As an editor, I’ve had the opportunity to help many fiction and non-fiction authors self publish their written work. If you want to write and self publish a novel, there’s a certain process that you should follow. I’ve compiled a list of what the successful self published authors I’ve worked with do so you can experience similar success rates.
Steps to Self Publish Your Novel
- Conduct Market Research — if your book doesn’t have a place on bookshelves, it won’t sell. See what readers buy and what similar titles cover.
- Plan Writing Time — we’re all busy. If you don’t schedule writing time in your planner or digital calendar, it’s not going to happen. Plan on spending 10 weeks drafting the first draft.
- Put Writing Away — for at least a month, put your first draft in a safe spot on your hard-drive and forget about it.
- Revise — before sending it to an editor, revise your work. Read through a printed copy from start to finish and make changes that need to be changed.
- Get an Early Reader — get someone you don’t know to read it and provide you with honest feedback. Consider having several people read it to provide feedback who will tell you the truth. Invest in a professional novel critique. Make changes that make sense to you. Early readers save you time and money in the editing process.
- Invest in a Professional Editor — bad books don’t sell. Make this your mantra. Invest in professional editing so your book can compete. Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,000 for most editors. This is not where to skimp.
- Order a Book Cover — don’t try to make your own book cover. Hire someone to create a book cover that reflects your book and what works in the marketplace.
- IBSNs and Copyright — secure these if you plan to. (Hint: you should plan on it).
- Formatting — if your editor doesn’t format books, find someone or pay for software that formats books properly for print and digital versions.
- Distribution — this is what people commonly think of when it comes to self publishing. You need someone to print copies of it and a company that makes it available as an ebook. I recommend Amazon and CreateSpace, as long as you don’t buy any extras from them. Save your money for where it counts.
- Marketing — you need to market your book for it to sell. Write guest blog posts. Go to local author fairs and events. Do what it takes to sell your book.