Self-Publishing: 8 Tips To Write More And Produce Better Books

The self-publishing process involves many elements. It’s easy to get bogged down. You wait and wait some more: for a cover to be done, or for beta readers.

To avoid so much waiting, develop a workflow, so that your writing and publishing process eliminates wasted time.

Try these tips.

1. Get an idea, write a blurb (description)

As soon as you get an idea for a book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, write down your idea. Expand the idea to 300 words. Look at this description as a mini-outline. It stops you wandering off-track later, once you start writing.

You may or may not use parts of this initial blurb later when you publish.

2. Expand on the blurb: create a quick list outline (or two characters for fiction)

Without thinking about it too much, spend five minutes writing a list of what you intend to cover in the book if you’re writing nonfiction.

Writing fiction? Create two characters: job, and attribute:

  • Bored accountant. For the mob.
  • Self-confident female surgeon.

You’ll find that this simple character-creation process sparks ideas. I had no idea that the “bored accountant” would be working for criminals, that just sprang to mind.

3. Write, while developing a more extensive outline

Start writing. I focus on the major scenes; I want to know what these big scenes will be by the time I’ve written 10,000 words.

With nonfiction, avoid doing research until you know the slant (angle) you’re taking on your topic.

4. Create a title, order a book cover, research keywords, start marketing

Do these basic self-publishing chores as soon as you can. If you have time, do them concurrently with writing. Avoid letting the chores cut into your writing time, however.

Tip: premade covers are handy, especially if you’re writing a series. Or create your own. Canva has useful templates.

5. Re-vision: have you kept your promises?

When revising, ensure that your completed book lives up to the promise of your blurb.

For example, let’s say you’re aiming for a Lee Childs/ Jack Reacher suspense novel. Read what you’ve written. Did you achieve that goal? If not, start revising heavily.

With nonfiction, have you differentiated your book? Does it serve its audience? If you’ve written a “me too” clone of other books on the topic, revise.

6. Send to beta readers: edit, and edit again

Once your revision is done, and you’ve done some light editing, whip the book off to your favorite beta readers. While you’re waiting for them to get back to you, start your next book.

Then take your betas’ comments on board, and edit. Twice. Edit once to ensure that there’s no boring bits. The second edit is to make sure that there are no stupid bits. Fact-check yourself.

Do a final proof, and…

7. Publish: ready or not

Upload the book to your favorite online book retailers. I’ve found that Draft2Digital makes publishing easier.

8. Productive self-publishing: start your next book

Start your next book while you’re revising/ editing etc your current book. Following the same process, while your current book’s being edited.

Here’s why you need to do this.

If you’re enthusiastic about the book you’re currently writing, you won’t be overwhelmed by comments from your betas, or by your editor, if you’re already writing something else.

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