20 Essential Self-Publishing Tips for Newbies

If you are planning to self-publish a book of your very own, you should know that it is not an easy prospect. This is especially true if you are just starting out. Remember that self-publishing entails you to pay for the whole process, and do a majority of the work yourself.

With this in mind, you should have a good strategy to make the whole process as streamlined as possible.

1. Know the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing

When it comes to self-publishing a book as a newbie, you should at least know what’s in store for you. Remember that while self-publishing is a feasible option, it is far from perfect. It has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages of self-publishing, is that you hold your destiny in your own hands. You get to choose how you publish your book, when you start, and how you market it.

The drawback for self-publishing, is that you will have to do all the work yourself. This will also include paying for the whole process as well. Self-published books are also less desirable to traditional bookstores, and they may refuse to display your work.

2. Decide on a genre

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, it is now time to decide on a genre. Remember that your genre will directly affect your book’s success.

There are genres that are particularly popular and have fan bases that you could cater to. However, if you are going to choose a genre, you should make sure that you actually want to write for the genre.

3. Read books from your chosen genre

After deciding on a genre to write, you should take time to read books from this genre. This will allow you to learn about the best books in your chosen genre. It will also give you clues on what concepts are popular and which ones are overused. Remember that there are certain concepts that were once popular, but have since become clichés. As a rule, you should take note of these clichés and avoid them.

4. Know your target market

Aside from reading books from your chosen genre, you should also take the time to know your target market. This is the demographic that you will be marketing your self-published book to. When it comes to choosing your target market, you should base it on your chosen genre. Most genres already have a specific demographic that make up their fan base, so you should pattern your writing style and later your marketing strategy according to their needs.

5. Decide what format you will use

You should also decide what format you will use for your self-published book. While the most used format are printed books, you also have the option to publish your book in audiobook and eBook form.

The audiobook format gives readers a chance to enjoy your work without having to actually read it. They could listen to it as they do something else. If you are going to publish your manuscript in eBook form, you will be able to forgo having your book printed in physical form. Instead, it will be published in digital form, and read with eReaders.

6. Have a set budget

Before you start self-publishing your book, you should decide on a set budget. Remember that you will be paying for the whole process yourself, so you should be as efficient with your budget as possible. Take the time to assess the resources at your disposal. You should also research how much money and time it takes to self-publish a book.

7. Use various writing apps

When you write or do editing on your manuscript, it is very important that you get the best writing apps possible. Remember that no matter how good you are, you should still use writing apps to enhance the overall writing process. Try to download grammar and spell checker apps. There are a myriad of writing apps that you could install into your word processor, and it will surely help you as you write and edit your work.

8. Edit your manuscript

If you have already finished your manuscript, you may be tempted to start the self-publishing process right away. However, you should really resist that impulse. First you should have your manuscript edited as effectively as possible. You could do the editing by yourself, however, it is best if you have a professional editor conduct the editing for you.

By doing so, you will not only have an extra pair of eyes comb through your work, you will also be more confident in your work once you do have it published. Please remember that there are multiple levels of editing such as developmental editing, content editing, and line editing to name but a few. You should make sure that you have your editor conduct the editing process as thoroughly as possible.

9. Choose a great title

If you want your book to be as successful as possible, it is important that you choose a great title. Your title is very important because it will be one of the very first things that your potential readers will see of your book. If your title is subpar, then your book may be overlooked in the long run.  Your title must capture the essence of your book. The title must also be easy to remember and not overly long.

10. Invest in a great book cover design

Aside from a great title, you should also invest in a great book cover design. Your book cover design is also an essential way to attract potential readers. If you have book cover design experience, you could try to design the book cover yourself. However, just to be safe, you should just hire a professional instead. Remember that your book cover will be a big factor whether or not your book is noticed by potential readers, so it is worth investing in.

11. Utilize social media for your book marketing

Even before you publish your book, it is still a good idea to do as much marketing as possible. This will ensure that your works will have a fan base once it is released to the public.  You should use social media for your marketing. Try to set up various social media accounts on various online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. By setting up these accounts, you will have platforms where you could launch your book marketing campaign.

12. Set up an author blog

If you want to make your upcoming book as sought for as possible, you should set up an author blog. This is very important because your author blog will act as your main marketing platform. Even if you have yet to release your book, you could still create content that shows off your skills as a writer. Your author blog could also be used to keep in contact with your fan base. The author blog could even be used as an online bookstore from where you could sell your books.

13. Foster a fan base

Remember that you will be self-publishing your book. This means that you will need to do all the work for yourself. You will not have a team of book marketers that will market your book for you. As much as possible, you should foster a fan base that will be interested in your book once you do release it. Once you do have an author blog, try to have as many people subscribe and create an email list. After setting up an email list, you should set up an automated system where your subscribers will be notified of all your activities as a writer. This will ensure that your fan base will always be in the loop.

14. Know your printing options

Self-publishing a book as a beginner is quite a challenge, because you will do the work by yourself. Back in the day, printing a physical copy of a book was expensive because authors needed to hire a printing company, and print out a good number of books for book stores. This is financially risky for self-publishing authors because there is no guarantee that your book will sell.

However, with the print on demand service, these risks are minimized a great deal. The print on demand service is a printing option wherein you won’t have to publish your book in large numbers. Instead, a book will only be printed if a buyer purchases your book. This will take away the need to print your book in bulk, and lessen the financial risks in the process.

15. Reach out to publishing professionals

Although you are expected to do all the work by yourself, this does not mean that you could not ask for professional help. If you find yourself lacking in any aspect of the self-publishing process, you should not hesitate to get professional help. There are a myriad of great writing professionals that you could hire. Just make sure to check on their experience, and ask for a portfolio of their work. You are going to pay for their help, so you should ensure that the product you are getting is of the best quality.

16. Have your manuscript reviewed

After you finish writing your manuscript, it is always a good idea to have it reviewed. Try to reach out to various writers and ask them to review your manuscript. Please take note that not all writers are willing to review your work.

If they refuse, don’t take it personally. If a writer does agree to review your work, you should express your gratitude for their help. There is a chance that your manuscript will get a positive review, or a negative review. If you get a positive review, all’s well and good. However, if you get a negative review, don’t be insulted. Accept the review and take any advice or criticism with an open mind.

17. Choose an effective book distributor

When it comes to self-publishing a book of your very own, it is very important that you choose an effective book distributor. Remember that self-published books are not really a top-priority for most traditional bookstores. As a rule, you should strive to look for an effective book distributor. This will allow you to gain traction with established bookstores and increase your chances of selling your book.

18. Get ISBNs and Copyright your book

If you are going to self-publish your book, it is very important that you have the copyright for your book, and the ISBN as well. These two are very important because they are essential to getting your book published. Getting your book copyrighted is quite straightforward. All you need to do is go to Official Copyright Website, follow the instructions given by the site and then submit and pay the fee.

ISBN stands for international standard book number. It is a 13-digit number that is used to identify a book or book edition. If you are going to distribute your book in bookstores, libraries or wholesale, you will need to get an ISBN. Getting an ISBN is easy. You could purchase an ISBN through a certified source, or if you are hiring a self-publishing company, they will provide an ISBN for you.

19. Join writing groups

If you want to increase your chances of success, you should join writing groups. This is a great option because it will help you gain access to various writing organizations. By being a member of various writing groups, you will have access to experienced writers who will be able to give you essential tips on the self-publishing process.

20. Get professional help

Even though most self-published writers do a majority of the work themselves, this does not mean that you should follow their example. Doing all the work you may be possible, but it will also be an uphill battle. If you want to self-publish your book, and actually enjoy the process, you should get the help of a self-publishing company.

These companies specialize in helping authors throughout the self-publishing process. Aside from publishing your book, they will also cover the marketing and distribution for your book. You will be expected to pay a fee, however, the advantage of having skilled editors, designers, and marketing specialists do most of the work is worth it. Just make sure to research potential self-publishing companies before you start investing.


When it comes to self-publishing a book of your own, you should make sure that you know what you are doing. With these essential tips, you’ll be able to streamline the self-publishing process.

Become a Self-Published Author in 3 Simple Steps

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