What are the steps to self-publish your book? The modern boom of independent publishing has put the power to publish in the hands of authors—if they choose to use it. But even once you’ve decided in favor of the indie route over the traditional path of soliciting agents and pitching to publishing-house gatekeepers, what are the actual steps to self-publish your book?
My main focus with this is site is the mechanics of writing well. I don’t talk too much about publishing and marketing because I feel there are so many resources out there that do it much better. Plus, from my vantage point it’s just more fun to explore story theory than Amazon analytics!
However, because I am often asked about the steps to self-publish a book, and because I am currently in the midst of pre-publication work for new my writing-craft book (for which there might be a cover reveal later in the post), it seems a good time to share my own personal, step-by-step process for self-publishing a book.
15 Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book—Whether It’s Fiction or Non-Fiction
First, I will note that this is my process, streamlined through many years and the publication of over a dozen books (both fiction and non-fiction). There are many different ways to do some of the steps (e.g., choosing how to format e-books), but this is the process that continues to work best for me at this point.
For the most part this is the same process I use whether publishing fiction or non-fiction. The writing and editing process for the fiction is more involved than it is for the non-fiction, with many more rounds of editing stretched out over a longer timeline and involving more critique partners, beta readers, and editors. However, once the book is in fighting shape, the publishing process from there is the same whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.
Step #1: Write the Book
Obviously, this step comes first (or maybe not so obviously, since quite a few people start out worrying about publication before they even finish—or sometimes even start—writing the first draft). Although you may have an eventual goal of publishing the book, I recommend putting those plans on the back burner during drafting. The process may be long or short, and you never quite know whether a book will truly be publishable until you’ve finished it.