The Indie Author’s Self-Publishing Checklist

March 1st, 2018

You’ve got your story written and you’re ready to see it hit the shelves, but what happens between finishing your manuscript and seeing your labour of love for sale in stores? There are many benefits to choosing to self-publish over traditional publishing, but just because you don’t have to face industry gatekeepers, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. We’re here to give you a run-down of all the steps you’ll need to take if you’ve decided to go down the self-publishing route.   
Step 1: Start Marketing   
Self publishing is a brave and exciting step to take, but if you want anyone outside of your friends and family to buy and enjoy your book, you’re going to have to make sure they know about it. You should have a solid marketing plan in place well before your book goes to print. This means an online presence, author website (including a mailing list!) and social media. Start talking to potential readers and get them excited about your book!   

Step 2: Find an editor   
Every manuscript, no matter how long or short or how many hours of work have been put into it needs an editor. If you’ve spent months, or even years working on a story, there’s a good chance that you’re too close to it to be able to see where it might need some improvement. A good editor will be able to point out weaknesses in your plot, characters and dramatic tension as well as spotting problems in your sentence structure and the odd typo. This is one area no author can afford to cut corners - remember, once a book is published, it’s too late to fix things!   

Step 3: Find a cover artist or illustrator   
Whether you’re selling your book exclusively as a digital copy or you’re planning on having hard copies in every bookstore, a professionally designed cover is a must. There’s a reason ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is such a ubiquitous saying - because we do! Your book’s cover is its first and best marketing tool, so don’t be tempted to slap a $5 stock photo on the cover of yours. Trust us, people will notice.   

 Step 4: Find a designer   
 It’s not just your cover that needs to be professionally designed, your book’s internal pages do too. Proper internal design, typesetting and layout makes sure that no formatting errors end up in the published version of your book and makes sure that your readers have an easy and enjoyable reading experience.   

Step 5: More Marketing 
Having a solid and diligent marketing plan is vital to the success of an indie author. Remember, you don’t have the marketing department of a major publisher at your disposal and visibility is key. At this stage of your self publishing journey you should be contacting book bloggers, reviewers and ramping up interest in your online and personal networks leading up to your book launch.   

Step 6: Publish!   
If you’re going digital-only, this means uploading your files and publishing on your platform of choice. If you’re publishing hard copies, it’s a little more complicated. You’ll need to find a printer, decide on paper stock, place your order and wait patiently for your shipment of books to be delivered. If you want to get your books into stores, you’ll also need a distributor to get those babies on the shelves.   

Step 7: Your official book launch!   
The day has finally arrived! Book a venue and bust out the nibbles, you’re ready to officially present your book to readers nationwide a book launch is an incredible opportunity to connect with your readers firsthand and to thank all of the people who supported you through the process. We’ll make another post outlining some great book launch ideas.

Step 8: Keep Marketing!   
Now your book is out and looking for new homes to go to, it’s your job to spread the news. School and library visits, radio interviews, press releases to magazines, book reviews online and in print are all great ways to get your book out there, but it takes a lot of work to build and maintain interest as an indie author. It’s definitely possible though, so don’t give up!  

Overwhelmed? Don’t worry! We’ll be delving deep into the nitty gritty of each of these steps over the coming months. If you have any specific questions or would like us to cover a particular element of the publishing process, let us know in the comments.   

If all of this makes your head spin, take a look at how Little Steps’ partnership publishing model can take you from your final draft to publication without you having to be a one-person publishing house.

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Comments (2)

Rachelle Worth - May 11th, 2018 11:29am
Hi...have a question What are the process for kids creating the illustrations for the book... ???


Angel - February 8th, 2019 12:14am
Hi Rachelle,
Apologies for not seeing this sooner! The process for kids creating a book would be much the same as a professional illustrator. We make sure to provide first time illustrators, of all ages, as much guidance and direction as needed!
All the best,


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