Blog The Writing Process How to Publish Your Book Yourself: Four Steps to Your Self-Publishing Dream

How to Publish Your Book Yourself: Four Steps to Your Self-Publishing Dream

Chandler Bolt

Chandler Bolt

Founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School

Published Sep 16, 2020


Are you new to the world of self-publishing?

If you've dreamed of writing a book your entire life, self-publishing is the best way to make your dream a reality.

Like any dream big enough to excite us, self-publishing is also big enough to scare us. That's when doubt can start to set in.

To defeat your self-publishing doubts, you need to have reasons powerful enough to overcome them.

Here are four of the best reasons to make your self-publishing dream come true.

  1. 1. You Can Reach the People You Want
  2. 2. You Can Self-Publish Affordably
  3. 3. You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
  4. 4. You Can Set Your Own Course
  5. Are You Ready to Do This?

1. You Can Reach the People You Want

While big-name publishers might come with a lot of old-school prestige, they also come with a lot of control.

As an author, you probably have an idea of the ideal type of reader you want to reach. This could be the perfect genre fiction fan or a non-fiction reader with a pain point you're sure you can solve.

By choosing to self-publish, you retain the right to reach exactly who you want with your work.

What are some of the most exciting implications of this?

  • Serve a fiction fanbase: If you want to cultivate a dedicated readership, you can. Go as small as you want and write the perfect book for that group of fiction fans alone.
  • Help the unhelped: Plenty of people are looking for books to soothe a pain point that no one else is addressing. Could you find such a group, and write the book they need? You might be surprised just how much impact you end up having.
  • Create something new: Self-publishing gives you the freedom to create the genre you've always dreamed of. Exciting new genres are emerging all the time. Why not get involved?

Books change lives. Why not change the lives of the people who matter to you the most?

2. You Can Self-Publish Affordably

When you start to discuss your self-publishing dream, you might come across people who mistake self-publishing for vanity publishing.

Vanity publishing and self-publishing are not the same. Vanity publishing will often involve paying a lot of money upfront for little in return other than an ego boost.

Self-publishing is more like starting a small business that also fulfills your artistic dreams. You can also earn higher book royalties as a self-published author.

If you're worried about the financial side of self-publishing, consider the following:

  • Equipment. You don’t need an expensive brand of laptop to start your publishing journey. Few other dreams are as affordable to get started with. Amazing books have been written entirely by hand.
  • Information. The self-publishing community is a supportive place. Many of the best blogs contain a wealth of valuable information. There's no need to spend a lot on education to make this happen. ProWritingAid has a whole library of writing resources for you to use.
  • Apps. Many of the best authors use the simplest tools, and even the most advanced writing apps often have powerful free versions.

When to Invest More

If you want to invest a little more, invest in your writing itself. To ensure your book is the best it can be, hire an editor to help you with areas like characterization, tone of voice and story arc. If you decide to do this, get the most out of them. Their time is money, after all.

Yes, this means submitting a manuscript without spelling and grammar errors, but if you can tighten up other areas of your story before sending it to an editor, you'll get a polished manuscript in return.

red pan marking up typed writing

Have you got solid transitions between paragraphs to ensure your reader doesn't get lost? Have you repeated certain phrases? Your editor will only spend time noticing them themselves. Is your writing readable? Did you know that most adults like to read at a seventh-grade level?

There is a lot to keep in mind when you're editing, but it's all important stuff. ProWritingAid is a tool for keeping these integral elements front and center in your editing process.

Each report acts like an editor reading your manuscript for the first time and suggesting what you could change. Like an editor, ProWritingAid won't do all of your editing work for you. The beauty of this is that your writing will still sound like you after you've run it through the editor.

Want to get more out of a paid editor?

Of all the artistic dreams out there, writing is probably the most affordable and accessible. Financial resources won’t hold you back here.

3. You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Don't worry that self-publishing means doing everything on your own. Like I said, hiring an editor can be a great investment – but you don't have to pay to make friends in the self-publishing community.

Independent publishing is another way of thinking about it. You have independent autonomy to do the work you want, and seek help where you need it.

If you're worried about being alone as a self-publishing author, here are some ways that you won't be:

  • Community: As fellow artists on similar creative paths, self-publishers help each other out. Don't expect utopia, but do expect a family of authors to learn and grow alongside.
  • Coaches: Choosing to self-publish doesn’t mean you are left alone. You can go as far as hiring a pro coach to help you publish, or just partnering up with another author to hold each other accountable along the way.
  • Readers: Self-publishing often involves lowering the barrier between author and reader. You'll be able to hear from the people your book has helped. Can you imagine how good that feels?

Self-publishing a book is the perfect blend of solitude and connectivity. Be alone when you need to create, and reach out when you need to connect. You’ll have the opportunity to do both as needed.

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4. You Can Set Your Own Course

Creating a self-published book is something you can do around other responsibilities and commitments.

If you’re like a lot of creatives, you can’t produce your best work at will. Our life situation directly impacts our ability to get into the zone and produce meaningful writing.

The flexibility of self-publishing can be a great help for stressed creative minds. How?

  • Balance: If you're working for a traditional publisher, and something serious occurs in your personal life, you're likely to let someone down. When you self-publish, you can do so according to your values and priorities.
  • Creative control: It's not unheard of for even the top authors of all time to end up in conflict with their publisher. Choosing to self-publish allows you to unleash your creative writing vision.
  • Pressure: Some authors need extrinsic pressure to work well. Others prefer to do things their way. If you work well under a lack of external pressure, self-publishing might be the best option for you.

Self-publishing truly is a modern tabula rasa. If you want total creative freedom, this is the way to go.

Are You Ready to Do This?

Ultimately, books have far too much power for doubt to be allowed to overwhelm their potential.

For every reason you have not to become an author and self-publish, there’s a more powerful reason to get started.

To help someone. To fulfill your artistic ambition. To change lives. Spend long enough reflecting on self-publishing and you'll find a motive to move you forward.

Once you realize self-publishing is something you should do, why not make it something you must do?

Take that first step. There’s no time like the present.

Want to learn how to find the ideal audience for your book? Download this free book now:

How to Build Your Author Platform on a Shoestring

How to Build Your Author Platform on a Shoestring

Readers don’t just materialize out of thin air. Just as it took you weeks and months (if not years) of effort to write your book, it can take weeks and months of effort to find the people who want to read it.

In this guide, learn everything you need to know to find and engage your audience.

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Chandler Bolt

Chandler Bolt

Founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School

Chandler Bolt is the host of the Self Publishing School podcast & the author of 6 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”. He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Self Publishing School made the INC 5000 in 2018 (#2,699) and in 2019 (#1,483) as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. Through his books, podcast, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.

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