Do it yourself? 10 tips for beginners from top self-publishing sites

self-publishing-tips-writerSo, you’re thinking about self-publishing your stories.

You’re receiving rejection letters left and right, yet you just know there’s a reader somewhere who would like your writing.

You’re intrigued by this wave of writer confidence as traditional publishing becomes an option.

You’ve read self-published books and think, “Hey, I can do better than that.”

I think we’re all having thoughts such as these.

Every day there’s an article giving reasons why writers should take or at least consider the self-publishing route.

Here’s a quote that jumped out at me, from The Sea Change of Self-Publishing, posted last week on Writer Unboxed:

My prediction for the coming year is that we’re going to see more and more big name authors jumping into the waters—and finding great success. I also predict a lot of new writers are going to go with their creativity and their guts and create new genres and subgenres all over the place. (Barbara O’Neil, novelist)

New writers. That’s us.

Since I restarted my writing life a few years ago, I’ve imagined traditional publishing as the route for my work. It’s safe. It’s more prestigious. I’ll get to see my book on a bookstore shelf. Self-publishing is for amateurs.

So my thoughts went, on and on.

But it’s a new day for publishing and all writers need to think seriously about the new importance that self-publishing has been given in the industry.

This is my first post on the topic, and I’ve started with a collection of tips from 10 blogs in the “self-publishing” category on The Power 100: The Best Blogs for Modern Writers. (The Power 100 is a list that includes my blog, I’m proud to say.) I searched through blog posts and took away a useful tip for those of us new to self-publishing. It’s an inspiring start.

Now, on with the tips.

1) Build a Rapport with Your Peers

“Get your name and brand out ‘there’ now by reaching out to bloggers and writers who share your genre, and build a rapport. Support others’ books and writing and they just might do the same for you.” (

2) Take Creative Risks

“There is one other factor that doesn’t get discussed as much, but in my mind is just as important: The freedom to bend and blend genres, invent new forms, and take creative risks.” (A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing)

3) Get Social

“Social media plays a huge role in building an author’s platform, marketing, and author branding. One of our favorite social media platforms is Twitter.” (BiblioCrunch)

4) A Dose of Reality

“It is very hard to get people to care enough about your book that they go and buy it. It’s the hardest part. And before you can even do that, you have to get them interested in it, and before that you have to let them know that it exists. But embracing this will help you achieve this, because you’ll know what lengths to go to in order to make it happen.” (Catherine, Caffeinated)

5) Focus on the Basics

“A well-written story, a smart cover, a proper edit, clean formatting, and an enticing blurb.  You only have to do that stuff once, and then you can get back to working on the next book.”  (David Gaughran)

6) Passion, Persistence, and Pluck

“The playing field is leveling—Net neutrality ensures the internet stays equally available to all. As far as online business is concerned, each book competes on its own. In this environment it’s your passion, persistence and pluck that will sell your book, and that’s within your power.” (The Book Designer)

7) Write Well, Publish Regularly

“You don’t have to chase the hottest genre or write for mass appeal to make a living as an indie author; you do have to write well enough to appeal to the people who enjoy your niche, and you do have to publish regularly to keep your name out there, especially when you’re first building up your fan base.” (Lindsey Buroker)

8) It’s All About Connecting with the Reader

“But what I learned is that the best way for me to look at my writing career is to remember why I write. It’s to reach readers, to touch their hearts, maybe even change their lives (for the better).” (Live. Write. Thrive)

9) Quality Books Take Quality Time

“If you don’t pay attention to the quality control of your work, you’ll kill your writing career before it even starts. Readers are not stupid. They may be downloading 99¢ e-books like crazy right now. But they’re already starting to figure out that something’s not right. Many of these books are poorly written and desperately need editing. (Rachelle Gardner)

10) The Big IF

“[It’s the] movement that says we CAN publish well all by ourselves—if we embrace the right tools, take the time to develop our craft, find the right team members, educate ourselves, and are willing to step out of our comfort zones for the sake of our book’s success.” (Wise Ink)

Have the tips sparked your interest?

If you’re thinking seriously about self-publishing, then do plenty of research before you dive in. Subscribe to some of these blogs to keep up on the topic. Take their advice to heart.

A one-stop resource is Nick Thacker at He compiled The Power 100 blogs and is a writer with several self-published books. His blog is packed with how-to posts for writers and their publishing goals.

Me? I’m still learning to be a better writer, but self-publishing sure is an alluring concept. In any case, you’ll be one of the first to know when I have published work. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter, where I share even more about the writing life. You can sample my fiction and nonfiction writing by visiting Afternoon Tea, my writing collection.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Have you considered it?


12 thoughts on “Do it yourself? 10 tips for beginners from top self-publishing sites

  1. I appreciate your 10 tips from the top self-publishing sites. I wonder what you know about They seem to have a one-stop shop for those that are interested in the self-publishing world. I am currently looking at them and their different publishing packages, but I have not made any commitment yet.

    Have you written a blog post about how to choose between these self-publishing sites? I would definitely read that!


    1. I haven’t written much on self-publishing as I’m only now starting to become interested. Xlibris is new to me, so I will take a look. I have been wanting to explore and compare the self-pub sites, so maybe you will see this in a future post! Thanks for the suggestion, Taylor, and for stopping by.


  2. Hi Darla! After a lot of research I’ve decided to self-publish. You’re right, there’s an OCEAN of information out there and it’s quite overwhelming! I’m taking it step by step, day by day. I’ve found that my biggest resource is the generosity and support of other writers! I love your site, by the way. So helpful! Thanks! 🙂


    1. Hi, Beth — I saw you received the Sisterhood award over on Inion N. Mathair’s blog. Those two are quite a pair and so encouraging to fellow writers. Kudos to you on your decision to self-publish, and I think your “step-by-step” approach to self-publishing is the way to go. At this point I’m interested in self-publishing because it is a hot topic, but I’m also happy to go the traditional route if that opportunity ever came to me. I think it’s important, though, for writers to know all they can about both avenues to publication, especially those of us who are new to the business. I’m glad you’ve found my blog to be useful, and I’ll be checking in over at yours. Thanks, Beth.


    1. Thanks for sharing it, Marylin. It’s a pretty big step for authors to take, but from what I’m learning, they will have a lot of help and encouragement from people who are passionate about this new route to publication.


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