Indie Publishing Tools

What Every Writer Should Know To Get Started

Updated 3/16/17

More and more people ask me how to get started in indie publishing (sometimes called self-publishing). I’ve learned a lot over the past three years, and it’s fun to help other aspiring writers get on the path to publishing their first book. Knowing where to start is important, but just as key is knowing where not to go. Too many writer friends have been scammed out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars from predatory groups that care about making a buck and not your book.

If you’re starting out and decide to go the indie route, there is no reason to go anywhere other than CreateSpace and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). You can expand and tweak from there as needed, but these companies are easy, inexpensive, and will get you on your way. While it still depends on your particular situation and what you aim to get out of writing and publishing, for the majority of writers, going the indie route might make the most sense. More than ever before, getting a book deal through the gatekeepers with a major publisher (or even an agent before that) is akin to winning the lottery. I was recently at a writer’s conference where some young agents described how they get dozens of queries a day, and that only one or two in a thousand may actually get a book deal. Those aren’t good odds, but hey, if you have the next breakout novel of the year, go for it.

For the rest of us, writing a great book is hard, but the process part of indie publishing has evolved to where anyone can do it. You just need to know where to start and when to hire experts along the way. It’s like being the general contractor for a construction project but without the shovels. Take your time. Have fun. Don’t get discouraged. For the first time in the history of the world, you can get your words out to the masses without having to ask permission from anyone. What you do with that opportunity is up to you. Make the most of it.

Here are some fantastic resources to point you in the right direction.

Explanation of the Traditional Publishing Route Steps (by Jane Friedman)

Explanation of the Self/Indie Publishing Route Steps (by Jane Friedman)

How to Publish an EBook (by Jane Friedman)

The Creative Penn (podcast and great resources for writers at all stages)

Story Grid (tips of editing and story formation)

Self Publishing Formula (advice from a new and also a proven author)

Write Publish Repeat (a great book that talks about the process and philosophy of indie publishing)

If you have further questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you out.

Good luck and keep writing!

Steve

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