First timers guide to self-publishing

How do I self-publish?

I self-published my first book in 2014. It was a fun experience, but a deep world of unknown – not knowing what to do or where to go – sort of like the first time you play World of Warcraft (just without the warlocks!).

Feeling like I was on a dark path through the forest of no-where, I joined up to a few webinars, run by authors who self-published which helped me on my way to living the self-publishing dream.

Since publishing, I have had a few people ask HOW I did it so I decided to share my knowledge with you so your path to self-publishing is a peaceful stroll in the blossoming parks of Spring!

Pile of books on a table


If you already have your content, great! You can skip this bit. If not, work on creating your content in a good old MS Word document. Don’t worry about pretty finishes or anything at this stage – just get your ideas on paper..(er, screen)!


Once I had the content down, I sent my content off to an editor so ensure everything sounded as professional as I had imagined in my head. The wonderful Susie Campbell at Hullaballo PR edited and enhanced my text and sent is back with track changes so I could see what she had changed.

Susie also wrote a press release for me which I used to promote my book once I had published.


    Being a graphic designer, I did this part myself. If you are planning to release a printed copy, I highly recommend seeking the services of a graphic designer who works in print and publication. This will ensure that everything is set up how it should be and conforms to all print specifications set by your publisher.
  • E-BOOK
    You know that word document you have been busy formulating? This is all you need for your e-book. Because e-books formats are adaptable and will look different on every device, you will need to ensure colours and graphics are kept to a minimum when formatting your document. Avoid using templates and word art or you will run into problems. To create the .epub files, I used Calibre – E-Book Management System which is a FREE software. I found it very easy to use and it did the job!
  • E-PDF
    I also created a downloadable PDF version of my book to sell online through my web store. It is a condensed version of the book – not as many pages or images to keep file size down but you can do whatever you like in this department! Just ask your designer to supply an online copy of the design or, convert your e-book to a PDF.

STEP 5: Registering an ISBN

An ISBN is a number that identifies your book when being sold through distribution channels. You CAN NOT publish anything legally and sell it without an identifier. I used Thorpe-Bowker to register my ISBN and barcodes.

STEP 5: Self-Publishing

Now you have all of your content and files, its time to publish! The Publisher I used is Ingram Spark, part of the Ingram Content Group, which is a print-on-demand printer. This means, they only print a copy of your book when someone purchases a copy – reducing your financial outlay.

It’s is free to join as a publisher, and it costs around $50 to submit a title. They handle everything from your Amazon accounts and distribution of your title. You are given access to an online portal where you can manage your pricing, distribution preferences and even order a proof copy of your new title before pushing it onto the purchase market.


And that’s it! All you have to do now is promote your book. Some ideas? Set up a facebook page, send a press release off to your local media and anyone who may be interested to drum up sales. And don’t forget to check out my book – “Guide to creating your business image and branding”.

© Studio: tiffany gouge