I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



Not sure what you mean by “delved” but if you were kinda “dipping your toes” or “experimenting” then it’s not a surprise you had problems finding traction. The self-published authors who are earning well are those that treat it like a business and are “scratching an itch” of the reading public…and doing it in a way that they recommend the books to others.

Self-publishing is very viable now, and each year it has become even better than the year before. So I see no reason it’s success won’t continue.


Many writers have written books on what they do for marketing. I suggest you look at someone like Chris Fox or any of the “also bought” books found on his book’s pages.


I agree on all points.


Good advice.


I shoot for 2,000 and usually get between 1,700 and 2,200.


I agree with most of what you said. A few exceptions.

  • I think a PR rep is very costly and won’t pay for themselves. Now, you might have a great one…and if so, fabulous but on average they are a waste of time.

  • I’m not a fan of free books – I’d rather see a free short story that provides a “lead in” to the novels. Some ue this successfully, but I wouldn’t start with it out of the gate. And DO NOT make anything free until you have plenty of reviews (at least 12+ on Amazon) and 25+ on Goodreads) and at least 3 books.


When it comes to rights indie is best because you keep all your rights. With Traditional you’ll have to give up, print, ebook, and audio and possibly foreign translations.


Right now the big five is REQUIRING audio rights - without exception. If you are going with a small press you may be able to keep those.

True, but my experience is the bar is so low, the chances of you triggering it are next to impossible. For instance, my book has to sell less than $9.61 a week for a full year before it would trigger a reversion. And even my poor selling books are making around $500 - $600 a week.


True on all counts.


I write under two pen names. Can I have two Goodreads accounts, one for each pen name?

On Amazon KDP, I have one account but two Author Central accounts.


Great idea. I probably will. There are a lot of people on here still deciding on trad or indie and not a lot actually know about going indie as an option (which I find weird). For me, it was a fast decision. I was on my draft 10 of my query letter when I realized that I want full control and I want to do my own marketing. Scrapped the letter and never looked back. It’s been an interesting experience so far.

p.s. Just got my physical ARCs today in the mail. It’s been such a long journey for me that I’m not even crying. I was told I was going to shed a tear, haha. But I guess I’m too nervous because of the Goodreads reviews that are starting to come in to be crying over my ARCs. :sweat_smile:


Anna Todd and Colleen Hoover (who publish their book traditionally) are both New York Times bestsellers self-published their latest books. Verity by Coleen Hoover and I believe it was Anna’s The Brightest Stars. The quality in the indie community is not the issue because a lot of indie authors (especially newbies) try to save on cover design, developmental edits or have their friends proofread. In my opinion, you need to invest something into making your book look as professional as possible. Get it to trad books quality as much as possible. I know romance genre in the indie community now lives by its own rules, but I think I think sometimes authors go overboard with the freedom. Again, that’s just me. I’m old school. I find freedom great but to the point. Getting too creative with covers or blurbs that is not someone close to the book industry standard can hurt the author too. I the balance is needed.


Yes, you can have two Goodreads accounts. You need two email addresses, but you can get an extra at gmail if you need.


Both options work. I’m glad you are finding an approach that works for you. Congratulations on your ARCs. I hope the reviews go well.


Yep, Colleen Hoover has ben very successful in self-publishing (I’m not familiar with Anna Todd) she writes romance, which works well for that genre.

I WOULD NOT recommend scrimping on cover design or copyediting. You CAN use beta readers for developmental editing. And I would say you have to MATCH traditional book quality.


Yup. Still too many self-pubbed novels are not on a par. The first pages get polished - the ones one can see with a view into the book - and then things go downhill from there. I had a couple of those recently and it drives me up the wall.
That’s just not okay. And it gives those self-pubbed authors who do go the whole hog a bad name.


True, but the one it hurts the most is the author who cut the corners. They’ll quickly fade to oblivion.


When it comes to design, of course, saving on the cover is not an option. You have to hire a professional designer. I’m pretty photoshop savvy and I can mock up a decent cover, but there are rules and guidelines a lot of people who don’t design covers for a living don’t know about: fonts, elements positioning, colors and other things (especially for full wraps). So, I definitely recommend hiring a professional designer, but my budget ratio for 1:10. I spent 10 times more on editing/development than I spent on my cover. The designers’ prices range anywhere from $100 to $1000 (and more), so there’s some flexibility to budget for that.

I would recommend a developmental editor for a newbie. I had two rounds of betas: pre-editor and post-editor. The things that I learned from the developmental editor are priceless. I am applying all that knowledge to my next project, but I think as the author starts releasing more books, using only betas is probably a good alternative too. I hope to get to that point in a couple of books.

As for copy editing, I agree. That’s where most my budget went: developmental and copy editing.

Anna Todd! If you’re on Wattpad, you need to know who Anna Todd. Just kidding. But yes, she made it big with her fanfiction she wrote on here, got a publishing deal, got a movie deal. She’s done very well. And she started writing on here. There was an interview with her recently (can’t remember what publication) where she shared her experience about self-publishing her latest work after being originally a trad author. It was an interesting read.

I’d say romance genre has been developing a little differently in term of self-publishing. I wasn’t reading much of it until I realized it’s something that comes naturally to me when I write. So most of my research is done in that niche. And I have to tell you, I’ve learned a lot of tricks for the past few months.

I’ll come back here in a few weeks after I see how things are going.



There are many good sources now for covers in the $250 - $450 range. Damonza is a great resource, also Joanna Penn has a blog post on other sites to find good covers. It’s not like when I started out in 2009 and there wasn’t an industry based around self-published support like this.

I’d disagree. I recommend people use beta readers and critique partners for a number of reasons.

  • You get feedback from multiple sources
  • Developmental editing is HIGHLY subjective, and an inexperienced one can do as much harm as good.
  • Developmental editing (if done by someone who knows what they are doing is VERY expensive).
  • A good developmental editor is in high demand, the bad ones have time on their hands. When combined with the second bullet this increaes your chances of “going the the wrong way” with you edits.

In many ways, if you can’t get your book structurally sound on your own (or through betas and cp’s) then you should go traditional as they have de’s on staff and you can be assured they know what they are doing.

We are in agreement about the importance of copyediting. Personally, I think paying two “reasonably priced” ces is better than one “very expensive” one. No one will find all the mistakes and two eyes make it more likely that errors missed by one might be picked up by another. When I was self-publishing I paid $350 x 2 for a 90,000-word book. These days I pay much more (but I’m also using the same copyeditors that my two big-five publishers employ, so they are at the top of their game.



I was wondering about what you said here. If an author were to hire an awesome editor for their manuscript–it’s still best to hire another one to go over the same manuscript? Even if the editor worked on books for the big 5 and/or worked on books that later won awards and were on bestseller’s lists.