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Publishing: A Lighthearted Recipe For Self-publishing Success

Publishing: A Lighthearted Recipe for Self-publishing Success

Having successfully self-published two self-help books, occupational psychologist Sarah Dale considers what she's learned along the way about the process of self-publishing, and she now shares the vital ingredients and processes in the form of a tongue-in-cheek recipe below. Has she missed any essential ingredients that you'd like to add? If so, please don't hesitate to add your suggestion as a comment.

Headshot of author Sarah DaleSarah Dale's Indie Publishing Cupcake Recipe


  • One book, of the highest quality you can lay your hands on
  • A teaspoon of excitement
  • A pinch of fear
  • Generous dollop of encouragement
  • A few nuggets of advice
  • A dash of experience
  • Good glug of brandy or other fortifying spirit of choice (possibly optional, though not in this author’s experience)

For the icing:

  • One part serendipity combined with ten parts persistence


  1. Beat all ingredients together until a tipping point is reached. This will probably take longer than you expect. Allow plenty of time. Imagine you’re a milkmaid charged with churning cream until it turns into enough butter for a castle-full of guests.
  2. If the mixture starts to curdle, with lumps of doubt appearing, sprinkle in a few teaspoons of feedback and support. If this is unavailable locally, there is a good twenty four hour on-line supply via the Alliance of Independent Authors.
  3. Rest the batter from time to time whilst you have a coffee, a sleep, or attend to neglected families, laundry or day jobs. But don’t abandon it. Keep stirring.
  4. When it eventually starts to thicken, add a few more drops of excitement and a tablespoon of perspective. Carefully spoon the mixture into cake cases and put them in the oven. Despite overwhelming temptation, DO NOT keep opening the oven to see how it’s going. The cakes will rise in their own good time. Opening the oven will only tinge excellent ingredients with panic and despair. Distract yourself in the meantime, to avoid a soggy bottom and a loss of rational behaviour.
  5. Cover of Bolder and Wiser by Sarah Dale

    Sarah Dale's latest self-published book, currently garnering excellent reviews

    When the cakes are lightly browned and spring back to the touch in a way that implies a firm resilience, rather than crumbling immediately on contact, they are ready to be taken out of the oven and allowed to cool. Whilst this is happening, it is a good idea to start assembling the ingredients for the next batch. A delicious sweet zestiness is the icing on the cake, and you should take your time over licking out the bowl.

  6. You may add your own decorations, depending on what is available. Suggestions include awards, sales and fantastic reviews.
  7. Share the cakes with as many people as possible for maximum enjoyment.
  • Does your own recipe for self-publishing success feature any secret ingredients that you'd be prepared to share with the indie author community? Please feel free to add them in the comments.



Author: Sarah Dale

Sarah Dale is an occupational psychologist and the author of two self-published self-help books, "Keeping Your Spirits Up" and "Bolder and Wiser". Find out more via her website, www.creatingfocus.org. Review copies of "Bolder and Wiser" are available now for bloggers, journalists and anyone else who is interested in celebrating older women.


This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Superb… have baking gene from great grandfather and writing gene from God-knows-where, so to combine the two… delish! Seriously, some good points there esp. adding a drop or a teaspoon of Alli-advice-spice!

  2. An impeccable recipe. One suggestion. Prior to deciding this is the one to follow, make it the recipe of choice by discarding all those ‘one-step, semi-prepared’ alternatives, and on no account accept offers of paid help in the stirring. Rather rest.

    The use of a sharp nose for the wind of opportunity or the impulse of a new idea will do more than dogged energy, and the distractions of friends who ask for a taste will diminish the yield.

  3. Wow! What a great, and timeless recipe for publishing success!

    I would only add: lock doors and windows to avoid all distractions, naysayers and unsolicited advice before starting.

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