Do you want to know how to self-publish a book or an ebook?
It’s quite easy to do once you learn the basics.
Can you succeed in self-publishing books and ebooks?
Yes, many self-published authors and writers are achieving success by taking control of their work and becoming author-publishers.
While some indie authors work full-time, others use self-publishing as a part-time activity and are satisfied keeping their work as a side income.
As with any occupation, the saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get, applies to self-publishing.
As long as you provide a quality product (a good book) to the market, you can expect to sell copies of your print books or digital books.
But, you need to be realistic about your prospects.
Ebook and book publishing is a competitive and volatile market. Be prepared for some ups and downs along the way.
Apart from money, though, other reasons attract many new authors to self-publishing.
Reasons to self-publish your book
New authors use self-publishing for many different reasons.
Thousands of independent authors are finding niche markets for their books.
But for every author, the motivation to write and publish a book is different.
Here are some reasons to publish a book that you may not have considered.
You have a story to tell
There is no excuse to keep it to yourself any longer.
Perhaps you have written a manuscript and left it sitting in a bottom drawer for years.
Or you have it hidden away in a Word file on your computer or backup disk.
There are many new authors publishing in traditional fiction genres such as romance, science fiction or fantasy, and paranormal.
Nonfiction genres including memoirs, true life, and self-help books are also popular for new authors.
It is easy to publish your book on Kindle or iBooks and let people have a chance to read your story.
Even if only a few people read it, your story will, at last, be out of the bottom drawer and available for people to read.
No more rejection letters
Rejection letters from literary agents and publishers will be a thing of the past as soon as you self-publish.
As will the shedding of tears that your postie endured kindly, any time he had to deliver the bad news to you.
When you self-publish your book, don’t forget to give the postie a signed copy.
You write in an obscure genre
You have had little interest from traditional publishers in publishing your work because it doesn’t fit into a standard genre.
Self-publish, and perhaps you will discover that there are people out there who share your point of view or interest.
There are people out there who want to read about breeding and house training snakes. You will never find out unless you try.
Satisfy your dream
Fulfill your dream by self-publishing one print-on-demand copy of your book and then have it sit proudly on your bookshelf.
Place it right alongside, or in between your favorite books.
It is a very cheap, easy, and highly effective way of impressing your friends and family or perhaps your boss if you invite him or her to dinner.
Release your feelings
Letting your feelings free through writing is perfectly normal. It has been the starting point for more writers than you can imagine.
It is a cathartic process for sure. But when you write a story with genuine passion and emotion, it has a far better chance of being a publishing success than a how-to book on beekeeping.
You will never know unless you try and see what happens,
You have a theory
You have an interesting theory, especially a grand conspiracy theory, and you have told everyone you know.
You can let more people in on your belief or theory with a book. I, for one, adore a great conspiracy theory and still idolize Erik von Daniken.
If you have sound knowledge on a topic that you consider yourself to be an expert, share it with readers.
It doesn’t matter what your special knowledge is about.
There will always be at least a few people who share your interest and passion – from aardvark grooming through to zymurgy, which is one of my favorite subjects.
I will save you heading off to your dictionary. Zymurgy means the study or practice of fermentation in brewing, winemaking, or distilling.
Use a pen name
You can use a pen name if you are a tiny bit shy about what you are writing.
Self-publishing has made naughty quite okay now, and popular in fact.
So why keep those juicy little secrets all to yourself? Write a book.
Improve your CV
Increase your employment opportunities by having a self-published title or two listed as personal achievements.
It will impress prospective employers when they see a section of your CV titled Publications.
But don’t use my previous idea of using a pen name to publish stories. Think about writing on a suitable topic for inclusion in your CV.
Economics, sales management, or political drama might be good subjects.
Self-publish because you can
The keys no longer belong to publishing companies, who were the publishing lock keepers for decades.
Everyone today has the ability, means, and freedom to express themselves in writing and publishing a book.
Writers have the right to say what they think. And now you can write and find readers with that same freedom.
There is no need for you to wait any longer.
Where and how to self-publish
If you are new to self-publishing, here are your starting points.
There are two options available to you if you are self-publishing for the first time.
One is to pay a publishing service a lot of money to do all the work for you.
Two is to self-publish yourself for free, or at least with very little outlay.
The second option will be far more attractive for most new authors.
If you are considering paying someone, don’t rush in too quickly.
The tools and services they will use will be the same as you can use if you do it on your own.
Think very carefully before paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for something that you can easily do yourself.
Where do you start when self-publishing for the first time?
When you finish writing your book, you will need to edit and proofread your manuscript carefully.
After that process, it’s time to leave your keyboard.
Now start doing a few days of reading, research, and learning about self-publishing and getting your book available for sale.
Three principal self-publishing services provide their services for free. You can also choose to use other providers that offer to publish for a modest cost.
If you use any of these, your book or ebook will be available worldwide via most of the major online book retailers.
The five most popular self-publishing services
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). KDP is Amazon’s ebook publishing service for Kindle ebooks, and it also has a print on demand service for paperbacks.
As far as book sales go, Amazon KDP or KDP Select is the undisputed market leader in the publishing industry.
Amazon also offers the inclusion of your ebook in Kindle Unlimited.
Smashwords. A publisher and distributor of ebooks to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Scribd, amongst others.
Draft2Digital (D2D). Similar to Smashwords, Draft2Digital is an ebook distributor to Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and Scribd.
Blurb. You can self-publish high-quality trade books and paperbacks with Blurb.
You can also publish a Kindle ebook version and make both versions available for sale on Amazon and other online retailers.
Lulu. It was one of the first companies to offer self-publishing. Lulu provides a similar service to Blurb.
All of these service providers have well-written Help sections that will help you on your way.
There are many other publishers you might also consider. You can refer to our article listing the most reputable publishers.
Preparing your manuscript
We have published many articles about preparing and formatting a manuscript for publishing.
You can also read the Smashwords Style Guide.
It is a free ebook that explains in detail how to prepare a Word file for ebook self-publishing. I recommend it for authors new to self-publishing.
The advice and preparation steps in the Style Guide will make sure your file is ready for all ebook publishing platforms.
Your manuscript will be ready for publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital.
If you want to publish in paperback, there are a few providers. From my experience, Blurb, Lulu, and KDP are good choices.
For print books with KDP, there will usually only be a charge if you order proof copies or wish to buy copies of your book.
The prices are very reasonable, though, at around $3.85 per copy, plus postage for a 250-page book.
Your royalty rate on book sales will vary somewhere between 60% to 70% depending on which self-publishing service you use.
Learning how to format the interior and cover for a paperback takes a little more work than for an ebook, of course. A good starting point is our article on book design and formatting.
Book and ebook covers
Book covers have particular requirements depending on how you intend to publish.
Paperback covers need to be of very high resolution and exacting dimensions. It is one part of the self-publishing process that I always believe is worth spending a little money.
Ebook covers are not quite as demanding.
While they don’t need to be of the same high quality as paperback covers, ebook covers still require an eye-catching design.
So avoid trying to make a homemade cover yourself in Word. There are many ways you can create an affordable or even free ebook cover.
But I always believe that t is better to invest a little money with your choice of one of the many professional cover designers available for hire on the Internet.
More Reading: How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book?
Getting started in self-publishing
Publishing your first book used to mean months or years trying to find a literary agent.
It was a long and challenging process finding publishing houses willing to give you a chance at being a first time published author.
Alternatively, it was not uncommon to spend a fortune with vanity presses.
Today, however, the easiest and quickest way to get your book published is to use free ebook and paperback self-publishing services.
You know how to write, but you might need to learn how to self-publish.
Just Publishing Advice gives new and not so new self-publishing authors all the help, tips, and tricks, and how-to guides you will need.
You can read the articles and guides to help you get your book self-published and in front of readers.
Learn how to use Amazon KDP to get your books on Amazon and how to choose between Smashwords or Draft2Digital if you decide to use open publishing to access more retailers for your published books.
Learn how to prepare, self-publish and market an ebook
Learn how to self-publish an ebook and promote and market it using categories and keywords.
Also, how to leverage social media to get your title in front of potential readers and help your book sales.
For almost any question you have about self-publishing an ebook or book, you will probably find the answer on our site.
There are over 600 self-publishing articles on our site covering topics including how to self-publish an ebook or a print on demand (POD) paperback.
There are also many tips about how to use advertising, promotion, and blogging to increase your book sales.
Other topics include book editing, ebook formatting, author promotion, marketing, using free ebooks, and series starters to gain traction, as well as how to plan online promotion.
Many authors choose to become independent publishers. Self-publishing is now accepted as a mainstream part of publishing – because it sells books.
A lot of indie authors have achieved great success by deciding to go it alone and become both authors and publishers.
If you have written a book and now want to move towards getting it published, nothing is standing in your way of becoming a success story.
All it takes is a little time to learn how to format your manuscript in Microsoft Word, and you will be ready to self-publish an ebook or paperback in a very short time.
We post new articles regularly and also update our existing posts when trends or opportunities develop.
So don’t forget to bookmark our site and come back for all our new self-publishing articles.
Self-publishing advice at your fingertips
Finding a self-publishing article on your topic of interest on our site is easy.
Use the search box at the top of every page to find the precise information you are looking for or need.
Alternatively, you can select one of our categories in the main menu.
There are thousands of indie authors who, like you, started with little or no knowledge about self-publishing.
But they are now published, selling books and earning book royalties.
All without having to pay a cent, or at least, very little money, to do so.
It is a very different path to finding a traditional publisher, but one that can be very rewarding.
Take the time to read and learn how to market your book. Ask questions on community forums and social media and subscribe to self-publishing advice blogs.
You will have access to all the expertise you need to self-publish your book in a very short time.
Good luck with your publishing adventure. And fingers crossed that once you are a published author, your book might be a bestseller.