So many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, what it’ll cost, how to do it right, how to come up with a good book idea, and more.
I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through the beginning steps of how to write your book all the way to how to self-publish it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network. Let’s get started so you can get started!
Recommended Book: How To Publish A Book On Amazon Kindle
#1: Decide Why You Want to Learn How to Publish a Book
What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and you’re doing it for the right reasons).
Here are some questions for you to decide why you want to publish a book:
- Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
- Are you a writer looking to boost your profile so you can land higher-paying writing jobs?
- Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
- Do you have a well-established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
- Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?
- Do you have a larger number of book ideas or prompts you need to start writing?
#2: Write Your Book
If you’ve ever tried to start writing a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it. Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.
In fact, coming up with a book idea in general can be very tricky. But in order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.
Here’s are some effective ways to write a book worth self-publishing:
- Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
- Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
- Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.
- Get an accountability partner. You can hold each other accountable to write and finish your by your “draft done” date.
- Build your writing environment. Yes, this can be a blanket for if you choose to use “build” literally or you can simply find an area where your head is clear, there are no distractions, and where you can write in peace.
#3: Get Feedback on Your Book Before Publishing
When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. It’s essential to get this feedback in order to improve your writing. Everything from creative writing to factual, non-fiction works needs feedback in order to produce a polished publication.
As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought. Writing tips can come from anywhere and the best usually come from those reading your book for the first time.
Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor and self-publishing can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor. You can also use a piece of writing software like Grammarly so you can learn as you write!
#4: Choose a Book Title
Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.
Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple.
Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book. This is because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable book title:
- Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
- Can your title impact someone’s life?
- Can your book solve a very difficult problem?
- Is it short enough to read in a thumbnail image on Amazon?
- Does it elicit an emotional response?
#5: Hire a Great Book Editor
Hiring a great book editor can mean the difference between becoming a bestselling author, or self-publishing a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary during this stage of the process. To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network.
Do you personally know any qualified editors?
Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor? If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry!
Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork or Fiverr. But be careful and always check references and portfolios of work. No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book.
Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you.
If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go and find an editor who’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake. Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.
#6: Design a Book Cover that Converts
When it comes to self-publishing, a high-quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales!
The reason is that yourbook cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” simply doesn’t apply to actual book covers, as much as we wish it did.
The hard truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover whether they realize it or not.
So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.
What makes a good book cover?
- Simplistic styling. Too much going on will make readers unable to figure out what your book is about. Keep the cover minimalistic and it will convert more readers.
- Professionally designed. Book cover designers know how to create book covers that convert. They have industry knowledge and have studied what works and what doesn’t.
- Clear title and subtitle. The title on your cover does matter. The easier it is to read, the better. This allows your readers to clearly see what your book is about as they scroll through Amazon or other book retailers.
- A design style that fits your intended audience. If you’re writing a faith-based book intended for an audience of faith, having an overly dark, devilish cover doesn’t make sense.
You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as (hey! Poemify Publishers can handle this for you. Just contact us):
Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.
#7 – Create Your Kindle Direct Self-Publishing Account
Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audiobooks. It’s the best way to learn how to publish a book and start selling quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!
Amazon also acquired the well-known book printing company CreateSpace and they’re now merged as one. This means you can now offer print books to your audience.
Recommended Book: How To Publish A Book On Amazon Kindle
Here’s how to set up your KDP account on Amazon (Click here to read ‘How To Publish On Amazon Kindle):
- Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
- Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
- Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!
#8: Format Your Self-Published Book
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting.
You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.
Also keep in mind that formatting will look different for fiction versus nonfiction books. Typically, nonfiction books don’t have an indent between paragraphs but instead, they have spaces whereas fiction books are indented with each new paragraph.
#9: Self-Publish Your Book
When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.
This is how to upload your book on KDP:
- On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
- Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
- Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
- Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.
Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories on Amazon your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience.
To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose. Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors. Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book.
Recommended Book: How To Create An Amazon Authorcentral Account
Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard. Afterward, you should be ready to publish your book! Just click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!
#10: Price Your Book
One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”
To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99. To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period.
Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.
What to do Now
Now that you’ve learned how to publish a book, it’s time to take action and bring yourself one step closer to your goals and dreams.
If self-publishing is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need a step-by-step system to follow to take action. Check out this book authored by Jaachi Anyatonwu, ‘Self-Publishing Successfully: Pro Guide To Successful Authorship‘.