • has the best royalties for self-publishers that I could find.
  • Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing site: If you want to sell ebooks, you want to sell to Kindle readers.
  • is an ideal site for the less tech savvy or for those who may only want to print a few copies of their work for friends and family.
  • Barnes and Noble’s Pubit site:

Below is some information about our panel.

Michelle Weisen, is English professor-turned-author. Lavinia’s Window is
her first novel and third children’s book. She self-published it in 2008. Michelle has since formed her own publishing company called Words of Mercy. A portion of the proceeds from sales of her books support

Cindy Keith is the owner of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care. She consults with families nationwide who struggle to care for a loved one with dementia. She is the author of “Love, Laughter, & Mayhem – Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia,” as well as “Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training.”

John Swisher, a professor emeritus of Counselor Education at Penn State, is the author of Two Paths Crossing: Then and Now. The novel was stimulated during a tour of Greece that focused on ancient sites including Delphi. He wondered what happened to real treasures given to the Oracles.

Self-Publishing Discussion, May 10, 7 p.m.

I will be hosting a discussion about self-publishing at the Nittany Valley Writers Network meeting on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Schlow Library in State College, Pennsylvania. Anyone interested in learning more about self-publishing is encouraged to attend.  The discussion is free and open to the public.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, self-published authors are shaking up ebook sales thanks to Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook from Barnes and Noble.

Many of the top selling Kindle books are from self-published authors like Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. Hocking’s books became so successful, traditional publishers took notice. She recently signed a contract with St. Martin’s Press for a four-book deal reportedly worth at least $2 million.

At the same time, some traditionally published authors like Barry Eisler are walking away from lucrative publishing contracts. These authors believe they can make more money by self-publishing. More importantly, the authors will have more control over their books and the timing of their release. Instead of waiting 18 – 24 months for traditionally published books to hit the store shelves, self-published authors can release their books as quickly as they can write them, have them edited, and a cover produced. Some authors publish several a year.

We will talk about these and other topics at the meeting. I’ll also demonstrate how to upload your book to the Amazon Kindle site,, and