Self publishing a book has never been easier than it is now.
You do not need a publishing house anymore.
In fact you don’t even need to leave your house to publish a book.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re self publishing an eBook or a paperback or a hardcover book.
This complete guide will give you the best, proven self publishing tips and tricks, stats and research scoured from all over the world.
Plus, we’ve gathered data by annoying friends, colleagues and clients who have self published their books with endless questions on this topic.
Furthermore, a Q&A podcast with a self published author will be added to this guide on a future date.
Watch this space.
First off, let’s get into the basics.
What is Self Publishing?
It simply means publishing your book yourself instead of going through an agent or a traditional publishing house.
Nowadays, most authors self publish on a platform like Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
That’s because Amazon has been the “world’s largest bookstore” for the past 2 decades.
And that probably won’t change for the foreseeable future.
Benefits of Self Publishing
As we’ve mentioned previously, many of our clients, friends and colleagues have successfully self published books on Amazon, sold thousands of copies, and made lots of money as a result.
Their best-selling books along with the help of some marketing, TED talks etc. have directly resulted in the success of their businesses, personal brands and research studies.
Below are some advantages of Self-Publishing:
1. Complete Creative Freedom & Control:
You no longer need to sit and wait with your fingers crossed while your agent takes your manuscript to one of the very few dark overlords of the publishing world i.e. large publishing houses.
You have full creative control in terms of content and even design and formatting if you want.
While it’s good to get feedback on your content, it’s sad to see many great books rejected because of the opinion of a snobby editor at a big publishing house.
When you’re self publishing, you also have complete control over the advertising and marketing aspects.
Which means you can implement and deploy creative, unique ideas if you want without resistance or any kind of approval process.
There are no gatekeepers.
2. Bigger Cut of the Profit:
Since you’re not paying the middleman (i.e. an agent or a publishing house), you get to keep the lion’s share of your profits.
For ex. you’ll get 70% of the royalties for self publishing, versus a meagre 10% to 25% via the traditional route.
3. You Own Everything
Since you’re self publishing, you are not required to sign lengthy, dubious contracts with large publishing houses where you hand over exclusive rights to film or video game adaptations, merchandising and rights to reprint etc.
Your book’s success along with marketing efforts can also dovetail into an alternate career for you if done right.
4. Same Quality as Everyone Else
You are no longer limited to just eBooks or shoddy paperback quality.
As a self published author your books can look just as good as your competition who’ve gone the traditional route.
That’s the beauty of technology and the digital age we live in now.
Self publishing is independent with very few or almost no restrictions, especially today.
Traditional publishing involves searching for and finding an agent who will help you get approved by a major publishing house.
Guess which route is faster and also easier on your bank account.
The table below illustrates the differences:
Choose a topic, compile ideas and write your book.
Choose a topic, compile ideas and write your book.
Contact an agent.
Start the publishing process yourself.
Agent will submit your book to a publisher.
Edit, format and design your book either DIY or by a professional.
Cross your fingers and hope it gets accepted.
Choose where you want to self-publish.
Publisher finally accepts and starts working on your book.
Upload your manuscript and click submit. Done.
You may have to pay upfront.
No upfront payment. You set the price.
Easier to get feedback and get the book edited.
You will have to seek feedback and hire a book editor yourself.
Help from an established, professional team.
Slow process, no creative control.
Much faster, complete creative control & freedom.
Low Royalty Rates between 7% and 25%.
High Royalty Rates of 70% to 80%.
History of Self Publishing
The older, more traditional publishing industry was where:
An agent would submit your manuscript to a publishing house.
Any advances toward the book will depend on if the publishing house accepts to publish your book.
They would then work with you to edit, design, and distribute the book.
Today, if you have an internet connection and a computer or any device where you can type into a document, you can write and self publish your eBook, a paperback or a hardcover book in a matter of days or weeks.
Furthermore, you can make your book available, instantly, to millions of readers without investing any money or signing any contracts.
However, self publishing isn’t without its pitfalls either.
What’s challenging is to make your book a bestseller without the expertise and experience of a large publisher, for ex. like Penguin Random House.
But that hasn’t stopped many writers from rising up to the challenge by using DIY creative marketing methods and leveraging SEO and social media.
Which is why we’ve created this complete guide to equip you with the knowledge you require to self publish your book successfully.
What defines True Success in Publishing?
If you can support yourself as a full-time writer, then you’ve made it as a successful self published author.
And while this might seem surprising, this is now actually easier without a publisher.
Famous Self Published Authors
Yes, we are living in truly exciting times, where your self published books can create a source of never-ending income for you.
Don’t take our word for it, take a look at these brilliant examples of self published authors below:
Yes, you will have to do a little bit of work to find the best freelancers, but it’s fairly easy and you end up saving a fortune on upfront costs and royalties later compared to assisted publishing or a publishing house.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you check their portfolio, reviews, and ask the right questions. Also make sure to get a trial first before committing to the full book.
The freelancer websites allow you to make the freelancers sign a legal confidentiality agreement. You can also provide your own. There are free sample NDAs online.
While there’s minimal cost to self publishing an eBook, there may be higher printing costs involved for a paperback or a hardcover physical book, depending on:
Converting your ideas and dictations into text has one huge benefit.
You can use a lot of the transcribed text in your book.
Furthermore, if you’ve hit the dreaded writer’s block, can’t get started, or are procrastinating, some of the transcribed ideas or topics can serve as building blocks or missing piece of the puzzle to get you started.
You have a couple of options available to get this done:
Transcribe them yourself: This is the cheapest way because you’ll be doing the transcribing. Our complete guides on and how to do transcription and how to get better at transcribing can help. Keep in mind though that to transcribe 1 hour of recorded audio, it can take you between 8-10 hours without specialized transcription equipment. So it’s a compromise of time vs money.
Use a Speech Recognition Software: This is the middle ground. Costs a bit more, but saves you a TON of time. Our guide on the best speech recognition software can help. We don’t recommend this if your recorded audio has background noise or faint voice, or if you’re a fast speaker. You’ll get a rough transcript which you will have to edit and format yourself. It’s also known as automated speech to text.
Use Human Transcription Services: Premium option, but your job ends once you upload your audio for transcription. A team of experienced transcribers take over, do the due diligence and online research for you, label speakers, annotate, add highlighted time stamps etc. all included in price. A legal confidentiality agreement can also be signed to make sure your ideas are secure and all files are deleted once the project is complete.