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Five Steps to Self-Publishing Your Masterpiece

Five Steps to Self-Publishing Your Masterpiece

We live in an age where everyone and their dog can be a published author. Thanks to the wonders of self-publishing through the interwebs, you can have a novel up for the world's purchasing pleasure as fast as you can write it. Still, there a few important things you need to do if you want to rise above the crowd of thousands and thousands of self-published epics. For your convenience, here is a list of a couple things you should keep in mind when self-publishing your masterpiece.

1. Write it.

So many would be writers spend their days talking about writing a book, but never actually sit down and start doing it. Before you can be the next Lindsay Buroker, you have to get them words on that electronic paper. Luckily for you, since you're self-publishing, there are no real requirements for length. 40,000 words makes a novel, so that's a good minimum. The sky is the limit.

2. Self-edit first.

After you've finished your first draft, give yourself a couple weeks to just chill. Let it all sink in and fester in your brainz0rz before you go back and edit yourself. You need to look for grammatical mistakes, but you definitely need to check out the content too. Novels that have more going on than they need to tend to end up feeling inflated. Is there a character that just doesn't serve a purpose? DESTROY!

3. Get someone else to edit, too.

Probably the biggest mistake that self-publishing authors make in getting into the biz is not getting anyone else to do an edit on your manuscript before publishing it. If you're strapped for cash, you can get writer friends whose opinions you respect to give it a few looksies. The best result will come if you can fork over the dough for a proper editing job from a real editor, but that's expensive. Writers usually pay up to about $1000 to get a professional to go over their work with a fine toothed comb, but the end result is always so much better.

4. Formatting

Publishing your novel isn't as simple as throwing a Word document up on a website. There's a certain style of formatting you need to use if you don't want the whole thing to look weird when people buy it. Luckily, there are some handy guides on to help with this, like Book Formatting for Self-Publishers and How to Format A Book and Other Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing. Give those a looksee before you submit your book.

5. Have an awesome cover

The first thing anyone sees when shopping for new books to read is your book cover. If it looks like something you threw together in 5 minutes on Paint, chances are their interest levels will drop immediately. Would you buy a book with a cover that makes it look like the writer doesn’t even care? Probably not! So turn to your experienced graphic designer friends and ask them nicely to help you out with this. You want your book cover to look like The Burning of Cherry Hill or The Caline Conspiracy. See how professional those look? It makes all the difference!

It may seem like a daunting task when you start, but taking all these steps will give you a much better chance of making yourself successful in the new world of self-publishing. There are tons of great writers out there who have found themselves making some pretty good scratch going the self-publishing route, but it won’t happen to everybody! Set yourself up for success and it’s a lot more likely to come your way.

What would your first self-published book be about?

Tags: writing, novels, publishing, life, books-and-comics, self publishing

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About the Author
Matt Heckler

Matt Heckler is a writer, book critic, musician, movie nerd, sci-fi aficionado, and awesome beard haver from Chicago. When he isn't writing for The MindHut, he is drinking tasty beverages and working on his first novel. Follow him on Twitter @androiddreamer!

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