How to Self-Publish like an Experienced Author [In 10 Steps]

Writers, like everyone else, are enjoying the benefits of technology and the internet. It has helped eliminate some of the problems and obstacles associated with trying to publish a book. This is why many are wanting to learn how to self-publish.

Self-publishing has helped writers both old and new get their writing in front of the world. They can now do this without the help of agents or traditional publishers who might think that their books are not good enough.

If you are a writer and still don’t how self-publishing works, familiarize yourself with these ten steps to self-publishing. Get a thorough understanding of how to write, design, publish and make your book a best seller online. Knowing how to self-publish properly is key to being successful.

Use a Template

Even though you will probably hire an editor, a large part of self-publishing is learning how to do some editing yourself. You want to be good and sure your book has been thoroughly sifted and checked before sending it to an editor.

This will save you money in the long run as the editor will have less work to do.

Self-publishing may be easier for you if you use a template to help you keep your story on track. It will give you some guidelines and instructions that can prevent plotholes and confusion.

general fiction template

It will also help you get to the finish line faster. Time is of the essence when you are setting out to self-publish. It can be a long process.

There are ten steps that will help you make the right decision when trying out self-publishing to get your book out there.

  1. Research the topic
  2. Start writing
  3. Create your hooks
  4. Find an editor
  5. Design the book
  6. Get a book cover
  7. Format the book
  8. Get professional reviews
  9. Choose a self-publishing platform
  10. Marketing and distribution

1. How to Self-Publish: Research Your Topic

The first step to writing a book is coming up with a bright and attractive topic which will compel your audience. Research your chosen subject and find out if it has been done before and how saturated the market is.

If you write a book related to several other books in the market, you might have a hard time making sales because readers may feel they have already read what you have to say.

Consider writing on issues and topics that are in demand but not saturated.

Go through the books of other writers and ensure that you write something different and unique even though you are talking about related topics. Your readers should have the feeling that there is something extra about your book that sets it apart from others.

2. How to Self-Publish: Start Writing

It may sound easy to ‘start writing,’ but this is where some writers have failed simply because they started and could not continue after a while. Writer’s block or other activities tend to get in the way of writing.

You should create a schedule for yourself if you hope to have any success. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day – whatever fits in your schedule. It doesn’t have to look perfect as you can easily edit when you are through.

If you are experiencing a block, you can get inspiration from checking out books related to your topic and carrying out in-depth research. You can also try going through some writing exercises to gain inspiration and get you back on track.

3. How to Self-Publish: Create Your Hooks

The “book hook” can also be known as the book description. This is what you write to compel people into reading your book.

It can also be the reason you’ve written the book. Make your readers feel that you understand what they think. Be a way for them to get to the end of the dark tunnel and into the light.

The chapter hook is what you write at the end of every chapter to excite your readers and make them look forward to the next section. You’ve got to be exciting and enthusiastic in a way that your readers feel the passion through your words.

4. Get an Editor Before You Self-Publish

Read through after writing to see if your book contains any spelling or grammar errors. Read it aloud to see if you can spot any mistakes you might have missed and to determine its readability.

It is also advisable that you hire a professional editor to go through your work as well. The editor will also ensure your book looks professional and will give constructive criticism if it lacks in some areas.

You can cut the costs a little bit by putting your work through some writing software that will do some additional checks. These are useful but will not replace a true, human professional.

Edit your book several times to ensure that you do not skip any errors and make all the appropriate corrections.

5. Design the Book

You’ve been building your content for a while, now is the time to turn it into a real book. What this entails is assembling the right team that will transform your manuscript into a book worthy of publishing.

You will need a professional designer that can take care of the design, illustrations, images, and layout. You will also need a marketer who can effectively promote your book and drive sales.

Avoid trying to do this on your own as you might end up creating an amateur looking book which will be a waste of all the efforts you put in to create the content.

Hire only professionals that will give you a good return on your investment. If you feel dissatisfied with their services, don’t hesitate to speak up and have them rework what you don’t like.

6. Getting the Perfect Book Cover to Self-Publish

Book covers are one of the best contributors to significant sales because the truth is people still judge a book by its cover.

Readers feel they can determine if a book is boring or exciting by just looking at the design on the front.

Get a professional designer to create a cover that will be intriguing and capture a potential reader’s eye. Create something that will make them want to know more details of the book and compel them to make a purchase.

7. Formatting

You can publish your book on several platforms online, but you need to understand that there is a specific book format these platforms accept.

You must adhere to their guidelines if you want to publish your book on their platform successfully. Some of the forms include Microsoft word doc, docx, ePub, Mobi, etc.

Some platforms have a format which they encourage writers to use because it will help their content look good. For example, Amazon Kindle has the KPF format which writers can convert their book to before uploading.

Aside from adequately arranging your material, KPF format makes the book look professional which helps to increase sales.

Aside from the file formatting, you can choose to publish an audiobook format which will allow your readers to listen to it at any place and time.

8. Get Professional Reviews

Professional reviews can help improve the sales of your book when you finally get to publish it. You will need to find reviewers in your chosen topics and get them to write strong reviews to establish the authenticity of your content.

These publishers could come from your professional connections or organizations.

When reaching out for reviewers, don’t act like you are seeking a favor. Let them also know that by reviewing your book, they are also increasing their publicity which will benefit them in the future.

9. Choosing a Self-Publishing Platform

The main reason writers want to self-publish is so they can bypass the traditional publishers who might reject their books. It also allows them to earn more royalties.

Your book has the potential to make it on the list of bestsellers all over the world. If this happens it may even catch the eyes of a publishing company who will buy the book. So, don’t ever think you are making a mistake self-publishing your book.

However, before deciding on a platform, ensure you do in-depth research about them to be certain there is no hidden cost. You want to make sure it’s a platform you can upload your books to without intruding on your own rights.

Here are some of the best self-publishing companies you’ll want to consider:

Kindle Direct Publishing

This self-publishing platform is on the lips of every author and even content marketers who are bent on teaching people how to use the platform to earn passive income.

Kindle Direct Publishing, which is an Amazon product, provides you with tools that make your self-publishing experience fantastic.

They also have tools available that help in promoting your book, thereby reaching out to more potential buyers.

Moreover, even once you’ve uploaded your book to the platform, you can update it as many times as you want to get rid of mistakes. This is not something other platforms permit.

Its a perfect option for first-time self-publishers.


AuthorHouse does not only help introduce your book to the world but also ensures they pay attention to it. The company goes all out to market your books through various e-commerce websites like Barnes and Noble and even Amazon.

 So, if you are a writer with no plan on how to market your book, take it to AuthorHouse and they will help you with their expert marketing techniques.


One benefit of using Lulu to self-publish is the fact that they have 24/7 customer support workers who are attentive to your needs. Lulu provides all the tools needed for successful self-publishing such as editors, illustrators, and even printers.

They also go all out to ensure that your book goes live within 24 hours. They release about 1000 new book titles every day.

You can get started with Lulu by downloading their free eBook which guides authors on how to self-publish with their products.


Maybe you’ve had experience with something other than an eBook, such as a print magazine, and you don’t know if the self-publishing platforms would accept it. If this is you, consider working with Blurb.

They allow pretty much any niche which gives you the opportunity to spread your wings.


If you want to avoid getting a professional designer for your book due to a tight budget, then you’ll want to try Xlibris. They offer book cover designs to make your content look more appealing.

You can see from the thousands of testimonials from authors that they are worth the try and will give good results.

Book Baby

Book Baby is a simple and straight forward self-publishing company anybody can use without getting confused.

It has an accessible interface with self-publishing packages that are affordable for authors with a low budget.

When you use the platform, you can be sure that your books will be ready to display on the Amazon bookstore without having to break the bank.


This platform is another good one, although they do not provide promotion and marketing like other self-publishing platforms.

But, they have their e-reader which makes your book instantly available to those with a Kobo device.

If you do not have a marketing plan, avoid using Kobo. If  you already have a PR agency to market your book, you can self-publish on Kobo to increase your reach to potential readers.


Amazon has provided authors with several alternatives to get their books out there. Another self-publishing platform you can use aside from KDP is the CreateSpace.

This platform helps authors on a low budget by allowing them to publish their books without paying a dime and still earning their royalties.

But, know this comes at a different price. They do not provide formatting or editing of any kind.

Also, if you want to sell with other outlets, you will need to pay – though it is not expensive.

Outskirts Press

If you are not comfortable with a publishing or self-publishing company sharing royalties from your book sales, then you may want to use Outskirts.

They are one of the best self-publishing companies that allow you to keep 100% royalties.

Virtual Bookworm

This platform offers quick turnarounds, but the downside is you must be ready to part with 50% of your royalties. You will need to decide if that is worth the fast service they can provide.

 10. Marketing and Distribution

Now, you’ve gone through the stress of writing and self-publishing, you must ensure the book sells.

Most self-publishing companies offer promotional and marketing tools, but you can still do some marketing yourself.

Social media and a personal blog are great places to start.

Keep Pressing

Don’t give up because your book sold only a few copies. You need to keep trying while researching the reason for the low sales. Ensure your text is well-formatted to industry standards and your front cover design is on point. This could be what is turning readers away.  

So, there you have it, a perfect guide on how to self-publish in ten steps. Follow it, and you may stand a chance of being on the list of best sellers.

Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.