10 Easy Steps to Self-Publishing

You’ve written a book and would like to be an independent author, not tied down to one publishing company that’ll eat a huge chunk of your royalties. Now what?

Firstly, congratulations for deciding to take the leap! We don’t need to tell you how daunting this decision is, but don’t panic – it’s really quite easy, as long as you put in the necessary effort and time.

To make the process seem more manageable, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to indie publishing.

1. Make sure your book is self-edited, beta read by at least three people (or more if you have available readers), and professionally edited and proofread. No matter how good your marketing skills, they won’t do you any good if you don’t have a high quality product.

2. Ensure you have a professional cover. If you have graphic design skills, you can design the cover yourself, but it’s important to ask for peers’ opinions on the cover before you publish. Other writers can give invaluable advice and insight into what does and doesn’t work on a book cover. As with all things, listen to all the advice, consider it, and then discard what you feel isn’t right and make any necessary changes before publishing. Your cover is the face of your product, and should reflect your book’s contents.

3. Have a back cover blurb ready. This should be between 200 and 300 words, no longer.

4. Draw up a list of key words that describe your book. What words or phrases will people Google if they want to read this type of book? You will need to insert these key words or phrases when you publish your book, for SEO purposes.

5. Do some research on book pricing before deciding on a price for your book. Smashwords’ Mark Coker gives some good advice and insights regarding ebook pricing.

6. Choose a distributor, but beware – many of them are sharks. We recommend Smashwords for ebooks, but if you’ve found another that’s just as good or better, please share it with us by commenting on this post.

7. Announce your soon-to-be-published book. Write a pre-publication press release announcing the release of your book – this will help to drum up interest before your book is published. Make the announcement on your blog too, and share it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, including any writers’ forums you’re a member of. You can download a free press release template from our website.

8. Publish your book, then post a press release announcing it, and update your blog and social media accounts too.

9. Get stuck into marketing your book. There are many ways to market your book, from the more conventional to the vaguely strange and outright weird. For some marketing ideas, start with Mark Coker’s Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (it’s free) and, if you have some money to spend on marketing, take a look at some of Fireblade’s marketing services.

10. Start writing your next book, and post updates on your blog and social media accounts to keep readers up to date on the progress. The most successful writers are usually the most prolific, so write as many books as you’re able – and always remember: high quality is vital.

The above steps are the most basic steps to independent publishing. If you have any other marketing ideas or feel we’ve left out an important step, or if you have any questions, please let us know by commenting on this post.

Happy writing and good luck!

About Fireblade Publishers

Fireblade Publishing is a one stop publishing service that approaches every aspect of the publishing process with passion and dedication.
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12 Responses to 10 Easy Steps to Self-Publishing

  1. Fantastic! Thanks, Michelle 🙂

  2. Very nice check list. Nothing new, but covers all the basics and I’m sure new authors will find it very useful!

    • Thanks for your comment, Michelle. I remember how daunting and complicated it all seemed when I first started publishing, hence this post. It’s aimed at the true beginner – as you say, nothing new here for those who have already published.

      • That’s exactly what I meant 🙂 Not much here for someone like me who has been through thousands of self-publishing posts in the last few years, but definitely of use to someone who’s overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information the first time you step into it.

        • Incidentally, is there any topic that you would find useful at this point in your writing career? While we enjoy making it easier for the newbies, we still want to help the old hats, so some of our posts will be geared towards more established writers who already know the basics.

          • I have read all the usual advice, but every once in a while I still encounter someone with odd ways of coming up with inspiration or very unique marketing ideas. That’s the kind of thing that could interest me.
            At the moment, I’m also preparing for attending my third convention as an author, so it could also be fun to read about others experiences with meeting readers face-to-face, since most of us self-published authors always talk about what to do on the internet!

            Think outside the box 🙂

            • Ah, then you might find something of interest in the marketing guide we’re in the process of putting together for publication on Smashwords. Most of the guide revolves around free book listings and author promotions, but there is a chapter near the end on out of the box promotions. Regarding inspiration, it’s hard for me to decide what everyone’s heard and what might be new to many authors, because I’m lucky enough not to battle with a lack of inspiration – my stories tend to jump into my head and demand to be written. I think we do have a post on inspiration lined up for our blog sometime in the next few months, though. Hopefully there’ll be some new ideas in there.

              • Inspiration isn’t my biggest problem either(that would be motivation between writing my favorite scenes), but it always good to look for new ways to get ideas. I keep a stock of extra ideas on an USB-harddrive if I should ever need them!

                The Smashword thing sounds interesting, I will be looking forward to it!

                • I have a special document where I make notes of any new ideas that can’t be written immediately. If I didn’t do that, I’d forget half of them.

                  We’d be happy to send you a beta copy when it’s finished, if you’d like? In return for either an honest review once it’s published, or private feedback if you think it’s rubbish (so we can ‘unrubbish it’ before we publish).

                  • Well, if you need a beta reader, I will be happy to help, but otherwise I will be just as happy to leave a comment after it’s published!

                    • We haven’t lined up any beta readers yet, because it might be a few months before it’s ready. I’ve listed you as a beta now if that’s okay? Then I’ll contact you when the time comes and hope that you’re available then. Most of the chapters are run of the mill advertising with links to a million and one places listed under chapters like ‘free books only’ or ‘Amazon only’ so authors don’t have to waste their time on sites only to find they can’t advertise there anyway. So it’s mostly that one chapter on out of the box promotions that it would be great to have your opinion on, though you might find the listing sites handy too.

                    • Sure! I’ll probably have forgotten all about this when you contact me, but hopefully I won’t be too busy to give feedback on a single chapter!

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