I get so many emails from authors wanting to know if they can self publish and how. First off – YES – anyone can self publish. My eleven year old has and I know of a ninety-year old great grandmother who recently self published her own collection of quilt designs.

I don’t think that’s really the question though that I’m being asked. I think – and I could be wrong – that people want to know if they will be successful when they self publish.

Can anyone? Absolutely! Whether you are new to publishing and are about to put out your first book or whether you are a seasoned traditional author about to try their hand at self publishing -anyone can do it.

And yes, I believe anyone can do it successfully.

How do you self publish?

There are so many groups on Facebook or through yahoo loops about this that can help you. One such group is Self Publishing Info Swap. Another is is Indie Romance Ink – for the romance writers out there. For Facebook – just search indie publishing or self publish and you’ll find a whole array of groups to join.

The basic steps are this:

  • write the book, get it edited (yes, this is a must)
  • purchase a cover (again, these groups have a lot of great cover artist suggestions – DO NOT make your own unless you know what you are doing
  • learn to format or hire someone to do this for you (again, these groups will have info)
  • upload. You can upload to KDP, Kobo Writing Life, B&N, Draft2Digital (for Canadian authors this is a godsend), iTunes, GooglePlay and more. Don’t be overwhelmed – just start with one place – like KDP.
  • spread the word (the right way)

How to do it successfully?

Great question and everyone will have their own ideas on this. First thing you need to do is figure out what success looks like for you. Do you want to sell 100 copies a month? Do you want to make $100 a month? Realize that the average author only sells 100-250 copies on average a year. There are a lot of things you can do to get your books out there – you can put it on sale, you can blog about it, do ads on Facebook, you can tell everyone you know about your book – but whatever you do, realize that not everything will work. Be willing to make mistakes, to fail, to learn every day. This publishing journey you are on is exactly that … a journey.

What works for me probably will not work for you – I’ve learned that over the years and there’s a reason for this. We may not write in the same genre. We may have different voices. Maybe we have different writing styles – who knows! One thing is for sure though – you won’t know until you try. Ask questions and be willing to try new things.

My #1 Piece of Advice?

My number one piece of advice that I give to everyone who asks me how to get more sales is this…stop focusing on sales and get to know your readers. This is what I did and what I continually strive to do. No, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about sales or check my numbers or stress about how much money I am making each month – but it does mean that I keep my readers first and foremost in my head while I’m writing. I think about how I market and how it will affect them, I am consciously aware of not promoting myself too much and showing my readers that I’m not only an author, but a mother and a reader as well. Bottom line – I don’t try to ‘sell’ to my readers, I instead try to connect.

Key Resources

There are a lot of books out there on how to self publish. Be willing to read, willing to learn and willing to try new things. Here are a few of my favorite ones: