The Basics of Self-Publishing

What is self-publishing and why does it matter to you?

The book publishing industry has changed dramatically over the last decade, with several self-publishing companies available to help any author succeed in publishing their book, short story, or flash fiction.

If you can write it, then there’s a self-publishing company that can help you publish it.

Self-Publishing Companies

Below are a few self-publishing companies that I’ve used to publish Harvest and Haunt and Shadowlands Poetry.

Kindle Direct Publishing




Traditional Versus Self-Publishing

The traditional publishing route of finding a literary agent and securing a book contract with a publishing house is an option, particularly if you have a timely story or niche book that fits nicely into the publisher’s future publishing plans. In contrast, self-publishing allows authors to publish on their timeline regardless of the trends.

Finding Your Niche

Self-published authors often publish in many genres, each with a specific pen name. As a self-published author myself, I can attest to how tempting it is to write in several genres instead of writing in just one. However, I also think it’s important for authors to confirm which genres they know they will be able to sustain long term.

Which genre(s) are your favorite to read?

Which genre(s) are your favorite to write?

Do you enjoy writing in those genre(s) enough to publish in then year after year?

Should you get a literary agent and try the traditional publishing route?



You can create your own audiobooks with ACX, Findaway Voices, and Draft2Digital.

I have used ACX to publish Shadowlands Poetry and had a great experience.

Print and Ebooks

All self-publishing companies focus on print and ebook publishing, but their distribution varies. For example, if you publish through Amazon’s KDP and you select KDP Unlimited, then you won’t be able to publish to other vendors. In contrast, you can have a distributor, like Draft2Digital, publish your book to as many publishing vendors as you want.


There are plenty of how-to guides and infographics from a variety of resources on the pros and cons of the different book publishing platforms. One of my favorite sources is Kindlepreneur. Another great resource is the self-published author Sara Cannon‘ YouTube channel.

Book Covers

One of the fun parts of self-publishing is learning the process and seeing your vision come to life. I create my own books covers using a variety of tools (Canva and Creative Market).

I find it easier to location the images that I want, rather than using a stock cover. In addition, you can add your personality to the cover with a variety of details until you feel like you have it perfect.


Editors and proofreaders can improve your manuscript dramatically. The Editorial Freelancers Association provides rates and several freelance companies make it easy to find an editor or proofreader (Upwork).

I highly recommend working with a book editor if you are new to self-publishing. Find a suitable editor and ask them to edit something small, like short story, rather than a novel. Establish with the editor the type of edit that you need first (development edit, line edit, copy edit, proofread, or beta reading). Then, ask the editor to provide a test edit to the first 10 to 20 pages of the story. Once you find an editor that enjoys reading your books and you appreciate their edits, then you may want to reserve time on their calendar for when you will have your novel ready.

The Basics of Self-Publishing

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on The Basics of Self-Publishing.

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me which company you’ve used to publish.

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