A few die-hards continue to insist that traditional publishing is the only legitimate road to success. The rest of us realized long ago that self-publishing is no longer a second-rate option reserved for poor writers with too much money on their hands. As early as 2014, nearly a third of all newly-published books were estimated to be self-published. In 2021, 17 of the 100 bestsellers on Amazon’s famous Kindle platform were self-published.
There are plenty of reasons to self-publish a book, as your first choice. Retaining complete control over the creative process, being able to interact with your readers more independently and directly, and pocketing a significantly higher percentage of the profits are just the start. Unless you are a popular blogger or a local business hoping to put out a free short ebook (both great reasons to self-publish, by the way), though, self-publishing requires serious dedication, and just as much hard work as getting traditionally published.
Your odds of success lie, of course, squarely in your hands. That’s a little intimidating, to say the least. To boost your chances of achieving your goals, you’ll need to be armed with the best self-publishing resources. What do those look like in 2021?
To learn about the steps required to do self-publishing right, you’ll want to learn from those who have walked this path before you — and perhaps avoid some of the mistakes they have made. Some great places to get started include:
- Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know, an article written by CNET CEO David Carnoy. It dates all the way back to 2012, but this oldie remains a goodie.
- This Book Was Self-Published: A Technical Guide, by privacy enthusiast Michael Bazzell, who self-published over a dozen books. This book isn’t about the writing stage of your book, at all, but rather covers many of the technical aspects, from legal considerations to anti-piracy steps and from formatting to cover design.
If that’s not enough for you — and it probably won’t be — you can always look around for more. Just make sure not to use your supposed self-publishing education as a procrastination tool!
As you write your book, you’ll want to have access to the best book-writing software on the market. What that looks like can depend on the type of book you are writing, as well as whether you are aiming to publish an ebook, a print book, or both.
Once you’re done with the meat of your manuscript, you can begin to call in others, from beta readers or critique partners to professional editors and proofreaders. You can find these through social media, writers’ platforms, their websites, and even on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork — although your mileage will definitely vary. Always check an editor’s portfolio and reviews before working together.
Self-publishing authors also, of course, need to decide where and how they are going to self-publish their work on Amazon. You can also explore self-publishing aggregators like Draft2Digital and Smashwords, which are able to get your book onto numerous different platforms all at once.
These resources aren’t the be-all-and-end-all, but rather a launchpad that can help you begin investigating what you need to do to self-publish smartly. Once you explore them, you’ll have a much better idea, and you will be able to go out and learn more on your own.