Self-Publishing Tips

Many new authors need self-publishing tips to navigate the industry and understand their business. Yes, becoming an author is a business. When you write a book and wish to sell independently in the marketplace (without a traditional publisher), it’s good to know the ropes beforehand.

Self-Publishing Tips
Image by Lukas Bieri

Here’s a look at the steps to take on your journey as an indie author, and some useful terminology.

The Most Important of all Self-Publishing Tips — WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!

That’s what writers do. They write daily, whether organizing thoughts, brainstorming, outlining, or just jumping into a manuscript. There’s no better feeling than completing a book, and being a self-published author is a great achievement. But if you get stuck, I’m an email away for developmental or ghostwriting help. Check out this blog post for inspiration.

Have Your Manuscript Edited

Once a manuscript is written, a second pair of eyes is imperative. Editors are objective. They provide proofing/copyediting assistance. You can hire editors for line editing, developmental editing, substantive editing, and fact-checking as well. You’ll be amazed at the improvement when you step away from your “baby” and entrust it to an editor. Yes, it’s an investment in dollars but a step you can’t afford to skip, especially when self-publishing. Check out this page for details.

Photographs and Graphics

If you want to include photos, charts, graphs, etc. in your book, make sure you are the copyright holder or have permission to use the image. Your editor will probably mention this, or should. Every image originated somewhere and is someone’s intellectual property. Unless the image is yours alone, do the legwork. Find the source and request permission. If you get stuck, I can usually help.

Check out this blog post for more tips on intellectual property, copyright, trademark, fair use, quote permissions, photo permissions, and other challenging issues.

Have Your Book Formatted — Layout, Cover Design, Wrap, Trim

Few first-time authors have the technical know-how to format the interior of a book according to Amazon standards, let alone design a full-wrap cover. Never fear, for book design and formatting services are available (I recommend SuburbanBuzz Publishing). Your book formatter will help determine the trim size of your book. Remember that your Word Doc manuscript is 8.5 x 11, but your trim size may be 6 x 9 depending on your word count and contents.

Your formatter uses software to layout books, paginate, and determine how the front, body, and back matter look. Font size, font type, and custom flourishes will be decided. Generally, the formatter will also provide the ISBN (and barcode, if applicable). Most importantly, find a professional with demonstrated skills in formatting according to Amazon requirements and standards.

Your book formatter will also suggest how images should appear in your book and on your front and back covers. For instance, questions about full bleed photos, borders, and cropping are addressed. Photo placement is addressed. A book formatter will most likely verify that your photos are properly licensed or that you have permission to use them.

Lastly, your book formatter should be able to provide an e-book version to upload to Amazon as well.

Launching Your Book

Self-published authors are totally responsible for marketing their books. So, how will readers know your book exist if you don’t market it? Have you invested in a mobile-friendly, keyword-rich website? What type of free social media platforms are you using? What organizations and clubs do you belong to that might be willing to put a link to your book on their websites? Have you reached out to book bloggers, podcasters, and radio programs? Have you done a press release? Perhaps you can volunteer to speak at a book club. Certainly, you should be scoping out places for book signings depending on what type of book you’ve written. Churches, indie bookstores, small museums, coffee shops, schools, and more might be willing to host an event.

Self-Publishing Tips on Blogging

Are you an expert WordPress SEO blogger? If not, consider hiring me to improve your online footprint and draw traffic. Blogging is a blend of art and science. When done correctly, it’s complex and nuanced. You see, I write for human audiences and at the same time write for “bots” (or search engines). The goal is to feed the search engines with quality original content that has been powerfully optimized.

Search engines like Google love news and consider blog posts to be news. Thus if you blog consistently and inject fresh information into cyberspace — and also create posts that follow industry standards and best practices of optimization — then the search engines will eventually consider you to be an authority. When budgets are tight and you want the most cost-effective results possible, remember that a well-written blog can be a valuable and practical investment!

More Self-Publishing Tips

Let’s revisit the concept of you as a business owner, whether a sole proprietor or incorporated. Amazon does a great job of generating sales reports and data tracking. This is helpful for your tax returns — but your tax preparer or CPA will also encourage you to keep track of all the costs of writing, launching, and promoting your book. Note your mileage to events and book-related destinations. Note the cost of having your business cards designed and printed (and be sure you have them on you at all times to pass around). I recommend that you talk to a professional to ensure you are on the right track.

Let’s Talk!

Email me at to discuss your book project. I look forward to collaborating with you!