I’ve been asked by Codywestle to make a post about how to self-publish. Now, I don’t like calling myself an expert on anything outside of my own stories. So, this is all opinion and personal path here. Nothing is ever sent in stone and you might find or have gone a different route than these steps:
- Declare that you’re going to be an author for more than a few months. This guarantees that it’s not an idea born from drinking, spontaneous thoughts, or anything else that can fade before you get done with step 2.
- Plan and write your book. Seriously, you can’t self-publish without a book.
- Edit your book multiple times. This step can be done throughout the other steps until you get your book published.
- Send out query letters and samples to agents and publishers. I know we’re aiming for self-publishing, but you should at least try for this. You could get lucky. The worst that happens is that you build up a resistance to rejection.
- Find and talk to established e-book authors to get their input. They can tell you about the process, the pros, the cons, and help you avoid some of the pitfalls.
- Make a website/blog, facebook page, twitter, and pinterest with all of them connected. This will become the basis for your marketing attempts. Play around with various content like book sections, personal stories, poems, jokes, and whatever you are interested in. One of the tricks to self-publishing is to connect with people and establish contacts.
- Make or find someone to make your cover art. You can find stock photos to use, but know that other books might have these. I went with a family member who is a highly talented artist. Check out his site here.
- Continue editing because I know you’ve slacked off by now. Get back in that corner and don’t come out until you finish that chapter. Don’t give me that look!
- Write your author bio and book blurb/description. Use your blog to help get some feedback on their quality.
- Make an account on Kindle, Createspace, and Smashwords. Get as far into the process as you can without your cover art. This includes formatting your book to their standards and submitting it to save as a draft. You can do the formatted draft on Kindle and Createspace, but not Smashwords. Note: You can also use Pub It! for the Nook, but Smashwords should be able to handle that too and I found that it’s easier to work with them than Pub It! That’s just me though.
- Make a Store tab on your website.
- Research self-publishing resources and author groups. Goodkindles is a great site for Kindle book advertising.
- Make friends with other e-book authors and ask if they would want to exchange books to write reviews for each other. You might be thinking ‘what about the money?’ Well, giving a free book for a review is worth it the moment you make even one sale off that review. Think long-term here and not just short-term gain.
- Cover art is done? Take a deep breath, stretch, and get ready. Put your book together on all of those sites that I previously mentioned. Smashwords does a format check with advice on how to fix it, so I would recommend doing this first. It also shows up within an hour at most, so make a blog post about the availability as soon as you see it.
- Wait for the review process to finish on Kindle (about a day) and Createspace (a few days and you have to check for completion). Once they’re ready to go, make the big announcement.
- Advertising! Goodkindles, create giveaway contests, make your trades, author pages, and find some book reviewers to give free copies to. This is where you’ll be most frazzled until you lock down what works and what doesn’t.
- Most important: WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK!
That’s all I can think of saying as far as the process goes. As far as determination and emotion, all I can say is to never give up. If this is what you want to do then make sure that nobody talks you out of it. Standing on a chair and announcing this is not recommended . . . I miss going to that restaurant.