top of page

The Art of Self-Publishing


Hi everyone! This month, I have a blog post that explains the process of self-publishing. Less than five years ago, only a few select authors used self-publishing when writing their books. However, all of that has changed today.

Unless you are a big-name author, there are very few reasons for anyone to want to go the traditional publishing route anymore. If you want to grow your brand by writing a book or telling a great story, self-publishing is for you.

Let’s dive into the process of self-publishing. Please feel free to email A.E. if you would like to learn more about this content.

“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." - Zig Ziglar


In today's world, self-publishing is taking the book world by storm. Thanks to recent technology, self-publishing has become a household term for authors around the globe. The first question you may ask yourself is: What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is publishing a book as the author without using a company. Authors who publish their books independently, or “indie authors,” have complete creative control and full autonomy over their process. Here are the self-publishing steps:

  1. Writing

  2. Editing

  3. Branding

  4. Cover Design

  5. Layout

  6. Formatting

  7. Pricing

  8. Optimizing Metadata

  9. Distributing

  10. Marketing

Because the entire process is your responsibility, leaving room in your budget to hire professional services such as cover design and editing is essential.

“What sells a book sells a book, same in traditional or self-publishing. You got to shake your tailfeathers.” - Joni Rodgers

Ten Steps to Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is a long and complex process. It takes some authors multiple books to master the self-publishing process. Here are ten steps to master self-publishing:

1. Write What Readers Want

One of the best parts of self-publishing is being the captain of your own ship. However, if you want your book to sell, you must write a story that readers want to see. Effective book marketing is about acknowledging and tapping into a desire that already exists.

2. Find a Professional Editor

If you ask your readers to pay for your work, having a professional editor can help. In self-publishing, this will be your largest significant expense throughout the process. Feel free to run through everything else, but don't skimp on editing.

3. Nail Your Niche and Branding

Determining your niche is essential to self-publishing, so you know who you are selling to. Your particular niche is different from your overall genre; it's more specific. You may want to delve into paranormal romance or steampunk sci-fi. Self-publishing has evolved when it comes to branding and positioning. Some authors are good at what's hot and what's not, while others struggle with it. I recommend paying close attention to your cover, which we'll do now.

4. Design Your Cover

Book covers often handle that critical first impression with a reader. A good cover won’t lead to success, but a bad one will sink you. Cover design is a non-negotiable when it comes to self-publishing.

5. Layout Your Story

Veteran self-publishers will sample an ebook before downloading it. You want your readers to taste the meat of the story immediately. In turn, this will genuinely sell your book. It's absolutely critical that you lay out your story with little details in a way that's easy for your readers. Do not waste this opportunity.

6. Format Your Manuscript into an Ebook

This process will magically reshape and resize your story for whatever device readers use. Self-published authors can hire a professional formatter very cheaply or use a tool such as Scrivener or Vellum.

7. Come up with a Price

Some author's biggest misconceptions come with pricing. The most common misconception in self-publishing is to mistake price and value. As self-publishing has grown, pricing has changed. Self-publishing views pricing as a lever, and authors tend to choose the price that makes the most money.

8. Optimize Metadata

Rookie authors can be a little intimidated by such a big word. In simple terms, metadata means little pieces of information that authors attach to their books. These pieces of information include your name and book title. Others include keywords and categories. These last two metadata bits are one's authors must pay particular attention to when self-publishing.

9. Distribute Your Story

Authors should always self-publish directly on Amazon. Amazon offers several benefits to authors, including no upfront fees, a 70% royalty rate, global reach, payment 2-3 months after the sale, print and audio versions, and access to advertising. If Amazon isn't the best choice for you, there are more retailers out there, including Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Press, and Google Play.

10. Devise a Marketing Plan

The first step to creating a marketing plan includes deprogramming yourself. Forget about traditional methods such as book signings and interviews. What really sells books is free promotions. As you sell more books, things get more complicated. You may dive deep into branding, advertising, box sets, etc. Authors can choose their marketing poison however they like.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain


Self-publishing a book can be an empowering experience. Authors have an opportunity to inspire people and communities they care about around the world. If you are an author looking to publish your first book, self-publishing is the way to go. No one will stand in your way.

In self-publishing, your only limitations are time and effort. If you follow these steps, you can overcome anything standing in the way of your fully-published book.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, please leave a comment below or email A.E. He'd be happy to answer any follow-up questions.


Self-Publishing School – Chandler Bolt breaks down a proven blueprint for self-publishing. – Angelica Hargers offers a beginner’s guide to self-publishing.

David Gaughran – David breaks down how to self-publish a book in ten steps.

The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn teaches you how to market your book.

Kevin Petrochko is a guest writer for A.E. Williams Editorial who has worked with clients in multiple industries writing content for websites and blogs. As a former journalist, Kevin has contributed sports writing to multiple publications. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and through email.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page