Updated: Jul 10, 2022
Are you thinking about taking the leap and publishing your book?
Here are 9 of my top tips for any other authors who are thinking about self-publishing:
1. Research indie and traditional publishing!
Do your research and look into your options. Make sure you’re 100% committed to whether you want to self-publish or traditionally publish your book. Your decision will depend on things like genre, your target market, and current trends. Remember that once you’ve committed to one option, you won’t be able to change to the other option for that particular book/series.
2. Familiarize yourself with the indie market!
The indie publishing environment is different to the trad publishing environment. It’s faster moving, it tends to be more trope-y, it picks up incredibly voracious readers, it tends to be quite sexy in certain genres! etc. I remember reading on a forum once that if you wanted to self-publish, you need to remember that you’re competing with traditionally published books. While this is in some way true, your main competition is going to be other indie books.
With this in mind, you’ll want to determine where your book will fit within this indie market, and package it accordingly. Have you noticed, for example, that a lot of indie books have people on the front cover? Have you looked at how your indie peers are writing their blurbs and pricing their books?
This leads me to tip 3. . .
3. Follow indie authors in your genre (and read their books)!
A great way to get a feel of the market, and to get ideas for promo, it to follow other authors in your genre. What are they doing right? What can you learn from them?
4. Prepare for some costs!
You could technically publish a book for free, but there are probably going to be some costs if you want to launch a professional product. Cover design, editing, and marketing are some things you might want to spend money on.
But don’t feel like you have to spend more than you can afford. If it’s your first book, it’ll probably take some time to make that money back. You can always re-launch your books later down the line with new covers/ revisions etc.
However, if you can afford it. . .
5. Invest in a good cover!
There are some costs to self-publishing, and investing in a good cover is one of them. Your book cover is your first step to marketing your book and getting readers. It’s the first thing a reader will see when they see it on Amazon/ an online retailer / on your social media. You can even run a picture of it as a Facebook ad. A reader is going to make a decision when they see your book cover – to ignore it, or to check out your book.
A decent cover is marketing in itself.
To find a cover artist, I tend to find covers I like within my genre and see who designed them. I also keep an eye on Instagram and follow designers I like.
6. Get your book edited!
There are different types of editing (developmental, line, and copy editing). At the very least, I’d consider hiring a copy editor, because they are going to make sure there’s no spelling / grammatical errors in your work. If you can afford it, I also recommend working with a developmental editor at some point in your writing career because they’re amazing and you’ll learn a lot from the experience.
The editors I’ve worked with I knew of through word of mouth / I had worked with before. If you don’t have anyone to recommend an editor to you, you can always google / look at indie books in your genre and see who worked on them.
7. run some Facebook ads!
I highly recommend running some Facebook ads if you’re an indie author. This is probably one of my biggest tips from my indie experience. My book sales more than doubled when I first started running them.
Once you’ve created your compelling ad(s), you can target your audience, put a small daily spend behind it, and let Facebook do its magic and show it to potential readers.
I wrote a post specifically about Facebook ads and creating the creative / writing the copy here.
8. Don’t expect to make loads of money right away!
Being an author is like being a small business. Small businesses take time to build. There are exceptions, of course, but be prepared that it will probably take some time, and a few books, before you start making money.
9. Go for it!
If you’ve decided on self-publishing a particular project, I’d advise you to just go for it! Throw yourself in at the deep end! You’ll make some mistakes along the way, but you’ll learn as you do it. One thing I’ve learnt from the experience is not to get too hung up on minor details / worries, and to just get on with it. The more books you put out there, the more chance you have of making money!
Are you thinking about self publishing? Have you self published? How has your experience been? Any tips? Any questions? Let me know in the comments!
LAUREN PALPHREYMAN is a writer based in London. She is the author of Cupid's Match, Devils Inc., and A Circus of Ink. She writes books full of magic and romance, and her serial fiction has accumulated over 70 million views online. Find her on Instagram @LaurenPalphreyman and on Twitter @LEPalphreyman.
Check out Lauren's indie published books:
Get your copy of Devils Inc. here
Get your copy of A Circus of Ink here