Sunday, October 30, 2011

Keys to Self-Publishing Success

POD Publishing.  Predators & Editors. Writer's Digest. KONRATH. TriberrBIG 6.  Agent. No Agent. CREATE SPACE. LIGHTNING SOURCE.  LULU. Beta Readers. Social Media. Pay with a Tweet. Kindle Nation. Cover Art. Twitter? Facebook. Blog? Kindle. Nook. KOBO. PDF. MOBI. ePUB. Brick 'n Mortar. Linkedin. Formatting. Price Point? .wtf?

Confused about indie publishing?
Try this.


Publishing doesn't have to be complicated. 
In today's rapidly-changing marketplace, the process of writing and getting published is so overwhelming it can almost make your head spin. 

You have to blog, market your book, and "tweet". 

You can fill your life with everything except writing if you let yourself. Writing, it seems, has become more about social connections than actual writing, which is a good thing in its own way. But the process of indie-publishing, or "going rogue" as some like to call it, can feel overwhelming, even to the point of keeping you from moving forward. 

Don't let the excitement and social buzz short circuit your writing goals. Going indie is easier than you think. That's not to say that you won't work hard, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming, if you stick with the basics.

First of all, be aware that unless you get LUCKY, you may have to sell several novels before you see a regular income stream. Bestselling indie author, Dean Wesley Smith, recently told my writer friend Gerard de Marigny that if he wants to write full-time, he'll need at least 15 books published.

The keys are quality and quantity.

Don't get bogged down with the details because the process is not as difficult as it seems. If you have a good book, follow these simple and easy steps to publishing a quality product.

Step 1: Write your book. 

Step 2: Revise until your book is as good as you can make it. 

Step 3: Get a few proofreaders to look at your story, but DO NOT let them be your editor (my opinion).

Step 4: Hire a professional editor. You need an unbiased editor to pick your work apart line by line. Expect to pay anywhere from $5-8 per 1000 words. Don't worry about recovering the expense. Worry more about the quality of your work. I use Neal Hock. He's affordable. And he's good.

Step 5: Create a killer cover. You can do this yourself or pay someone. I make my own cover art. I do everything at and usually get nice comments about my book covers. A professional cover usually costs $200 or more. I'll make your cover for $99.

Step 6: Get your book formatted for ebook sales. You can use, but I think it's a hassle. I use Ted Dellaster from Dellaster Design. It usually costs around $50-$90, depending on word count, but he'll add pictures and links to your other books or other writers in your genre if you want to cross promote. The bottom line is, I am still 100% the publisher and I am ready to upload my work to all major ebook sellers without all the formatting hassles. 

Step 7: Upload your file, cover art, book details and set your price. I recommend $2.99 and under for a first-time author. 

Step 8: Repeat. Start writing your next book. You can market/seek reviews when you need a break.

There, wasn't that simple?

Publishing your book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other sites can be easy. I didn't touch on marketing because that's an entirely different conversation, and can branch into many arenas depending on your budget. You can start by visiting the nice folks at Indie Book Collective for marketing tips. You can get your book reviewed at my sister blog, The Kindle Book Review. I also recommend for free book publicity.

Don't worry about print yet. You are going to sell far more ebooks than print, hands down. 

Remain focused and think QUALITY. You never know, your story could really take off, but if it doesn't, don't let that bother you, because even the bestselling authors know that "books sell books". 

Keep writing. BOOM!

P.S. ~ Feel free to check out my books to the right (ebook or print) and investigate my interior formatting. I do that myself, too. 


  1. There are some fabulous tips in this article. It is direct, accurate and to-the-point. I've lived it and many of what is here is terrific advice.

  2. This is a great, simple list that everyone needs to see. Because each of these steps is vital and it's important for authors to have realistic expectations of how hard and not hard it can be so long as you do it right.

  3. Happy Halloween! This is so simple, but so hard, too. I think if I can get through the writing part, the rest will be easier. :-)

  4. I didn't know you did your own covers. They look great! I've bee researching a more affordable alternative to the $300-400 covers...I'm putting you on the list.

  5. I can't agree with this enough. This is the advice we give to every author who asks. Unfortunately, many authors don't want a simple answer.

    Write quality books, and publish them.

    This is the secret to success.

  6. This is all good and I find it the easy part, but selling them. I'm just starting, but it seems to me that marketing is the crazy thing. I guess I'll get into the flow of that too in time.

  7. @James~ Thanks. I appreciate you stopping by. Glad you got ahold of the reviewers. Let me know when you get 20 reviews.

    @Leah- I agree. It's simple, but there is a secret ingredient: discipline. If you are missing that, the list can feel unattainable.

    @Amber~ That is partially true. Writing, if you love it, can be easy, but for some people getting criticism is hard. That's why I enjoy using Neal. He makes suggestions, and I accept about 99% of his recommendations.

    The hard part is accepting that you need to write several more novels before you find your audience your audience, and knowing that it is actually rare that a first-time author hits the big time. The rest of us have too keep pumping out books BEFORE we get noticed.

    @Lynnette~ Yes. I do. Did you look through my author services page? But what do you think, is $99 a good price for the quality?

    @Indie~ I know. Sad. Reality will teach them what they need to know.

    Tahlia~ EXACTLY. That's why you need to write the next one and market when you need a break. Every successful indie author will tell you that the next book is your best marketing tool. Thanks for commenting.

  8. "You can market/seek reviews when you need a break" - nice ;-)

    thank you also for the links to info on reviews & free pr!

  9. Great advice but what do you recommend for those of us who want to go indie and speak? I have a "Gutsy Living" theme on my blog which I want to speak about and sell my travel memoir at the same time.

  10. A nice to-the-point blog. I'll refer people to it when I received those "How do I self-publish" emails.

    Just so writers thinking about self-publishing can have a little more info....

    I paid $50.00 per book for formatting. I have two different cover designers--one for my sweet historical Western romances, and one for my fantasy and science fiction. Price (depending on the cover)$50-90. I receive LOTS of compliments on my covers.

  11. Awesome information. I am really surprised with this topic. Keep up the good work and post more here to read. Logo Design


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