Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

5 Simple Steps To Self-Publishing


Have you ever thought about forgoing the traditional publishing route and just publishing your book yourself? I did! I have several books that will be self-published this year, but the one that made the decision for me is my middle-grade fiction book.

I had fantastic feedback from beta readers as well as a great critique from an agent for a children’s literary agency. I wrote my query letter according to “award-winning” guidelines and sent off the query along with the first three chapters of that book. Then I waited … and waited … and waited. After three months of waiting, I finally received an email that while they thought it was a great book, it just wasn’t for them.

So what was I supposed to do? Send it off to another agent in hopes they would think it was good enough to send to a publisher? And then what? Wait … and wait … and wait?

No thanks.

We live in an exciting time for creatives. Because of the internet, the old school way of doing things is changing. I no longer have to wait for an agent or editor to find my book in their slush pile and deem it worthy to be read. I can put that book out myself, market it and move on to another book. I can release my books on my timeline, not someone else’s.

Of course, there will always be a place for traditional publishers. I believe one day I will not only have self-published titles, but traditionally published books as well. However, for now, I am a self-published author and at this point, I’m loving it.

I had to learn a few things before releasing my first book. Finishing the book, hiring someone else to go over the book, designing the cover for my book, releasing my book and marketing my book. I am a one-woman publishing house.

Here are 5 tips to help you on your way to self-publishing:

1. Finish Your Book

I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people are worried about submitting their book, formatting their book, finding readers, etc. and they haven’t even finished their first draft. At least finish your first draft before you start worrying about those things.

2. Get Your Manuscript Ready for Publication

This means rewriting and editing that book until you think you’ve done everything you can to make it perfect. Then send it to someone who’s never seen it before and get their input. These are beta readers and paid editors who can go over your book and see things about your story and book you cannot see. It’s worth the time and investment to do this step. Trust me.

3. Set Up Your Marketing Plan

Many people don’t think about this step, or they wait until their book is out there before they start thinking about how they’re going to market their book or if they’re going to market it. In truth, we should all be building our author platforms long before we even release our first book. That goes for traditionally published and self-published authors. Start thinking about your website, your email list, your social media accounts, your relationships, and your marketing budget while you’re writing your book. Have those things in place and ready before your book is released.

4. Format Your Book For Both Ebook and Print

This is getting easier now that Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has the ability to do both. It streamlines everything. For my first book, I used KDP for my ebook and Createspace for my print, but for Life of Valor I’ll be doing both through KDP. You can also hire someone to do the formatting for you (check Fiverr) or even go with a self-publishing house like BookBaby. Investigate your options and decide what’s best for you.

5. Launch

You should have your reviews in place, your book ready to go and your marketing plan ready to boost sales for your book on the day it’s released. There are some authors who even start marketing before their book is released and have pre-orders for their books. Again, do what works for you. You’re the boss. You’re in control.

Those are my 5 Simple Steps to Self-Publishing. I’ll be writing more in-depth blog posts as the weeks move forward. I needed a lot of help when I was doing this and I figure other authors do as well, so I’ll do my part to help you navigate the self-publishing waters.

Make sure you don’t miss a future self-publishing post by signing up for my bi-monthly newsletter. As I learn, you can too!

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