What do you know about self publishing?


Hey, guys! Down the road, I know that I would like to publish some books, but I don’t truly have too much knowledge about it. What do you guys know? Any advice, warnings, or tips?


I’ve never self-published, but I’ve purchased several self-published books and I beg you to hire an actual editor and find some critics to clean up the book. Run it through as many people as you can. I’ve purchased so many on Amazon that are full of mistakes and other issues that should have it been fixed prior to publishing.


If you’re planning to self-publish, some companies exist to help ease you into the whole process, and they’ll offer their editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, and/or distribution services. If you decide to get help from one of these companies, make sure to do your research well. They might be a scam after all, or maybe they’re legit, but they’ll try to keep the rights to your story. Just be sure to play it safe and choose well.


You should try posting this in the #industry-insider and get their thoughts.


Self-publishing is hell … unless you have an important community of readers to count on, otherwise you’d waste your money in advertising without getting anything in return.

DON’T TRUST vanity publishers they are only printers, thieves. They will take your money and you will never hear about them. It’s better to be completely self-published than to contact those greedy a*******

The best option is to be published by traditional publishing companies, you don’t pay for anything and they take care of all the process. However, not all publishers are trustworthy, you better contact some authors to have their opinions about their publishers before signing any contract. I am a former published novelist, I used to be published by two different publishers - one for my novels and another for my poetry - but they were seeing me like nothing but a banknote plate, the first was worse than the second. I ended up terminating all my contracts and preferred to focus on my studies and career rather than to make the wealth of some unworthy businessmen - because that’s what they are businessmen, the love of literature? A myth! When you handle all the sleepless nights and headaches to get 10% of your rights, you become worthy of pity, alas that was my case. Now I learn English and learn to write in a new language, I do it for free and share love with my readers … and I am a happier writer than I have ever been.

I am not telling you to give up on your dream, DO NEVER GIVE UP! I just shared my experience with you because once I was like you, me too I wanted to be a published writer, not a self-published but a published one and what I found behind the business smiles and the pretty façade doesn’t repay for all my efforts. My advice to you is, if you want to publish yourself your own books, to choose a good platform and work firstly on building a community by exchanging with readers and self-published authors to know their feel and thoughts. As the saying goes, Ask a man of experience and don’t ask the doctor!

Good luck !!! :yum:


Having recently self-pubbed a memoir, I can tell you that it takes a lot of work. The good part about self-pubbing is that you’re in control. That bad part about self-pubbing is that you’re in control. It’s all in your hands. You’re in control of the price, when you are going to go live with it, how many copies you’ll print, how you’re going to promote the book and where, etc. The schedule of events for me went as follows: first I had to finish writing the book. Then I had to pay an editor about $300 to clean it up. This is a must. While she was doing that, I had to find someone who could do a decent job designing both the front and back covers. That cost me about $75, which is super cheap, but I was lucky and had a graphic design expert just down the street who didn’t charge much. You should plan on between $150-200, at the least. About this time I had to buy a set of ten ISBN’s from Bowker, online. Without the ISBN number placed by the bar code on the back cover, you cannot sell your book in any brick and mortar store like Barnes and Noble, etc. That cost about $275 for the set of ten- but those numbers will last you quite a while. (You can buy them one at a time, but you’ll pay through the nose. Once you get the cleaned up manuscript back, you need to find some online business like CreateSpace or Kindle or IngramSpark to take your finished MS and cover files and make a book out of them. You also have to pay for any service charges they might bill for. They will tell you how much your cost per book will be, so that you can figure out how much to actually charge. Once everything is ready, they will send you proof copy to approve. Then you tell them how many copies of the book you want to have shipped to you. If you order 20, and the per book price is six bucks, you’ll need to pay them $120. It sounds like a lot of money, but remember that you can charge whatever you want for the books. Then comes the golden day when you receive that first box of books- and I have to say it was exciting for me to open that box up and handle MY BOOKS. There is more to the process than this- like figuring out how the hell you’re going to promote the books- but that takes research to figure. Honestly, that’s the one area I still don’t have figured out. But my book is for sale on Amazon, so that’s one more thing checked off of my bucket list. To repeat, you need to do some research, then make a plan and a checklist. One book I suggest getting is Helen Sedwick’s “Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook” (www.helensedwick.com). It has checklists and great advice aimed at self-publishers: how to move from manuscript to book; how to copyright; why ISBNs are important; advice on marketing and distribution- and much more. Self-publishing is very rewarding, and you learn a lot about the business. But that’s the rub- you are in business for yourself, so you have work like a self-employed person would. One other book I suggest getting- at least in eBook form, unless you can afford the ten bucks or so for the hard copy- is Chris McMullen’s book “A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon.” There are other books out there, but this one helped me so much with details about page size, formatting of eBooks vs. hard copies, and so much more. Good luck and contact me if you’d like more info. Just don’t ask me about marketing or promotion …


Thank you! I’m definitly going to do as much as I can where editing is concerned!


Thank you for your input! I know it’s a tough business. Very intimidating stuff!


I’m going to tag @XimeraGrey and @MichaelJSullivan (hope you guys don’t mind, I think you would be able to contribute more then I would).


This was very helpful! Thank you so much!


Thanks! Looking for all the information I can get!


Both self-publishing and traditional are viable paths. But which one is right for you depends on (a) your goals (b) your abilities and © the type of book you are writing.

In general, self-publishing is MUCH harder than traditional (because you have to do everything a writer does AND everything a publisher does), but for those that CAN do both, the rewards are greater (Higher income per book, more control, better money overall).

If you do go self, go the DIY route. In other words don’t use any of the self-published houses like Xlibris, or iUniverse. They are (a) over priced and (b) not very good. It’s much better for you to hire your own freelancers for copy editing and cover design then set your price yourself and post to Amazon (KDP), Barnes and Noble (Nook Press), and use either Draft2Digital or Smashwords for the other venues such as iBooks and Kobo.

I’ve done both successfully - I have 11 books published with 2 big-five publishers across 3 contracts, and I’ve self-published 8 novels so I know a lot about both but your question is a little open ended. If you could be more specific I could better assist you.


You might want to ask this in the Industry Insider club :slight_smile:


Hey there!

I’ve moved your thread to the Industry Insider section, as it’s better suited per your questions.

Thank you,

Nicole - Community Ambassador


I haven’t truly self-published (professionally), so it’s hard to say from experience. However, I have some knowledge on it. c:

First of all, when it comes to self-publishing, you act as everything… meaning that you’re the publisher. The problem with this is how you have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. The editors, the cover designers, a photographer if needed (for the cover), marketing (this would’ve happened anyway—most publishers don’t market your book for you), and much more. The cost of self-publishing can be a lot (a couple thousand dollars, perhaps more), because you’re the boss of everything. This is the exact opposite of traditional publishing (which is free, but a percentage of your earnings gets taken out and handed to everyone—the term would be “they get paid when you get paid”).

The next thing you have to know is what platform you want to use for forming everything into that professional end product. For example, Lulu.com, Amazon (CreateSpace) or other places. Some places—such as the ones I mentioned—are free of charge, however, they’re often used by beginners. I suggest looking into some of the other major platforms and see where it works for you. But do understand that some platforms ask for a price, so beware of that.

Now, when you end up self-publishing, you have to make sure that the story is at its best. It has to look professional… many self-published books end up missing this point. Even I did. When we think about self-publishing, we think of something that we do like on Wattpad. We do a few drafts and then say, “Oh, it’s ready for publication.” So we put it on Amazon and let it roam free. But this isn’t how it works. You need a professional editor—or more—to comb through your story. You need beta readers, critique partners, and more. You need to make sure the story is close to perfect… inside and out. This is because if you have errors in your summary, in your author bio, in anything… people will not buy it. If your cover isn’t done correctly and it looks like a toddler took the photo, people will not buy your book. And if you get more negative reviews than positive ones, it’ll be a major red flag for your potential audience. So you need to be sure that it’s good.

Another thing to know when it comes to publishing—of any kind, actually—is to have an author website. This will allow people to come see all the works you do, all of your connections, and so on. You can also advertise future merchandise there as well.

Overall, I suggest learning from Jenna Moreci on YouTube as she is a self-published author and her channel is all about the self-publishing industry as well as writing and other things. :wink:


Thank you! I have already watched several of her videos! She’s hilarious and extremely informative!


I just recently self-published my sixth book and just starting to find a little traction. The market is flooded with books today and you need to find a way to stand out. Self-publishing is as much of a business as it is a writing journey. You cannot succeed without the other – books don’t sell only because they are good.

Self-publishing is not cheap. You need to invest in an editor, proofreader, cover designer and if you aren’t technically savvy, someone who formats your finished manuscript and potentially a designer to make your website. It can take years to recover that investment (if you recover it at all – unlikely with just one book).

Clicking the actual button and uploading your book onto a sales platform like Amazon is just the start. After that, you need to market. Social media, running ads, building a mailing list are just some examples. Of course, that takes away from your writing time but producing more content is key. There are a few examples of authors who made money off their first book, like @AlecHutson , but I would say that’s more of the exception than the rule (and read Alec’s Insider post on his self-publishing journey – you can pick up a boat load of tips and tricks).

All in all, it’s a cut throat business and takes a lot of determination. There is a lot of competition, you need a thick skin to handle bad reviews, and it’s a road filled with set-backs and disappointments. Yet, getting that bestseller ribbon for me on Amazon made it worth it in the end. Ultimately, you need to decide if you are willing to put in the work, time, and money. Success over night is like winning the lottery.

P.S. And stay away from vanity presses that supposedly “help” you to self-publish. They can’t do anything you can’t do yourself and then charge you for it.


Yeah, I got some advice–being self-published: Unless you want the online community to riot and target you with death threats over a book you published because they got triggered, you better not write anything that will piss these fragile snowflakes off–like I did with my debut novel.


Hey Sally, now that you brought it up I was wondering if you know of a way to dredge up the older posts from before the Clubs moved. Or are they gone forever? Because it might be useful for folks to see how my journey unfolded, but I’m not sure how to find those old threads. I’ll resurrect it if it’s possible.


No way to access them but… I think I might have archived your thread? I have to check. I was trying to save a bunch back before we moved. I’ll try to check. I am pretty sure I saved some of the industry insider threads