23. How To Become Self-Published

Welcome to my blog on How to Become Self-Published.

Having completed your book it’s time to put on your other hats: You’ll need to be Author, Editor, Book Designer, Publisher and Marketer.

It’s not for the faint hearted and if you’ve never done any of these before then you are in for a challenging and steep learning curve. However there’s a lot of help out there, many independent authors are willing to help and websites are loaded with information. For example ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) is a helpful website with a friendly forum.

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If you are using Scrivener then it’s a case of following the tutorials to compile and extract your book in the correct format: Kindle, Createspace or Manuscript. If you are using Word then think about the layout of your book. For example, do your new chapters need to start on the right hand side of the page? Is this important?
You might like to include an acknowledgement section in the front for the people who have helped with your research or to those who have supported you.

Can you judge a book by its cover?
How do you know if it’s good or not? Just because you like it, does it mean others will?

You’ll need a book cover design. There are templates available when you upload your book to Amazon / Kindle but you may also look for a designer online. There are many of them so you can choose from an existing template or they can design one specific to your novel. You may be governed by budget. Book covers templates vary in price so look around and think carefully what type of cover will match the book.

There’s no point in having a sinister cover if you’re writing Chic Lit.
Check out the authors and books like yours and identify what makes their covers stand out. If you are writing more than one book in a series then you may want to ‘brand’ all your books and link them together under a series.

I have re-branded GOLDEN ICON, MASTERPIECE and BOOK OF HOURS under my Culture Crime Series. It tells the reader that I will be writing more in this genre.

Amazon Creatspace have a good website that helps you to upload your book and cover. You set the prices for the UK and the rest of the world. YOU are in charge of the marketing and distribution. After twenty-four hours the book is live.
Now that’s EXCITING.

But then no-one knows it’s there. How will you find trusted readers?

Tell friends and family but then what?
It might even take them ages to get around buying the book, even then, they might say they only read once a year on holiday.
That’s NOT exciting.

There are lots of things you can do to kick start your marketing: Start with market research: the local press – write an editorial about yourself and send a photo. Check with local book shops if they will stock your book, write a blog, offer discounts on your book, set up a mailing list of your readers and send them a regular newsletter. Set up your own website. Use social media: Facebook, Twitter, PinInterest, Instagram and uTube. Create Podcasts and videos.

The list is endless and time consuming. You’ll soon find that you spend more time marketing your book than getting on with the next one.

If you join the Alliance of Independent Authors you will find listings of publicists and marketers who will help you. Research and find forums where like-minded self-published authors write about their problems and help each other.

Writing is a lonely business and it’s great to know there are other authors out there who have been through the process and can offer you advice and the benefit of their experience. They help you, as you will one day help others.

REMEMBER: Having written over 90,000 words make sure you take time to get the editing, formatting, design and marketing done well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The most exciting thing about self-publishing is that YOU are in charge so, be proud of what you produce and what you put your name to.

Next blog post: THE END of Writing and Researching a Novel.


Book Cover Information – Amazon
Alliance of Independent Authors
The Creative Penn – advice on book cover design
Jane Friedman self publishing advice

Janet Pywell

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