The author sat in her lair, brooding as she looked over the stack of unpublished manuscripts, letters of rejection, and the collateral clutter of their writing be ignored.
Her story was worthy, her words honed and powerful. Her voice had to be shared.
She could no longer knock at the ironclad doors. Instead, she would seek her own path, reaching directly to the readers of books.
10,000 adoring fans would one day be pounding at their door, asking for the acclaimed wordsmith.
First, however, she had to finish writing the novel.
Later this month, I am going to be a panelist at an event on self-publishing for the San Marcos Public Library in San Marcos, TX. I highly recommend the event for authors, aspiring authors, and awesome readers in the San Marcos/Austin/San Antonio area.
In preparation, I have been reflecting on my own independent publishing journey and the many mentors and resources I used to learn how to self-publish professionally.
With that, I’ve made this one-page self-publishing quick guide for all who are looking at self-publishing and saying, “What do the heck am I doing?” (download here).
As you’ll notice, there aren’t a lot of details. This guide is meant to help you know what to look up and research along the way, a guide to get you started.
However, the magic of the internet allows a lot more space than one-page. I’m not going to go in depth for each one, but I’m going to at least provide some online resources that will point you in the right direction.
If you have another great resource for new writers, please comment below.
If you have any further questions on any of these, please comment as well. I will either attempt to answer your question there or put together another blog post to go in more detail.
So, You’ve Decided To Be An Independent Author? (With Resources)
Do you know your brand?
- Who is your market?
- What is your genre?
- What do you bring to storytelling? Did you write a great book?
- I highly recommend Kristin Lamb’s blog and her books on social media marketing. Her tips on author branding and building a blog led to this website (yes, the one you are on right now)
- It’s important to know how to do an elevator pitch / quick summary of your book. This has some great tips: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-write-novel-in-two-sentences/
Have you learned the writing craft?
- Fiction University – blog.janicehardy.com
- Writing Excuses – a popular writing podcast by established authors – www.writingexcuses.com
- Recordings of NY Times Best Selling author Brandon Sanderson’s writing class at Brigham Young University – www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4ZDBOc2tX8&list=PLH3mK1NZn9QqOSj3ObrP3xL8tEJQ12-vL
- Writer’s Digest – Industry magazine. I don’t always agree with the advice and it tries to sell you on a lot of classes and paid resources, but there’s some good industry info in here – www.writersdigest.com
- Great info on the industry – http://maryrobinettekowal.com/series/debut-author/
Have you worked with Critique Partners?
- A critique partner is a fellow writer you can exchange chapters with and dig deep on major story issues. They can be a great partner in your writing journey.
Did you get feedback from Beta Readers?
- Beta readers are readers and writers who can tell you if your character, plot, and overall writing is working. Many authors use beta readers at different stages – some as a final check, some as a check between drafts.
- Here are some answers I got from other authors while working on beta reading my first published book, The True Bride and the Shoemaker: http://wp.me/p2RqKC-kk
Tools of the Trade:
When You Publish
Invest In The Business of Writing
Hire A Professional Editor and Go Through the 4 stages of editing:
- Substantive editing
- Line editing
- Copy Editing
- Resource: https://writethroughitblog.com/2014/08/13/whats-a-style-sheet/
Hire A Professional Graphic Designer
- Cover should match genre
- Be readable in thumbnail size
Formatting (The Inside of the Book)
- Do-It-Yourself using MS Word, Adobe InDesign, or Scrivener
- Hire a formatter
- E-book design is different than print design
- Decide Where To Sell Your Book
Where to buy an ISBN (Amazon provides identifiers free on Kindle and Createspace, but this lists Amazon as your publisher)
E-Book Vendors: (Your Main Market)
- Amazon Kindle; Kindle Select/Unlimited – https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US
- Multi-Channel Distributors:
- Good overview, despite some spelling errors: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/03/07/sell-more-books-on-amazon/
Pricing: Perma-Free, $2.99 to $4.99
For great info on the independent author market, visit http://authorearnings.com/
- Createspace (Amazon)- https://www.createspace.com/
- Ingram Spark – Can be ordered at Barnes and Nobles
- Indie/ Local Bookstores (Small Market)
Pricing: High enough to discount (ex. 2-3 times more than wholesale)
Launch Your Book
Send out Advance Reader Copies (ARC’s) for reviews
- Resource: (A couple years old but probably still useful) http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2014/08/list-of-online-reviewers-who-accept.html
- Reviews help your book get accepted for ad-sites
Have a great Street Team spread the word
Have a launch party to build momentum
Have a Centralized Marketing (All Channels Lead to One Place)
- Resource: Here’s a great example of experimenting with multiple marketing tactics – http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.com/2017/01/which-paid-marketing-works-and-doesnt.html
Have an Internet Presence (Select medium that works best for you)
- Social Media
- Resource: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/
- Wattpad – https://www.wattpad.com/ – Though, this can also be for getting feedback as you build your story.
- Amazon and Facebook ads
- Bookbub and marketing lists
- Resource: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/ebook-discovery-book-promo-services-review/
- Resource: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/2015/10/free-promo-sites-for-free-books.html
- Instafreebie and other magnet lists
- E-mail Newsletter
Make Some Author Friends
- Book signings
- Get involved in the community
- Regional Writers Group
- Online Writing Forums and Groups
- Clean Indie Reads – http://cleanindiereads.com/submission-process/
- One Stop Author Shop
The main point is to remember that publishing is a business. The more professionally you approach the process, the more likely you are to succeed.
Not mentioned in the list above is thinking about tax law and business matters. Here’s a great resource with more info: http://laurelgarver.blogspot.com/2012/08/if-you-publish-you-cant-avoid-this.html