by Carolyn Arnold

Self-publishing is both rewarding and challenging—but has no guarantees. There are so many books flooding the market these days, and that means authors need to put together a stronger game plan than ever. What’s the best path? The following tips will guide you to a better chance of self-publishing success.

1. Commit

Effective immediately: Eliminate the word “hobby” from your vocabulary.

Successful authors take their writing seriously and view publishing as a business because that’s what it truly is.

2. Schedule

Block out time on your calendar to write and respect that “appointment.”

Protect this time by staying off social media, silencing your phone, and not checking your e-mail.

3. Write

Write an amazing book and repeat. When professional authors finish one book, they get started on the next.

Self-published authors who can produce a series often meet with more success than those who write various standalone books.

4. Edit

Rewrite your “baby” without showing mercy. Revise, revise, revise, but don’t go it alone!

Hire professional editors to help you.

Keep in mind there are different types of editing that you should consider: developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and a cold reading (what most people call proofreading, but as my editor has shared with me, is actually a different thing!).

If you’re doing it right, you should be sick of reading your book by the time you upload it to distributors!

5. Observe

Watch the competition from a distance. Don’t compare yourself to other authors and how their books are doing as this can lead to discouragement. There will always be someone doing much better than you. But you should look at bestseller lists and take stock of the covers, the book descriptions, the quality of the products, and the price points.

Sign up for newsletters from your favorite authors, too, just to see what they’re doing. You might even be able to tell from the outside what is or isn’t working for them.

6. Choose quality

Hire professional graphic artists and designers for cover art and interior formatting. Don’t choose between editing and a nice cover. Self-publishing success means holding off until you can afford both so that you can put out the highest quality product possible.

7. Cultivate

Establish your platform and grow your readership. Have a presence on social media. Set up a website and maybe even a blog. There are free options out there to make this happen. Set up a MailChimp or other newsletter account and start collecting e-mail addresses.

 The readers who sign up for your newsletter will become your most loyal fans—if you treat them right.

8. Engage

View your readers as your friends and make it easy for them to engage with you. Reply promptly to messages and comments on social media and have a contact page on your website for them to reach out to you.

9. Advertise

And pay for it. Any successful business pays for advertising, and if you take your work seriously, so will you. Many authors have a lot of success marketing with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bookbub (ads and features), and many other paid advertising sites.

10. Get reaction

Build up book reviews. It can feel daunting to approach national publications or magazines, but don’t underestimate bloggers. They are an excellent source from which to obtain book reviews. You can do so through a paid blog tour or by contacting individual bloggers yourself. To find bloggers who read and review your genre, do a Google search. When you find a blogger who seems perfect for your book, read their review policy and respect it!

11. Diversify

Go global. Make your book available on as many retailers as possible, and never lock yourself into just one. After all, you worked hard on your book, and these days your publishing reach can extend around the globe! Keep in mind, too, that readers use different retailer platforms and have different reading preferences. Some like e-books, some print, some audiobook. Make one, two, or all three of these formats available for your readers so you don’t miss out!

12. Be happy

Reward yourself when you reach targets.

Use them as morale boosters. If you feed your soul first, then you’ll have more to give in your books—and to the world!

As I mentioned earlier, these tips are just some things you can do to move toward self-publishing success. I hope they will be helpful for you on your writing journey. Heck, if just one really struck you, then I’m very happy that I set aside the time to write this post. I blocked it out in my schedule and everything.

Want to chat about self-publishing success? Come weigh in on Facebook!


self publishing

self publishingCarolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor.

She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Learn more about Carolyn and her books.