Self-publishing isn't about doing it all yourself – it just means the author goes about the publication process without working with a traditional publisher.
The power is in your hands and you have full control of every aspect. You can go at your own pace and self-publishing can take less time to produce as there is less of a process involved compared to traditional publishing.
- You get to choose your team.
- You retain all your rights and keep all the royalties.
- It's all down to you – it's a business.
- You can sell your book on any market you choose.
- You can make connections with distributors who can push it out for you.
Having a good editor and designer is key – a cover designer will read a synopsis and a blurb before designing so they get to know the characters.
Self-publishing puts more responsibility in your hands, is more time consuming because you're doing everything yourself – like running a business – and you need to raise the costs.
- There's no guarantee you will succeed with this.
- There's a financial risk – aim to not spend more than you can afford to lose.
- It can take up a lot of your time, which means you have less time to write.
- Ebooks are a very popular format. And remember – no one knows if you're self-published or not online, so there's no prejudice.
- The print market has risen, but ebooks are the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to sell.
- Try not to restrict yourself to any one retailer as you can reach other audiences through other platforms.
- Research and price your book around the reasonable price for your genre.
- You can create your own ebook in a number of ways, for example using Amazon's Kindle tool or Adobe InDesign software. You can also pay a professional to create an ebook for you.
- Ebooks have resurrected the short story market. Putting a short story on Amazon as an ebook can help build up your readership.
- Selling an ebook on Amazon means you keep a higher percentage of profits compared to traditional publishing.
- It's easier to test out your ideas as a self-published author and see what works when you sell online, then change things if you need to and re-upload your ebook.
- Meta data (to measure the success rate), pricing and marketing are important to maximise your success – you can find marketers who can help you if this isn't your area of expertise.
Facts and tips
- The Goodreads website tracks and rates books and offers networking with other readers.
- Printing on consignment means printing your book in bulk amounts and storing them.
- Make sure you research tax details about selling through online channels, to know what to expect.
- If you're going to self-publish, run a publishing company to add credibility to your name.
- Where are you with your writing? Do you need a mentor to help start you off?
- Think about getting your manuscript appraised by people with a publishing or editorial background. They will provide you with a report on your book.
- Re-write your book based on the report, and then have someone else read your own work once edited, to pick up any missed typos etc.
- Proof read the book yourself – does it all flow, make sense etc?
- Have someone copy edit the book for grammar.
- What would you like your book to look like? Send it to a typesetter and designer to review – remember that text design and cover design are two different tasks. You can proof the type setting and design, then once you’re happy, convert it to an ebook or get it printed.
- Set your pricing. This will depend on the prices of other, similar publications, as well as the amount of money you're hoping to make.
- Start marketing your book and working on a PR strategy - find out more about this in the marketing section.
- Seek out written reviews from readers and promote them through your marketing and PR channels.
- Start getting your work out there and enjoying life as a published writer!