How to Self-Publish Your Novel

This is more of a checklist than a how to guide. I’m getting closer to publishing Kiss of The Fey so I’m getting more nervous about everything that needs to be done. I was going to just make a checklist for myself, but I thought sharing it could benefit a few of you who might be going through the same thing.

1. Write a novel. This is the easiest part.

2. Edit your novel. This could involve looking over it yourself, finding beta readers, hiring a professional editor, or having your English major friend from college look it over in exchange for a trip to the spa. Whatever you do, you have to get rid of the typos, spelling and grammar errors, sort our your plot so that it flows right and makes sense, make your your characters are likeable and written properly…. everything, basically. That novel has to be perfect.

3. Get people’s opinions. Use beta readers or friends and family. I’m having my mom read it and I’m going to ask for a few people from the Nanowrimo group to read it for me. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in reading it, tell me. I’ve also asked a co-worker to read it for me but I don’t know if she actually will because she sounded a bit put off by the idea when I asked her for a favor. I don’t really have friends, so this is actually a hard part in the process to get by. Others might have an easier time, especially anyone who belongs to a legit writing group or anything. You need to do this after you edit, but before you publish in case they all agree that your hero is terrible or your plot makes no sense.

4. Decide on a penname. This might not be applicable to you if you’re just going to use your own name, but if publishing in multiple genres or writing smutty stuff you don’t want under your own name (or any reason, really) then you’re going to have to think of something. Look at other popular authors in your genre for ideas. You don’t want your penname to be Alberta Lickenhymen if you’re writing Christian Romance. Also, Google it to make sure it isn’t already an author name or someone famous that would overshadow searches for your book. It has to be unique.

5. Decide how you’re going to publish. I honestly haven’t explored this at all because I plan to use Createspace to publish through Amazon. I might put my novel on Smashwords, too, but that would be later. I want people to be able to buy a print or digital copy of my book, and I’ve already used Createspace so I know how to do it. I have to set up an Amazon author page, actually get on there, and get all the payment information sorted out too once I actually get around to publishing.

6. Get a cover. This could be simple if you’re only doing digital copies and a tad bit more complicated if doing print, because you’ll need a back cover and your dimensions need to fit the actual dimensions of the book. The easy way out is to pay someone to make a cover for you (this place does fabulous work) but I just don’t have the money for that, so I have to make my own. This means finding stock images that are free to use and learning to use editing software. I use Gimp, it’s basically free Photoshop. My covers still have to be pretty basic because of my skill level. I know what image I want to use for Kiss of The Fey, but I’m stuck on fonts, of all things. I just need to get the font right or the title won’t stand out enough.

7. Promote your book. The entire reason I started this blog was to promote my book. I’ll be changing the blog up a little closer to publishing to make it more obvious that this is the website for my books, but it’s never going to look professional. If I end up being successful I’ll be able to get a real website and everything, but until then this is what I got. It’ll be even weirder with the penname. I have to think about whether I want to create a separate blog for my penname. Beyond that, I need to somehow reach people and get them interested about my book. I think how I’m going to do this is to use the people in the Nanowrimo group on Facebook to review a free copy of my novel to try to get good reviews and ratings so that it looks more appealing on Amazon. I might ask fellow bloggers to review my novel. I don’t really know what to do, beyond that.

8. Publish your book. Just put it out there and hope that people like it.

9. Cry a little. Freak out. Get drunk. Have a meltdown.

10. Celebrate your first sale. It doesn’t matter if you only make $0.60. You’re a published author, baby. Celebrate.

I just really wanted a list that had ten things. You don’t have to freak out or get drunk if you don’t want to. I hope to publish by the end of the summer but I don’t know if that will happen with the way things are going. I could rant about why my computer is now dead to the world, but instead I’ll just say that it is and that that is a HUGE inconvenience. I think I’m going to need another one and I don’t have the money. I’m using my mom’s right now. I’m lucky it didn’t die while I was at school.

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