Updated June 4, 2023
Ten steps to self-publishing your first book
These ten steps will help you painlessly jump-start your new self-publishing business. Although most of these steps are not difficult to accomplish, I believe that they will help you quickly lay the foundation for a successful first book. I wrote this simply to show how to overcome the most common objections I hear from would-be authors who fear taking that first step.
What You Will Learn
1. You will learn to overcome your fears and objections about self-publishing a book.
2. You will learn how and why you must treat self-publishing as a business.
3. You will learn how and why building a solid business foundation will help you sell many more books.
These ten steps will help you painlessly jump-start your new self-publishing business. I believe that most of these steps are not difficult to accomplish, and they will help you quickly lay the foundation for a successful first book.
Here are the ten steps to help you to jump-start your self-publishing business:
Step 1. Realize That This Is a Business
Self-publishing is a business, no matter how you look at it. It can be your side business, main business, or hobby. But you still must run it like a business. That means you must learn the basics of management, marketing, sales, public relations, accounting, negotiation, etc.
You should view your book as a product you market and sell. You can also look at your book as part of your business’s marketing plan.
Step 2. Start Your Due-Diligence
You must research what is involved in self-publishing. Here are a few of the first steps to explore:
1. Visit the most significant websites that can sell your books, such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Scribd. Explore each site, learn the process and fees involved, but devote most of your time to Amazon.
2. Read several of the most popular books about self-publishing. Avoid books that promise quick and easy money from self-publishing.
3. Visit the popular self-publishing blogs and YouTube pages.
Step 3. Keep Your Current Job
Don’t be so quick to believe the hype about self-publishing as a way to make fast, easy money. The reality is that 99% of self-publishers don’t make a full-time living from self-publishing.
So, keeping your job will ensure you have a regular paycheck and insurance. A steady job or being self-employed is also imperative to building your resume. Your work and accomplishments will give you more credibility with your readers.
Step 4. Discover Your Niche
The subject matter of your book needs to align with the business and career you are in. In today’s terms, pursuing a tightly defined niche is your best chance of finding an audience. As a self-publisher, this focus is where you will most likely find the most considerable success.
It is much easier to become an expert in a specific market where it is much less crowded with prominent, well-established writers and publishers.
Step 5. Start with an E-book
Publishing an e-book is the most practical and economical way to get started. It is fast and inexpensive. It is the perfect way to dip your toes into the water and see how comfortable it is. Beginning with an e-book allows you to feel out your market.
It also lets you quickly and easily make any changes or corrections before sending your book to print-on-demand printers and distributors like Amazon or Lightning Source.
Step 6. Set-up Your Blog
Once you figure out your niche, start your free WordPress blog immediately. This online presence will help get your creative juices flowing. It will also give you an easily accessible home base to share your expertise.
Step 7. Get Your Spouse/Partner on Board
It is vital to keep your family involved with a decision like this. Keeping your family informed and involved will help keep all of you happy. Your spouse and kids will typically be the best ones to go to for an honest assessment of your work and books.
Step 8. Join Professional Groups
Professional affiliations can give you more credibility with your readers. These associations will keep you informed about what is happening inside your industry. Other group members might also become a market for your new book.
Step 9. Advocate for Your Target Market/Audience
Because of the internet, you can immediately show the world you are an expert. Consider writing for industry publications and websites. Find websites that will publish and share your writing, such as Find websites that will publish and share your writing, such as Medium and Linkedin.
Step 10. Start Your Next Book
Now that you have accomplished the previous steps, keep the momentum you built up. Keep improving your business model. Never stop learning about marketing and promotion. Keep enhancing your blog. Keep improving your first book. Start your next book in a related niche.
These ten steps are just the beginning of your journey. Unfortunately, it is a journey many are afraid to attempt. I hear from my readers, friends, and clients that self-publishing seems too complicated and time-consuming for a busy person to get involved with.
So, I wrote this list for them as a simple way to show how to overcome those initial objections and convince them to consider self-publishing as a way to enhance their careers and business.
Questions to Think About
1. What fears are holding you back from self-publishing if you haven’t written your first book yet?
2. What fears did you initially have if you have already self-published? Are those fears gone, or have they changed?