First of all, congratulations on completing your novel. I expect by now you will have done some research on how to self-publish, but if you are unsure, or feel lost, this page should help serve as a guide.
As a self-publisher, you will be taking on the roles that are usually performed by a traditional publisher. The aim, in my opiion, is to make your book as good as, or better, than those currently residing in bookshops.
If you have just finished writing [your novel]
If you have only just finished writing, put your manuscript away in a drawer and make a start on your next book. Taking a break from your newly-written novel will create distance and when the time comes to self-edit, you will see inconsistencies and errors far more clearly. I would recommend putting it away for at least one month.
Self-editing is the first stage of preparing your book for publication and there are numerous articles available online to help you with this. Some authors like to do the grammatical errors first, some prefer to start with content editing. There are no hard and fast rules as to how you should self-edit, so you can pick the method that works best for you.
After a rest period of several months, I sit back and read my manuscript as a reader, marking up scenes or characters that are weak, and any plot holes and inconsistencies. When I have fully completed this read, I will work on those scenes before turning my attention to grammar and punctuation.
Once this is complete, I ‘rest’ the book again to create distance and repeat the above steps until I feel it is ready for professional editing.
Feedback from your intended audience (alpha/beta reading)
**This is an optional step taken by some authors.
Prior to engaging a professional editor, you may decide to obtain feedback from your intended audience. It is quite commonplace for authors to put out a call for ‘beta readers’, but there are also designated groups on both Facebook and Goodreads.
Beta reading is usually free, but the results can vary. Some readers will provide a full report or answer questions poised by the author, while others will either drop off the radar, or provide very little critique.
There are different levels of editing and the author should be aware of which level they need before hiring an editor:
- Developmental editing – examines the ‘bigger picture’, such as story, plot, and technique
- Line editing – addresses the flow of information, tone, and style
- Copy Editing – addresses word usage, punctuation, and grammar
You can read more about assessing editors here.
Your cover is the first think a potential reader sees and should attract readers. A professional cover will indicate a professionally produced book.
While there are some sites you can use to auto-format your ebook (and some of these will create a paperback from these files) I would recommend having both your ebook and paperback professionally formatted.
Publication is the process of uploading your ebook and/or paperback to sites such as Kindle Publishing Direct, Draft to Digital, Smashwords and whereever else you wish to sell your book.
Your Author Platform is your ‘base’, whether it is a website or a Facebook group or page. It is where you will strive to build a mailing list and promote your book from.
There are various ways to market your book:
- Blog posts
- Social Media
- Facebook ads
- Amazon Marketing Services ads
- Paid newsletter advertising
- Newsletter swaps
- Local radio/newspaper interviews