Four Things You Must Do If You Plan to Self-publish

Congrats! You’ve finished your novel! You’ve edited, revised, and polished that baby until it’s not only a well-crafted story, but flawless in execution. Here’s what you need to do next.

  1. Hire a professional editor. If this is your first novel ever, it’s likely you need a developmental or content edit before you even think about a copy or line edit. Get one experienced in your genre. An editor will not only make sure your story is has proper plot development, character arcs, and other craft essentials, but that your novel fits market standards. This step is more important than any other step. If you have to choose between skipping any of these steps, this is not the step to skip.
  2. Hire a professional cover artist. Despite the old adage, people do judge books by their covers. Unless you are a professional artist and designer, it will show if you try to slap something together in photoshop. For the love of all that is original, don’t use free stock images. Those are fine for blogs or social media. If the image you’ve used for your cover is all over the internet because you don’t own the rights, then readers will assume your work is poor quality too.
  3. Either hire a professional formatter or learn how to format yourself. There are services out there that will do it for a percentage of your royalties. That means for one job you could get done from someone on Fivver, you’re paying them a percentage of your profits forever. It’s less money upfront, but you’re paying way more for something that is relatively easy to learn and cheap to have done.
  4. Develop a marketing strategy. There are entire books out there, websites, social media groups, and services dedicated to helping you promote your book. I’m not going to tell you which is best. Different strategies work for different genres.

Bottom line: Writing is a solitary endeavor. Publishing a quality book takes a team effort.

If all of this seems like too much effort and too expensive for you, but you don’t want to submit to a large publishing house and wait for months, if not years, to hear back from them, consider an indie or small press that will provide a cover, editor, and some promotion in exchange for a percentage of your profits.

Written material ©Tammy Deschamps

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Published by TJ Deschamps

Tammy loves to build worlds with words, exploring themes the effect of diaspora on the generations born elsewhere than their ancestors with the backdrop of tech or magic and dragons (sometimes both). These stories are inspired by her own family's immigrant experience. She's queer and many of her characters fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum (though that is not the focus of her work). She's married to an engineer who dances. Together they are raising three precocious teens in the Seattle suburbs. Two of her children are neurodiverse. Her experiences have taught her much about the world, its beauties and its injustices. All of this comes through in her fiction with a healthy dose of absurd humor.

4 thoughts on “Four Things You Must Do If You Plan to Self-publish

    1. Good luck! I have a novel in the hands of an indie press waiting on their yay or neigh. I also have a novella set in a completely different world that I’m considering self-publishing.
      I waiver a lot on if I want to do the work involved with self-publishing. There’s a lot to initially invest both financially and time-wise.


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