The Platform of Self-Publishing

Balboa Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. These are the words of Susan Wolf Johnson, author of  King Daniel: Gasparilla of Pirates. If you’d like to contact Susan, you can do so through her Facebook author page. Download the Balboa Press free publishing guide to receive more information on self-publishing your book with Balboa Press. 

My Author Journey

Susan Wolf Johnson

In the fall of 2015, I completed my second novel. This came on the heels of years teaching fiction writing, finding agents, editors, and hearing more rejections than I wish to share with you. As I began this new publishing journey, the scent of a fresh autumn day renewed a deep sense of hope within me.  My goal was to find a great agent who would represent and sell my manuscript to an even greater publishing house.  As fate would have it, my niece introduced me to a close friend of hers who just happened to be a CEO of HarperCollins publishers.  We set up a time to discuss the industry. This is the first time I was introduced to Michael Hyatt’s brainchild, “the platform.”

The Self-Publishing Platform

While the platform feels commonplace to me today, after that first introduction over the phone I was in shock.  The CEO of HarperCollins actually suggested that I self-publish.  The thought of it made me both frustrated and interested.  While I wanted to publish the “traditional way,” the facts still remained; I was an unknown author with a few short story publications in literary journals. Finding an agent seemed like an endless and tiresome task. That’s when I really began considering self-publishing. After some thought, I came to three convincing conclusions.

  1. The self-publishing and online world offers unique opportunities for new authors.
  2. The integrity of my work would remain intact (which was not true for my previous novels).
  3. The book would actually be beautifully bound, professionally edited, and in my hands within a few months.

King Daniel; Gasparilla King of the PiratesA New Perspective

Clearly, what I needed to accomplish my publishing goal was a shift in perspective.  I began telling friends and colleagues that I was contemplating sending my manuscript to a private “finishing school.”  By inviting the expertise of a well-known and respected publisher such as Balboa, the novel would become the book of my dreams.  As my manuscript transformed into the novel, King Daniel: Gasparilla King of the Pirates, the phrase, “change your mind, change your life,” materialized into my world as a shimmering, clear rainbow.

Continued Guidance

With the guidance of my marketing consultant, I invested in the Trifecta Reviews. I received a 5-star review from Foreword/Clarion Reviews and a stellar review from Kirkus Indie.

By the time I launched the book in my home town, Tampa, I already had multiple reviews. I kept them tucked away in my mind (and a few printed out) to remind myself that my dream was valid. Most importantly, I learned that taking the first step—believing in, investing in, and supporting myself—proved to be the most crucial step of all.!

Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by emailing We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


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