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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

5 Exciting “Firsts” about Becoming a Self-Published Author

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Nothing is more exciting than self-publishing your own book. In this case, a children’s book!

The Backstory

In early December of 2019, while sipping hot chocolates by the fire, and imaging the endless possibilities 2020 was going to bring (ha! We imagined wrong), my friend Kinzie asked if I would be her accountability partner in creating a children’s book.

Since high school, Kinzie had a specific story to tell but she never had the drive to get it done. In the past, I had encouraged taking risks to get what you wanted in life, because nothing would come of it if you didn’t.

Because of this, we started our own Youtube channel while also attending craft events as vendors. Knowing I loved to create, strive to complete goals, and bucket list items she knew I would be the right person to ask.

Of course, I said yes!

Below are screenshots of my Bucket List board from Pinterest. ‘Write a book’ is pinned on the Bucket List board which I would love to move to my Completed Bucket List board.

The Terms

Now we had to set terms for the book, because how else would it get done? The terms were as followed:

· Each person would write a children’s book (Age range not specified)

· Start date: January 1st, 2020

· Could use a previously written story but had to rework it

· Check on status of our books every few weeks

· End date: December 25th, 2021

· Give to each other for Christmas

· Have fun!

Simple as that. We didn’t want to make it difficult on ourselves.

In fact, if I gave Kinzie a book with stick figures all stapled together the project would be complete.

I hold high expectations for myself so of course I was going to take it to the next level.

The Here and Now

It is currently November 16th as I write this, and one thing is clear. I will have my book done by December 25th, 2021.

Luckily, for me, I had a children’s book ready to go for the challenge. Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss. According to the terms it needed to be reworked...


I wish it were that simple, because it wasn’t.


It doesn’t mean I'm going to be a self-published author by then. That won’t happen until February 2021 and I’m totally okay with that, because becoming a self-published author wasn’t in the terms at all.

5 Exciting “Firsts”

When we started the project, I knew I needed to start early.

I also knew I wanted to self-publish the book because traditional publishing would take too long if I even got picked up. I’m not one to get too excited, but as time went on and each step was complete I would get more and more excited.

So here are my top 5 Firsts in becoming a self-published author:

1. Finishing the written story

I originally wrote the story in high school and even though it was read to every single English classroom and everyone loved it… it needed tons of work. I went through and restructured the sentences making it an easier read for kids.

Once I was done, I was so elated because for me writing is the hardest part.

2. Beta Readers

Sending your edited story off to beta readers can be nerve-racking. ‘What if they don’t like it? All your hard work would be for nothing!’

Luckily for me, that wasn’t the case. Instead, they loved the story! Hearing people love your story is a great relief and gets you even more excited to continue with the process. They also have great suggestions and improvements you might not have thought of the first time around.

3. Illustrations

Getting the first illustration back is one of the most exhilarating experiences. Seeing your characters finally coming to life is the best. I searched for months for the right illustrator and I'm so happy I took my time.

Every time she would send me a new page I would gasp in excitement as our collaboration was creating something magical.

4. Formatting the book

Now most people would read this and ask why formatting? It’s not that great. In fact, it's totally the opposite! Your story is finally in the stage where everything is coming together.

Even though this process took some time, and I went through two formatters who weren’t the best at it; I did finally find someone who shared the same vision. Seeing the words dance across the page really cemented the experience for me.

5. Final touches

Last, but certainly not least, are the final touches. To me, this includes getting the copyrights (not necessary but something I personally wanted to get) and getting the ISBN for the printed copy of the book. These final touches made the book seem real… because it is!

When the copyrights went public I actually received two calls from legit publishers about my book.

I won’t be working with them since I'm going the self-publishing route, but it's still exciting to see people wanting to be involved with my story.

Even though I've only listed 5 “firsts” I'm sure there will be more as time goes on. It’s really only the beginning and I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.

So What about Kinzie?

Now I'm sure some of you are wondering about Kinzie and her progress?


Some things have changed.

Kinzie decided early on to have her book be an audio book. In fact, she started a Youtube channel where she has been practicing her editing skills, getting to know other voice actors in the community, and perfecting the craft.

She is close to 6,000 followers (17.5k as of July 2021), and I couldn’t be more proud. Her first episode or “chapter” for this particular project will be coming out on the due date (still hasn't gotten it done lol-July 2021).

Back in January, Britta overheard Kinzie and myself speaking about the project and because she loves children, and nannies on the side, decided to join the fun. She didn’t start the process until October so I'm not sure if she will hit the deadline of December 25th (she didn't but is currently working on releasing here shortly-July 2021), but crazier things have happened!

For me, I have final touches on formatting. For shits and jiggles, I will be printing it out and stapling it together to give to them, because I think I'm funny like that.

BUT! If you are interested in purchasing a physical copy or eBook you can click here to keep updated on the release of Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss coming out February 2021.

For now, I am going to continue working on the book, and getting it close to perfect as possible! For all you new self-published authors out there let me know what “firsts” you have while working on your books.

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