My Self-Publishing Toolbox

I’ve been asked recently about how I publish my books, so without further ado, I present to y’all my self-publishing toolbox:

Image of Frøydis Labowsky from a shoot we did in 2011. Styling and make-up by Ingvild Eiring.

Image of Frøydis Labowsky from a shoot we did in 2011. Styling and make-up by Ingvild Eiring.

Getting the story down

I don’t support the idea that you need a special space/room/cave/whatever to jot your words down. Writing is writing – it’s just you and your brain making up stories. It doesn’t matter if those stories pour out of you by way of pen or keyboard, if you’re sitting in a tree or by your speshul IKEA desk made chic with sandpaper and pastel ribbons. You don’t need to clear your calendar either or feel somehow particularly inspired. Just goddamn write already! …and keep on writing until the first draft is complete.

I do a lot of writing on my iPad while on the bus to work. Of the many writing apps on the market, I’ve tried Pages, Nebulous and iA Writer – they are all good. If you want something simple to just plop the words down without any distractions iA Writer is great. If you want to write on your pad with “everything” you need readily available with an extended keyboard, Nebulous might be the thing for you.

I use Open Office on my computer, but borrow my boyfriend’s laptop with Word when I need to format a manuscript.

I find the good ole paper notebook to be absolutely crucial for ideas and outlining. I’ve tried the manuscript organizing apps Writers App and A Novel Idea, they work just fine, but I prefer to keep a notebook dedicated to story timeline, character gallery etc.

Publishing platforms

I use Createspace for paperbacks. It’s easy to use and makes my books available on Amazon.

For photobooks I use Blurb, that also can make your books available via Amazon.

For ebooks I use KDP, Smashwords, Google Books and I’m particularly fond of Smashwords – where you can easily get your book distributed to several platforms.

Formatting ebooks

I know it is possible to do this “at home,” but I find the process painstaking, frustrating and ghaaa… so I choose to leave this to the professionals. I use Kindle people to format my kindle book and ebook launch for everything else.

Since I’m a professional photographer I have no qualms about making my own covers, in fact – I cringe at the thought of having someone else mess around with them, but if I wasn’t a professional myself I would hire one.


I use Scribendi for proofreading. I’ve had my first two novels proofread by Scribendi people and couldn’t be happier. It’s not cheap, but it is necessary and absolutely worth it.

What about editors, you ask – well, I have several friends who have studied literature and are authors themselves. I trust them to give me the non-sugarcoated feedback I need to make my books the best possible.

Social media

As you can see, I use WordPress for my blog and homebase for my books. I also have a Squarespace website for my photography work. I have, of course, domain names that make sense too: and – it looks more professional and is far easier to remeber if anyone should ask, than a free domain name with “/blahblahblah” added to it.

I use mailchimp for newsletters. Free, easy and good looking. My sign-up page looks like this.

I have author profiles on Goodreads, LibraryThing and Amazon.

I can also be found around the web on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.


For promotional purposes I’ve used:

KDP’s Free Book Promotion

Goodreads Giveaway (I’ve got one going on now, if you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of An Obelus Wheeze) – this thing is pure gold! It has generated more ratings, reviews and books added to to-read lists than anything else I’ve tried.

Goodreads Ad

Digital Book Today

E-books Grow on Trees


It’s Write Now

For business cards I use Moo. Fantastic quality at a great price.


I used Etsy for years, but have given it up basically because you have to pay to make a non-permanent listing (added item to your store). The community is, however, great, and I did sell a few prints there – I might come back some time. I’ve also given up Cafepress because of ridiculous shipping prices and better looking print-on-demand items elsewhere.

The shops that are still open in the Crazy Cat Dry Goods & Sundries Emporium are my Tictail store, Society 6 and Zazzle.

Tictail is super easy and free to use – this is where I sell signed books and handmade goods. I would prefer to sell all my merchandise like this, but this is simply something I cannot afford to invest in right now. Both Society 6 and Zazzle are good print-on-demand online stores. I might move away completely from Zazzle, though – I have already unlisted all the clothing I had there. I was not happy with the quality of the print there. I bought a T-shirt there last year and the print is about to peel off completely… and I have not worn the T-shirt often. I love the quality of the clothes from Society 6, but I would like to be able to decide the price myself – currently the artist can only set the price for art prints.

Other Resources

There’s a jungle out there! It seems like every person who have self-published a book also publish a book about self-publishing books. I’m sure a lot of these are very good and informative, but the two people I keep coming back to for advice are Catherine Ryan Howard and David Gaughran. They have bloggged extensively about self-publishing and published books on the subject too. I’d recommend checking them out.

Western Comics

Well, y’all know I’m a nerd anyway, so I might as well admit I’m a comic book geek too. Figured I’d share some of my favorite western comics with you.

My absolute favorites are these four gems:


Beautifully vizualised, gritty adventures with a one-armed gunslinger in the lead. This is the kind of comic I’ll re-read many times and bring out occasionally just to gawk at the artwork. The stories are on point. The violence is grim and inventive. The characters well developed, flaws and all. In short: A masterpiece.


Ah… Wes and Ruth – the protagonists – just might be my all-time favorite comic book couple, reminiscent of Tulip and Jesse in Preacher (another gem worth reading, if you haven’t already). Their blood-soaked, southern tale of revenge spans across 21 remorseless albums. Ruth is exactly the kind of ass-kicking anti-heroine I’d like to see more of in any media.

Pretty Deadly

I have a very real crush on Ginny, the skullfaced daughter of death – another fierce, gunslinging dame… and she is only one of several bad-ass women in this gorgeous tale of magical realism. The artwork is through and through beautiful, the story remarkable and well balanced in brutality and heart, you’ll even find something to call cute in there. The first five issues have been collected in a single volume, you know what to do… I can hardly wait for the follow-up!


An old man riding a blind mule, with the ghost of every person he’s killed trailing after him… It’s weird. It’s violent. It’s a buckshot load of fun. The stories are great and told with plenty of humour. The black and white artwork is perfect for the gnarly ole gunslinger.

Other western comics I’ve enjoyed…

Bikini Cowboy is so much fun! Our hero, Whisky Jill, stomps around in the desert with a surfboard, wearing pretty much nothing but a skimpy bikini. The sketch-like style of the drawings corresponds perfectly with the whimsical story of the sassy Whisky Jill and the boy with mysterious powers she rescues.

The Grave Doug Freshley is another weird western where a young boy gets rescued, this time by the corpse Douglas Freshley, a former schoolmaster.

I take it Jonah Hex need no further introduction. I’ve read only a handful of albums, but have enjoyed the tall tales about this notorious bounty hunter very much.

Streets of Glory is also worth a mention. Penned by Garth Ennis, the mind behind Preacher, The Boys and Jennifer Blood, just to name a few.

Manifest Destiny has yet to be concluded. I’d advise you to buy the collected volumes, waiting around for the next album and the next makes for a jagged reading experience. Follow Lewis and Clark’s expedition into the wild and weird American frontier.

I’d love to hear what your favorite comics are too! Let me know in the comments :)

Zerelda in Floz Visions

I know. I know… Everything is about Zerelda these days. Hope y’all ain’t tired of her yet. If you want to know the connection between a Barbie doll in a fighter pilot outfit and the gunslinging babe in the shape of Ingvild Eiring, head on over to Floz Visions, where Zerelda’s been featured along with a bunch of pictures you probably haven’t seen before.

Zerelda’s Big Weekend

Ingvild Eiring and yours truly at the release party for All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton. Much love and squishes to everyone who showed up! We had a great time!!!


Here’s our little dry goods store at the release party we held on Friday. If you couldn’t come, but would like to buy a signed copy of All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton, Embers at Dawn, An Obelus Wheeze or maybe a pack of Zerelda postcards or the Professor Lafayette’s Bison Horn Potion bottle, head on over to my Tictail store.

A selection of images from All The Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton were exhibited at Fotografiets Dag at Preus Museum in Horten yesterday. As you can see, there’s no name under the pictures. Some time between 12.30 and 15.30 someone removed my name tag and stole my box of business cards, efficiently sabotaging my exhibition. A bunch of pictures without a name is worth exactly nothing. When granted an exhibition spot at Fotografiets Dag you basically get 5 hours of attention from a crowd who’s there to look at photographs. Up to three of those hours have been stolen from me. Ingvild and I have worked on this project for two years. Getting noticed is hard work. To be exhibited at an event such as Fotografiets Dag is a golden opportunity to promote what we’ve been working so hard on. I paid for the prints myself. Hell, I pay for everything myself… I’m a self-publisher. Nothing is cheap. Nothing is easy. But bullshit like this takes the fun right out of it.

Zerelda Gets Exhibited

I am very proud to announce that six of the photographs from All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton will be exhibited during Fotografiets Dag (The Photography’s Day) at Preus Museum in Horten on Sunday, August 23rd. I will be there from 12:00-17:00.

The museum is always a treat to visit and there will be lots of photographs to look at. Hope to see you there!

Release Party for Zerelda Glanton

Ingvild Eiring and yours truly are throwing a belated release party for our Polaroid photobook All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton. The release party will take place at Fuglen in Oslo on Friday August 21st. We’ll be there from 18:00 with books you can buy and get signed.

Find the event on Facebook here.


All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton is a photographic journey in hardship and badassery by photographer Julie Loen and model Ingvild Eiring.

Two years in the making and shot entirely on Polaroid film in snow, rain, sunshine and dusty interiors – capturing the seasons and a myriad of locations – the fleeting figure of Zerelda Glanton comes to life as a gun-toting, horse-riding, anvil-banging, booze-swigging cowgirl, whore and lady.

If you’re partial to undraped ladies and shooting irons, and take kindly to the grittier side of photography, this ought to be right up your alley.

Preview of the book can be viewed at Blurb, and a selection of images from the book can be seen at my website

All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton is Out Now!

She’s finally here! I know a lot of you have been pining for her a very long time… and we (Ingvild and I) have been teasing you since our first Zerelda shoot in 2013 – never showing you more than a glimpse of what we’ve been up to. Well, the wait is over. The 108 page Polaroid photobook is available in three different versions:

Get the glorious big hardcover book (12x12in/30x30cm) directly from Blurb for $124.99 here


The no less spectacular, but a lot cheaper, small softcover book (7x7in/18x18cm) from Amazon for $54.99 here


The E-book (epub) for only $9.99 here

Preview of the book can be viewed at Blurb. And a selection of images from the book can be seen at my website

So, where are you guys from?

Ingvild and I are back from our trip to California. The word “amazing” has been thrown around a lot in our social media updates during (and after) the big adventure. It was everything we hoped for and more. I shot 1921 digital images, 189 Polaroid pictures and a handful of mobile phone snapshots, plus a few short videos. Ingvild took pictures too, and is fixing to draw images inspired by what we saw and experienced out west. She also filmed the most memorable critters – Skunk! Squirrel! Steller’s Jay!

The USA might be a car county, but it worked out just fine taking trains and buses, cabs and Uber (and a short ride with a ferry) to get around. A lot of people thought we were quite insane when they learned that we were “doing” California without a car. People also flaunted a lot of raised eyebrows when hearing that we were only staying a week. “But you have to stay longer when you travel that far,” they’d say. I would have loved to stay longer, but the “mere” week made the trip possible within the foreseeable future. I’d rather do a trip like this every other year, than have to save money for five years to stay a month.

The jovial people of the sunny state is very talkative – by the end of the week we automatically answered “Norway” in unison when asked the question “Where are you guys from?” for the umpteenth time. Some people tried to guess where we were from too. Germany was the most reasonable guess – after hearing us speak Norwegian, but why any one would think two pale gals like us are from Brazil or Argentina is beyond me… we were asked that too.

Generally every one we talked to was exceedingly helpful and nice, and often dished out a bit of humour along with their service. Our first encounter with real life American humour hit us already on the plane across the Atlantic. We had collected a bit of rubbish after eating a meal and were looking to get rid of it. It had been a while since a steward had passed by, so I walked up to a steward sitting at the back of the plane and asked if he could take it off my hands. He gave me a mean scowl and said: “No, we ain’t got the time.” I just stood there, feeling like an idiot, not quite sure if I should take him seriously or not. A grin spread across his face. “Naaah, I’m just kidding,” he said. “Give it here.”

In short, this is what our trip looked like:

Day 1

(We landed in San Francisco the day before)

Fisherman’s Wharf


Dinner at Greens

Day 2

Travel to Sacramento (bus + train)

Shoot at Folsom Lake

Visit a friend of Ingvild’s and eat dinner there

Day 3

Travel to Cedar Lodge in El Portal (bus + train + bus)

Explore the area

Dinner at the lodge

Day 4


Ride horses to Mirror Lake

Explore the museums in Yosemite

Dinner at the lodge

Day 5

Shoot in El Portal


Raft on Merced River

Back to Cedar Lodge for more shoots

Dinner at the lodge

Day 6

Travel back to San Francisco (bus + train + bus)

Dinner at random Indian restaurant in Chestnut Street

Day 7

Wells Fargo Museum

Walk across The Golden Gate Bridge

Dinner at The Plant

(We went home the next day)

Like I stated in my previous post, the result of our escapades in California will be collected in a travel journal. I can promise you a book filled with fun and adventure, musings and tales, and of course lots of pictures. But please don’t hold your breath, we don’t expect to complete the book until some time next year.

Going West!

In one week Ingvild and I will be travelling as far west as west goes – we’ll be going to California! Our itinerary takes us to San Francisco, Sacramento, Yosemite and back to San Francisco. We’ll be doing touristy stuff like visiting Alcatraz, Wells Fargo Museum and riding mules in Yosemite Valley, but we will also be taking lots of polaroid pictures in motels and hopefully stumble across locations unlike those we have to play with home in Norway – crossing fingers for nice weather.

The result of our escapades in California will be collected in a travel journal, featuring polaroid pictures, snapshots, drawings, words and more.

Embers at Dawn is Perma Free!

Embers at Dawn (e-book) is perma-free and available everywhere! …or at least here: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble/Nook, iBooks, Google Books and

Amazon is a bit tardy about taking the hint – they’re still selling it for $0.99, but you can get the mobi file (for Kindle) at Smashwords for free too.

I have received my first Smashwords review. It is short and sweet: “Loved this book! The imagery is amazing and the mix between total crass and intelligence is just awesome! Great characters.” – Debby Rubino, Smashwords