How I Self-Publish – A Walkthrough
- I half plan my story. When I say this, I mean that I don’t get carried away with the details. I fill out my favourite things in my Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook, then put it to the side for reference. Sometimes I need to start a spreadsheet, or a Scrivener file for cataloging character or setting details. But whenever I write, things change organically. So it’s no use spending too much time preparing. My first book, I wrote 60,000 words before realising the story had changed before I scrapped it all and started again. You may have a different planning process, but that’s mine.
- I write my story. At the moment, I use the software Scrivener, but I also write in Google Docs so that I can take my stories anywhere with me. The main goal for me here, is to get through the first draft as quick as I can, which can be hard when you have two kids, work full-time, volunteer as webmistress for RWA, and blog in your part-time. But it’s a balance I’m determined to learn and conquer.
- Self edit my story. If it’s been too long between writing sessions, I self-edit the prior chapter so that I’m reaquainted with the story before I commence the next chapter. If I’ve gotten through the entire first draft, I self-edit the whole thing. I use Grammarly to help here.
- Beta reader goodness. If I can find someone interested, I send it off to some beta readers for error checking and continuity. A Beta reader is just the term you give for the people who read your story before it’s ready to go out to the rest of the world. These guys will be okay with the occasional spelling error or missing information. It’s their job, if they agree, is to poke holes in your story.
- Design research. It’s at this stage, while waiting for feedback, that I get started on the design elements of the project. I start researching cover ideas. Usually, I create a secret board on Pinterest and go crazy adding things I like the look of.
- Cover Design: I start by opening a file in Photoshop- with the specs matching a Kindle cover. If I’ve found a stock photo to start from, I’ll place it on the first layer. Then go from there. (If you are unfamiliar with Photoshop, I reccomend you take a free tutorial on how to use it before attempting your cover.) Add your title (stick with simple fonts – look at books in your genre for reference) and author name.
- Manuscript Edits. Script changes based on beta feedback and second round of edits (redrafting). Then I send it off for a copy-edit and final proofread.
- Compiling files for publishing. I do two things here: compile one file from Scrivener for e-book distribution, and the other is to create an InDesign doc for print. InDesign isn’t too hard to learn, and it’s flexible with the print options, giving you more control over small things like chapter break images etc.
- Uploading for sale. I currently use Createspace, Ingram Spark, Smashwords and KDP. Everyone has their favourites. I suggest you try to test them to find one that suits you.
I hope that helps you understand the process I go through. If you have any questions, or suggestions for ways you find work for you, I’d love to hear it. Shoot me a question in the comments.