How to Self-Publish a Book

The basics of how to self-publish a book

Welcome to the amazing world of self publishing!

These are the basic steps for self-publishing a book. It's an overview, not a guide. Entire books are written about this subject, so this is very bare bones but should give you a good place to start and give you a basic idea of what to expect.

CREATING

1. Write stuff. (You've done this part! Good job) Now figure out what genre you fit in (contemporary romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, ect). Look at Amazon and figure out similar works. Look at their covers, blurbs, excerpts, and categorization. You will want to mimic successful books.

  1. A note for e-readers: anything more than about 3-4 sentences looks like a giant wall of text on small screens. Thus, try and make lots of small paragraphs to make it easier to read.
  2. Do not use tabs to indent a paragraph. As your book will be read on a multitude of electronic devices, the tab is too much for most of them. Instead, in your word doc go to tools>paragraph>first line and set it to 0.3

2. Get a cover. A good cover is critical. People won't click on your book to even read the description if the cover doesn't catch your eye. This needs to be professional looking or no one will pick up your book. I don't recommend making your own unless you have a lot of practice making book covers. However, if you can't afford a premium cover there are plenty of premade covers available for reasonable prices.
(www.goonwrite.com andSteveRicherBooks.com/covers/ are great options)

3. Write your blurb. To write a good blurb, it should sound like a movie announcer is reading it. Keep it short and sweet. This is harder than it sounds, so keep in mind that this is what is supposed to entice a reader to click buy. Read the best seller blurbs in your genre to get good examples of the tone and wording your readers are looking for.

PUBLISHING

The big player is Amazon, especially with their Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. (Read about choosing between KU and being wide!)

*If you want to make going wide easy, you can distribute through draft2digital.com (D2D) or https://publishdrive.com. You upload your stuff and they will format it and send it out to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple. They just take a portion of your sales as payment for the service./

  1. Decide on a price. On Amazon, you will get 70% royalty if you price $2.99-9.99. If you price under/above that, you only qualify for 35%. Some countries are only 35% royalty rates, but they aren't the big ones.
  2. Format your book. There are services (like D2D) that will do this for free or you can pay someone to make it super fancy.
  3. Follow the directions on the screen and publish! It will take a few hours for it to go live, but you will get an email when it does.
  4. Be sure to use your keywords! This is how people will find you!
  5. KDP Select/KU: This is an OPTIONAL program for KDP authors, where you can choose to make your book exclusive to Amazon for a 90-day period.
  6. Please note that returns are common on Amazon. Their return process is crazy simple so a lot of people use Amazon as their own personal free library. If it feels like you are getting a lot though, check your formatting to make sure they are actually just being cheap and that there isn't something actually wrong.
  7. Rank: the more you sell the lower your rank. It is based on how all books in the store are selling compared to your book. The lower the number, the better you are selling.
  8. Physical copies: Kindle Publishing and IngramSpark are venues to use Print-on-Demand publishing. You will need to format and make a print cover for your book.

PAYMENT

  1. Retailers pay out 60 days after the end of the month, so you won't see any money for the first two months.
  2. Please note, you will need to pay taxes on this income at the end of the year. Taxes are not withheld like at a normal job.
  3. Don't get discouraged if you don't sell very much. It is a tough market to get into (especially with the first book). Get on some blogs, goodreads, send out to reviewers, tweet, facebook and promote.

My first book barely made back my costs (cover, physical copies, and some small promotional stuff). I took it as a learning experience and wrote something a little more mainstream (a billionaire novel).
Sometimes stuff just doesn't sell and then other times it will take off. The best advice is just to write more. If something doesn't sell, leave it. You can either spend your time trying to fix it (which might work) or you can write something new (which probably will work, and if nothing else brings in more readers).

Good Luck!