How I Self-Published
Today I’m talking about the mechanics of self-publishing. Disclaimer: this isn’t a comprehensive guide, nor is it the only way you can do things. This is just the steps I took and what I recommend from what I know of the trade. So here we go.
So step one is of course writing the book because you can’t go anywhere until you have something to publish. And by this, I’m not just talking about first drafts. I’m talking draft 1 through 7 or whatever it takes you to have a polished story. I’m talking about critique partners and beta readers and rewrites. And yes, if you’re self-publishing, you could theoretically publish draft 1, but I don’t recommend it. I don’t think anyone does.
Step two: hire an editor. I can’t stress this step enough. Yes, it costs money, but all authors need an editor, even traditionally published ones, because as the author there are simply mistakes you can no longer see after so many drafts. You want to publish the best version of your work that you can and you want your readers to believe you’re credible, so an editor is key.
Step three: hire a cover designer. The reason for this is also credibility. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but we know we all do. Your book could be amazing, but if the cover doesn’t look professionally done, people won’t pick it up. It’s the simple truth. A good cover designer will also know how to create a cover that will sell for your specific genre because there are certain nuances to it that not every person, or graphic designer for that matter, will know.
Step four: formatting. Now, this step you can do yourself, but not without learning from a professional. I format my own books with help from free tutorials at diybookformats.com. I highly recommend. This is obviously the cheaper method, but you need time and patience. If tech isn’t really your thing, I would definitely go for hiring a formatter. And don’t forget you need two formats: one for ebook and one for paperback.
While all this is happening, you should also be considering which platforms you want to publish your book on, because there are a few options. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) is probably one of the easiest and most popular options. It allows you to create both a paperback and ebook for free and then they make a percentage of every sale. KDP also allows ebook preorders which can be crucial for Amazon rankings.
Another option is Ingram Spark, which does paperbacks. Ingram Spark allows paperback preorders, but they charge an uploading fee, so I don’t use that platform at this time.
KDP is my go to and just before the publication of Sacred Ruse, I discovered Draft 2 Digital, which is a service that distributes your ebook across multiple other vendors like Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, to name a few. There are a ton of others I’m sure, so make sure you do the research and decide what’s best for you.
Step five: proof copies. Once you’ve decided on your platforms, you can upload your formatted manuscript and order a proof copy or two. Proof copies allow you to see what your book looks like, both inside and out, before you hit publish, which is super important if it’s your first time. Personally, I order two proof copies. The first I use to do one last final read through for mistakes and the second I use to double check my last changes. I also know of people who give proof copies to friends or family to proofread as well. It never hurts to have another pair of eyes on your work in the final stages.
And well, the last step is to hit publish on your chosen date. This is, again, my own personal process and I don’t dive deep into any of the stages for sake of blog length. If any of you are interested in a deeper explanation of the steps, let me know and I can definitely do a blog series on it. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed this quick oversight and I’ll be back soon with a post on Sacred Ruse.