Self-Pub Tips

Self-Publishing Tips

Since self-publishing in March 2011, many exciting things have happened to me. If you take the time to learn your craft and then put in a lot of hard work, I believe exciting things can happen for you, too.

After writing a great book and then self-publishing and releasing your story for the world to enjoy, I recommend spending the majority of your time writing your next book. It's by far the best promotion you can do.

If you write romance, I suggest you join Indie Romance Ink:
Indie Romance Ink
PLEASE NOTE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS: New members must be ***ROMANCE WRITERS*** who have self-published or are indie-curious. They are a genre-focused group by and for romance authors, and they do not allow self-promo. Author service providers and other industry professionals are welcome as long as they are ALSO romance writers.

If you are not a romance writer, no worries. There are many helpful sites, including the following:

The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing (WG2E) is no longer publishing new articles, but the website has a lot of great stuff in their archives.

The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing (WG2E)

Author E.M.S. Business Resources for Authors. Authors today are faced with a changing industry, evolving technology and growing competition. Tired of trying to find all the answers on your own? We’re here to help. Author E.M.S. is a growing online community designed to help you streamline your business time without sacrificing the creative artist within.
Author E.M.S.

These are only a few of the resources available to you. Just do a quick internet search for “self-publishing” to see what I mean. If you're new to self-publishing, you have a lot of reading to do.

For the first three months of my journey, I was learning everything I could. I spent hours reading blogs and soaking in any and all information I could find. I suggest you do the same.
Once you have published your book, you’ll have many decisions to make. Use your instincts. Whether you’re trying to decide where or when to advertise or what to price your book, the ultimate decision is yours. Nobody knows your product like you do. If ten people tell you not to go FREE, you should try it for yourself before you decide. You’ll never know if something will work until you experiment and try it yourself. There is no one-step process to self-publishing. I know plenty of successful Indie authors who have never spent a dime on advertising, or who never priced their book for $.99, or free for that matter. Every writer will have their own journey.

When it comes to self-publishing, what do you have to lose? Maybe you won't sell hundreds or even a dozen books right away. There are no guarantees in this business. You need to be patient. If you're passionate about writing, write another book while you let readers discover your first book. Nobody is going to believe in your stories more than YOU.

Becoming an independent author has been life-changing for me. For the first time in twenty years, I am making money doing what I love best. If you want to succeed, you must work hard. Never stop learning and growing.
The industry is changing fast, but listed below are the steps I took when I self-published in March, 2011. This should help you get started.
1.         Write a great book.

2.         Find Beta Readers. Beta readers consist of anyone who is willing to read your book and let you know if your story is working. They can give you feedback on character development or continuity. I have family and friends who are willing to read my book and everyone tends to find something to fix, even if it’s a missing word or two.
Tips from Belinda Pollard - What Makes a Good Beta Reader?
3.         Hire a proofreader. I use Faith Williams at The Atwater Group. Send her an email to get a quote and to find out when you can get your book scheduled. Proofreading and copy editing needs to be set up weeks, if not months in advance, so make sure you contact her before your project is finished so you can get on her calendar. More editors and proofreaders are listed later in the chapter.
The Atwater Group
4.         Find a cover artist. Dara at LFD Designs for Authors has created all of my covers. She offers premade covers from $20 to $60 and custom covers now start at $100 (subject to change). More cover artists are listed later in the chapter.
LFD Designs for Authors
5.         Hire a formatter. Lucinda Campbell at LK-E-Book Formatting Services is fast and affordable. “I am an author, so I know first-hand the formatting/publishing issues that can keep a book from being accepted by e-book retailers. I strive to give my clients a finished format that will view in the best possible way on all e-reading devices. I specialize in fiction (novels, novellas and short stories). Professional-quality formatting for Smashwords, Amazon KDP, Nook, Kobo, Apple iTunes and Sony.”
Go to LK-E-Book Formatting Services website and email Lucinda if you have questions. Get a quote and get started. Depending on her schedule, she can have your manuscript ready for download within 3 to 4 weeks.
LK-E-Book Formatting Services

6.         Register at AMAZON (KDP) by going to KDP.AMAZON.COM and download the prc file that your formatter sends you. KDP = Kindle Direct Publishing
7.         Register at BARNES & NOBLE (NOOK PRESS - used to be PUBIT) by going to NOOKPRESS.COM and download the epub file that your formatter sends you. Before the end of 2013, PUBIT will become NOOK PRESS, so you might as well register on NOOKPRESS.COM to download your books to Barnes & Noble.
8.         Register at SMASHWORDS.COM and download the word doc file that your formatter sends you.
9.         Register at KOBOWRITINGLIFE.COM and download the ePub file that your formatter sends you.
Kobo Writing Life
10.       To download directly to Apple iTunes you must have a MAC. You will need an Apple ID and then you will need to sign up at iTunes Connect:
If you do not own a MAC, you can hire Author E.M.S. to download your file for you. For pricing and upload information go to:
Author E.M.S.
11.       Once you have published, you can copyright your book for a fee of $35 at the U.S. Copyright Office.
U.S. Copyright Office
12.       You can buy ISBN’s from Bowker (Identifier Services). I let Barnes and Noble and Amazon assign my book an ISIN #. When I used CreateSpace for my print on demand books, I used their FREE ISBN.
To learn about International ISBN’s

13.       If you want a print book, it's free if you do it yourself. Register at Use CreateSpace to help you with book covers, formatting, and editing for a fee, or you can go to the site, register for free, download a FREE template and then copy and paste your manuscript into the template one chapter at a time. CreateSpace will provide you with a FREE ISBN number.
Createspace Ins and Outs Explained by Bob Sanchez
14.       Start a newsletter. Subscribe to a few newsletters to find out which newsletter service you prefer. A newsletter is something I did not do right away, but I wish I had. A newsletter is one of the best ways to reach readers and let your fans know when your next book is available. Get started as soon as possible.

15.       Start a Twitter Account.

16.       Start a Facebook account.

17.       Make a FREE website using Blogger or WordPress. Talk about whatever makes you happy.

18.       Once I began making money, I used Pixel of Ink, The Romance ReviewsThe Frugal eReaders, Digital Book Today, and Eye on Romance and Just Romantic Suspense to advertise. Now I also use Bookbub and Booksends. To see more about how I spent my advertising dollars visit WG2E to read an article I wrote in 2012.

That’s it. Those are the basic steps I took to self-publish. 

Need more help? There are plenty of helpful tips to be found on the internet, but here are few of my favorites:

More Self-Publishing Tips

Susan Kay Quinn’s Self Pub Basics (4 parts)
Author E.M.S. offers a wonderful list of websites where you can promote your work
Kimberly Killion - Writer Resources - she offers a great list of reviewers, places to advertise, contests you might want to enter, where to find royalty free music for book trailers, etc.

Brenda Hiatt - Show Me the Money - Brenda Hiatt has been taking surveys for years and collecting data on what authors are earning. Lots of interesting information on what’s possible when it comes to making money writing books. If you’re an author who has already published a book, feel free to share your numbers with Brenda. All information is kept confidential.

The Book Deal - An inside view on publishing - lots of great articles
Editors, Proofreaders, Copy Editors
Don’t forget to schedule in advance

Karen Lawson - Line Edit and Proofreading Service

JM Madden offers a list of editors for indie authors at

And just for fun, try "Grammarly - The World's Best Grammar Checker"
Don’t forget to schedule in advance

Cover Artists
Don’t forget to schedule in advance

Wicked Smart Designs

Again, JM Madden offers a list of cover artists at

Once your book has been released it's time to celebrate! It’s also time to think about what you can do to get exposure and promote you and your book. Don’t forget to put aside time every day to write your next book.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Take a deep breath and do one thing at a time. Nobody can do it all at once. Don’t forget to enjoy life.

One of the first things I decided right from the start was to stay positive. This is not a competition or a race. There are so many writers willing to help by sharing information and real data. Nothing is going to sell your book better than word of mouth. That’s why your product, your book, needs to be the absolute best it can be.

Believe in yourself. You can do it!