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What Supernatural Taught Me About Self Publishing

What does the show Supernatural have to do with self publishing? Nothing, really, but there are a lot of lessons Sam and Dean Winchester can teach us about it!

In case you aren’t a hardcore fan like myself, let me fill you in on the epic levels of awesome you’re missing out on, before we get down to the business of what it can teach us about self publishing. Supernatural is about two brothers who hunt monsters that everyone else thinks are imaginary.

They live a life without the typical attachments: homes, long term relationships, or kids. They travel the country in an Impala, in search of creatures that need to be destroyed, staying in hotels along the way. There’s a lot of action, mystery, and fun. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.

Supernatural is more than just a good show, it’s chock full of ideas for paranormal authors. In fact one episode sparked an idea for my novel Chasing Mercy! It’s given me more ideas for other books too.

What can Sam and Dean Winchester teach us about self publishing? There are four things that I’ve found they can show us.

Never Trust a Demon

You don’t have to watch Supernatural to figure out that nothing good could come from trusting a demon. What does this have to do with self publishing?

You need to know who you can trust. There are those out there who will help you and there are those who are out to take advantage of you. If someone, or a company, is offering to help you self publish for hundreds or thousands of dollars, they may very well be a version of a demon. (For more information, read about Publishers Behaving Badly.)

Do your research and learn about what the self publishing industry is really all about. It’s called self publishing for a reason. Yes, you need help from others; you can’t do it all on your own. For instance, if you aren’t a graphic artist and you want people to give your book a chance, you need to hire someone to make a killer cover that will interest your target readers. People do judge a book by it’s cover.

Takeaway: Know what you’re up against.


Always Carry Salt

Sam and Dean use salt because it is a deterrent to many supernatural creatures, including those demons that we were just discussing. They can make circle of salt around themselves to keep a ghost or demon from reaching them, or they can put salt in front of all of the doors and windows to keep them out of a building.

But salt won’t work for every creature. You’ll need a wooden stake for vampires, of course. What vampire is going to shy away from salt? You can use holy water with a demon. Salt won’t even slow down a Leviathan, so you’ll need a way to behead them after throwing borax at them.

In the same way, not every tool is for every indie author. You need to do your research and figure out what’s going to work to serve you best. I love Scriviner as a writing tool — as do many indie authors — but it doesn’t work for some. There are those who still swear by Word. I love Dropbox, maybe you hate it. Some swear by tools like Evernote; I’ve never been compelled to try it.

Takeaway: Know the tools that will work for you.


Keep Bobby’s Number on Speed Dial

Bobby is the Winchester’s go-to guy when they have a problem. He has everything they need, so if they’re stuck and don’t have the answers, they call Bobby. Watch the video below to see Bobby in action – be warned that the second half of the video is gory, if that bothers you.

Who’s on your speed dial? When you need help with the self publishing process, where do you turn? Do you know where to go to find the answers to your questions? Do you know that they have your back and will give you good information?

There are plenty of great resources online, just as there are plenty of horrible ones too. I love listening to the Self Publishing Podcast. They not only provide my need for entertainment (because they’re hilarious) but they give great advice to indie authors. They publish at un-human speeds and their podcasts are often collaboration sessions, and listening to them discuss self publishing is very educating.

Author CJ Lyons has a resource page for indie authors. There’s an annual online indie conference called Indie Recon where you can find a boatload of resources. There are a ton more — if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments!

Takeaway: Know where to get your information


Have Fun!

These guys know how to have fun. There are plenty of episodes that are full of suspense, thrills, and chills but there are also a ton that are just plain funny. I can’t tell you how many laughs I’ve had watching Supernatural!

The same should be true if you’re self publishing. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But, you should love it! Writing stories that you want to, on your own schedule, getting the highest royalties possible! You have total control over your work, you get to pick the covers, choose the price, make all of the decisions. What’s not to love?

Takeaway: If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?

If you haven’t watched any of the videos in this post, you’ve got to watch these! They’re hilarious!



Image source: The CW Network


  1. Melissa says:

    Stacy, your post was absolutely brilliant! I love that show too and your insight was spot on 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Melissa! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  2. Chrissy Medeiros says:

    Stacy, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Supernatural since the very first episode aired! I’ve even been to a convention and *sigh* got to meet Jared Padalecki. I use many visuals in my writing and picture him when I describe many of my male characters!

    I love paranormal romances and I hope to someday publish in the genre as well. I’m going to check out your books, the covers look great!

    Good luck with your stories!

    1. Hi Chrissy,
      That’s so cool that you’ve been watching it since the beginning! We just started watching it at the end of last year. We’re almost at the end of season seven. I love Netflix! Awesome that you got to meet Jared!

      It’s a fun genre to write! Be sure to let me know when you do publish! Sometimes I picture actors and actresses when I write certain characters. In my book Betrayal (and the following book which I’m writing now) I have two characters from the Vampire Diaries in mind when writing them!

      It’s great to meet you!

  3. Lisa says:

    This was a fun, creative post with great content! You rock! I agree with the points above…except that sometimes, it does cost in the thousands, depending on what you outsource. But, to me, it shouldn’t cost more than $4,000 total or it’s a scam. I myself paid a freelance editor for a manuscript evaluation and to help me polish my manuscript (before I submitted to my publisher; I’m traditionally published). I invested about $5,000 in the end.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I agree that it depends on what you outsource. There are some companies out there charging self published authors exorbitant fees for things that we can easily do ourselves – and taking away copyrights and high royalties. A good graphic designer *will* cost hundreds and editing can definitely run into the thousands.

      I would personally prefer to hire my own than give up my rights and have a “self publishing” company take care of all of that for me, while holding onto my copyright and high royalties. I’d rather go through traditional publishing than that.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 Congratulations on your book!

  4. Hey Stacy,

    Well, that was fun! Never heard of the show because I’m not a big fan of TV, but now it has peeked my interest. I can see where you can get great ideas from this story line.

    You have effectively explained what goes behind the scenes of self publishing. This is all new to me, but very interesting.

    I just had to laugh at the last video because in my business I deal with ghosts! Studied Parapsychology and spend time on “the other side” for my clients. But, hey, to me, it is natural. Funny how they portrayed the ghosts in this clip. SMH….lol


    1. Hi Donna,

      I don’t watch much TV myself, but Supernatural is one of the rare shows that I do watch. They definitely have a unique take on the spirit / supernatural world. Some of it is hilarious and some is nail-biting! 🙂 The best of both worlds.

      It sounds like you have a lot of unique experiences in your business! Very cool 🙂


  5. Mohini says:

    Stacy, I am a die hard Supernatural fan just like you and yes I have also learnt quite a few out of the box things from the show but these were new to me and they are quite awesome. I have been writing stories for a few years now but have never been able to put it out there for others to read them. Your books are awesome and kind of an inspiration to me. 😀

    1. Hi Mohini,
      Thank you! Self publishing offers a lot for authors. If you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to help. It’s so exciting to see your books out there!

  6. Gladys says:

    Hi there Stacy

    What what a wonderful way to illustrate some of the steps you have taken in writing your book.
    I love it and you kept me glue to your post.

    Thanks again
    Gladys recently posted Emotional Health…Developed Through Self-Esteem

    1. Hi Gladys,
      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
      Have a great day!

  7. Barry Wells says:

    Hi Stacy,

    I’ve never seen the show so can’t comment on its content.

    I do however like the way you’ve put a twist on the lessons taught within the show and brought them to our attention.

    You’re so right about the tools we use and how we should research them first. Dread to think of the time being wasted with the wrong tool for the job. I normally ask for advice in a Facebook group close to the subject at hand.

    Best of luck with your writing Stacy 🙂


    1. Hi Barry,
      Thank you for stopping by! I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Facebook groups are a great place to connect with others and learn about the tools that we need in whatever our niche is. It’s a great way to collaborate!

  8. Bryan says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. You’re wonderful, Stacy! What I learned from this post is that I must catch up on Supernatural! I haven’t watched it since the second season and don’t know why I stopped!

    1. Hi Bryan – the first two seasons weren’t my favorite. Once the first episode of the third season hit, it became epic and continues to defy the meaning of epic! 🙂 Netflix has seven seasons – go watch it!

  9. Stacy, this is just fun. My kids are totally hooked on Supernatural and got me watching it too. I see it as an irreverent modern take on The Lord of the Rings, with an ultimate battle between good and evil, and a lot of humor in between, as you point out.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I never thought about the show that way, but I see your point. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I love the show although you’ve made me realise I’ve missed some series and must catch up. I do love the Groundhog Day send-off (how many ways can you kill anybody?) and you’re right, there are some episodes that are just pure fun. Knowing who your friends are and who you can trust is important. Good lessons to take from it and in general. Thanks!

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