Self publishing – Tips and tricks

Hi all! Today I welcome Rekha to MFB. She’s truly a talented and interesting writer, so if you haven’t met her before, please head over to her blog and say hi. 🙂


Self publishing – Tips and tricks

Publishing hasn’t gotten so easy and hard at once. While traditional “biggies” in respective countries and small press have their hands full, more writers are seeking myriad opportunities to publish thanks to the eBook revolution.

Purists in the industry may frown upon self publish (now distinct from vanity publishing which incidentally was how some classic authors got their first book out), but it has produced quality works and authors who have later signed publishing deals. Whatever be the reason, writers travelling this route can avoid the “trash” box – the delete button on Ereaders and negative reviews with a few essentials:

1) Good Story: The classification of good differs but here it refers to stories of any length or genre that uses these elements well – characters, setting, plot with good scenes and crisp dialogues. As a self confessed advocate of self published writers, I have read books where these haven’t been explored properly.

2) Proof Read: Self publish doesn’t give the writer licence to upload works with typos and errors with grammatically and syntactically incorrect sentence structures. Don’t rely on spell checks. Get it beta read by test readers and critiqued by other writers.
Editor: Not all those who self publish can afford a top notch editor, but unless you have the qualifications for the said job, make use of a freelance editor especially in the case of single novels and series.

3) Formatting: Use professional e conversion and format services available. They are reasonably priced and save the trouble if one is not tech savvy. One can also use free formatting tutorials available for Kindle or with Smash words, and good ones provided by helpful techies and writers online. Don’t forget to earn a brownie point with the reader by providing a table of contents directly linking to chapters.

4) Book Cover: With thousands of books vying for customer attention, a book cover is the first step to pique reader interest. If you, friend or family are artists who are apt at photo manipulation and design software, good for you, else hire one. Here again, it doesn’t always cost a bomb, there are many artists on DeviantArt who produce exquisite work at economical rates.

5) Network: The book is being written, edited, and dressed to kill with a cover, now – before you hit the hit the publish button, would be a good time to create a author blog/website to attract prospective readers and meet other writers, send ARC’s to reviewers/review sites open to self published works, and get on book sites like Goodreads or Shelfari.

6) Marketing: The book is available for the world to see; it’s time to use various online options. Some are author interviews and blog tours, professional services like book tours and giveaways organised by book publicity websites, use of social media – twitter and facebook pages to spread the word, a book trailer if you have the inclination, free promotion schemes on seller sites and entering the book into breakout novels contests.

7) Other Stuff: Self publishing on established seller sites comes with the benefits of pre assigned ISBN numbers. But, be ready to juggle roles of an accountant, manager, assistant, publicist, and marketeer.

Tackle all of these and more importantly, get back to completing that book first – a successful self publishing career awaits you.

Thanks again for these useful tips, Rekha! Anyone who wants to book a GPF is welcome to contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. I have the 28th of September open if you want to post on the theme of Self-Publishing and Marketing, but there are also dates available in the next few months as well.

Have a great weekend all!


26 thoughts on “Self publishing – Tips and tricks

  1. Finding yourself a good editor is very important but I have found that most writers make very poor editors. Each writer has their own voice and this voice can seek to drown out the voice of another writer. It is possible to master your own voice and read another writer's work simply as a reader, but the best thing is to find a reader who is just a reader, an editor who can edit without wanting to rewrite.

  2. You have a valid point. That's the reason I emphasised on a beta reader who reads books of the writer's genre. An editor who dabbles in writing is in my opinion better than a writer who edits on the side.

  3. It sure is, Alex, but better than seeing sarcastic reviews all over. The writer may withdraw the book later on , but the first impression stays for a long time online and in the reader's mind. I have seen debutant authors put up a revised version – mostly for format errors or a few spelling errors when pointed by readers and grammar nazis resp. That is usually forgiven and overlooked but not a bad product.

  4. Great advice and just what those of us new to the business need to hear, so thank you very much. It is amusing to read this with hindsight, having just published my first novel, but how great it would have been if only I had applied the necessary foresight! I will learn in time for my next novel release and I will refer to this blog (which is now bookmarked) throughout the process. Thank you again.

  5. You are spot-on to say editors are essential. They catch more than the typos, but can pick out grammar problems as well as plot holes, etc. Best to make sure your finished product is the best it can be before hitting that Publish button. 🙂

  6. If I ever decide to self publish I am definitely hiring an editor. Critique partners are great for catching the glaring mistakes, but a professional editor is worth the price. Great tips Rek; thank for sharing.

    Hi Misha 🙂


  7. Great post. One thing I've realized is how time consuming getting the book ready is… Self pushing is so involved, I question if I have the time at the moment. 😦

  8. Yes, but a debut author often finds it difficult to market it before they actually have an almost finished product in hand. That's where a blog or a facebook page where you have a countdown of the progress helps.

  9. Wouldn't be related to the composer by any chance, would you? 🙂
    Every one learns from their mistakes, I hope. I wouldn't call this a mistake…3 years ago when I started writing again, I hadn't even heard of self publish.
    Well, I have a long way so will you…Your next book will get better in the writing department as well as the other aspects. I will check out your book.

  10. We have that one chance at getting it right if not perfect. With so many choices, very few readers will give a careless author a second chance…there are some genres and price ranges where they often get away with a sloppy product I guess, even passing under the noses of snobby editors at big publishers. 😦

  11. Hi Donna,
    Nice to see you here. Glad you liked them. Writers are indeed better off donning the creative role and letting a reliable editor push it to excellence.

  12. It is. Start small…if you have short stories, the 10000-15000 words ones, put them out as Kindle Shorts and see how you like the process. It isn't for everyone, but those who want complete control over their finished products or have been querying for too long without success should try this. Sometimes your book doesn't fit genres that publishers like, and small presses may not have the reach you are looking for.

  13. Thank you, Nicole.
    That's the beauty of a book cover – working on the marketing principle of window dressing. Beware, there are substandard books not worth the memory space behind beautiful covers and vice versa. Makes sense to check genuine reviews or the samples available – here again, since the best part of the book or the initial chapters are put for display, the rest of it may not live up to the promise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s