Welcome back!  Let’s continue our journey through the process of getting a novel self-published.


It’s a necessary evil and one that must be done.  It can be time-consuming, so I recommend you give yourself time to work through each chapter without rushing.  With The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams, Alpha Female, I reviewed each chapter, improved dialogue and description, and ensured the main story and subplots worked and flowed together.  My slow pace was helped by Grammarly, which caused my ability to move around in the lengthy manuscript – over 500 pages – to be exceedingly slow.

I feel this was helpful since I couldn’t speed through anything at any time, and it helped me read and revise at a snail’s pace.  But Grammarly did catch plenty of spelling, grammar, tense, and punctuation errors I might not have seen had I been speed-reading through the novel.  

The editing process is also a time to switch hats and read the novel from a reader’s perspective, not as the story’s writer.  This helps me think through the story and ensure continuity, that the story threads are woven together effectively, and that the main characters and each storyline have evolving arcs.

When you’re writing something, you know what you mean to say, but it’s important that it is translated onto the page.  The reader isn’t in your head, and they can’t call you up and ask you questions, so making sure things make sense within the story’s world is essential.

This process took several days to complete, and once it was done, I felt like I had the story locked in and it was ready for the next phase.


Once I’m 100% confident that the manuscript is done, I register it with the United States Copyright Office (https://www.copyright.gov/registration/).  I highly recommend this as a legal safeguard against people attempting to steal and take credit for your work.  While no method is foolproof, this is a great step toward ensuring your work stays your work.  You also receive a nifty certificate in the mail with your work’s name and an official registration number!

Book Cover

Onto designing the e-book’s cover.  I have an awesome cover artist for my young adult series, but since this was in a very different genre, I wanted to find a new cover artist to design what I was looking for.  That, of course, is the first step in the design process: what are you, the author, looking for?

I went through several ideas, then landed on the concept of a confused and frustrated woman surrounded by silhouetted photos of some of the men she had been with and their basic problems.  Add in the title and the by-line, and it was simple but got the novel’s premise across pretty clearly.

After some research, I found https://miblart.com. I really liked the samples on their website; they had solid reviews from other authors.  I reached out, heard back the next day, and was asked to send them the details of what I was looking for.

I sent them two concepts based on my initial idea:

Idea #1: 

I want to try a minimalist design to begin with, so here’s my idea: 

·      The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams, Alpha Female, at the top of the cover.  In a fun and eye-catching font. 

·      A silhouette of a woman shrugging at the bottom of the cover. (I included a picture as a reference) 

·      A Novel by Ian Dawson at the bottom of the cover. 

·      The cover can be a light purple, a female empowerment color.

Idea #2:

This one is a little more involved: 

·      The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams, Alpha Female, at the top of the cover.  In a fun and eye-catching font. 

·      A photo of a disappointed and frustrated woman shrugging at the bottom of the cover (I included a picture as a reference). 

·      An array of silhouetted male heads framed like Polaroids with the words “Too Fast,” “Too Boring,” “Too Egotistical,” “Too Kinky,” and “Too Rough” written under them. 

·      A Novel by Ian Dawson at the bottom of the cover. 

·      The cover can be a light purple, a female empowerment color.

I sent the ideas off and waited.  I was on vacation when I received the first version of Idea #2, which is below:

It just didn’t work for me.  The font was too goofy, and the woman looked depressed and not in a humorous way.

I wrote back and suggested some changes, attaching samples of female models with the facial expressions and gestures I sought and some font ideas.

The second attempt was spot-on and became the official cover for The Sexual Misadventures of Alicia Williams, Alpha Female, A Novel By Ian Dawson:

They sent two versions: one with white text and one with black.  I sent both to a female friend of mine who had read the manuscript, and she picked the white text.

After the decision was made, I let the designer know.  I was given several bonus graphics with the cover in different forms, which I have used for the pic on these articles and social media.

Up Next…

So, now I had a finished and copyrighted manuscript and a great cover.  It was only the start of what was to come when the publishing and marketing phase kicked into full gear.  I’ll talk about those elements next time!

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