How Do I Become A Self-Published Author?

Tips on how to get your first book out there!

Michelle Massie

2/12/20233 min read

Is it possible for anyone to become a self-published author? You betcha. Anyone who has the desire, the drive, and the know-how to write can get a novel out there, no problemo.

But first! What IS self-publishing, anyway? Glad you asked!

Self-publishing is exactly what it sounds like—publishing your manuscript yourself. You write it, format it, add pictures, everything. Book cover. Editing. Marketing. Then you hop onto Amazon or Lulu or any self-publishing company, and BAM! You have just published a book!

( It is a lengthy process. Not trying to tell you it’s as easy as pie, but you get it.)

Okay, so what is traditional publishing? Traditional publishing occurs when a publisher offers an author a contract, and then does the printing, publishing, and selling of your book through book retailers and stores.

Sounds great, right? Actually getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. First, you would need to hire a literary agent. That’s right—you need to hire a literary agent just to send your book to a publishing company.

Sure, you could send it in yourself. The odds of getting a manuscript read without an agent? Highly unlikely.

These days, publishing a book yourself is not only doable but totally worth it! My first book came out this year, and holding my paperback copy in my hands was one of the best feelings ever. Imagine, me, a plain old mom with a 9-5 job, actually a published author.

So, to all those would-be authors out there who were too afraid to send their manuscripts to a publisher—never fear. I want you to finish that book, get it prettied up, and send it to Amazon.

It can be done at a fairly low rate (depending on your definition of fairly low) and with the use of freelancers out there, can still measure up to the big names.

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Now, I am not telling you not to try traditional publishing, if that’s your cup of tea. I’m not saying it will be easier, one way or the other. Either publishing route takes thick skin, determination, and hundreds of cups of coffee. If traditional publishing is your goal, I say go for it!

For me, I wanted my book out there faster. I didn’t want to wait for a publisher to give it the green light, then get in print, then do whatever they do. You want to see them regardless of whether of a publishing house thinks you are good enough.

Remember Pride and Prejudice? The author of that classic, Jane Austen, sent her book to a publishing company in 1797 and was rejected. Fourteen years later, Austen’s book was self-published and is now a classic in the world of literature.

Here are some more names you may have heard. ALL, at one point in their career, were self-published authors.

  • Charles Dickens

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Stephen King

  • Rudyard Kipling

  • James Patterson

  • J. K. Rowling

  • Edgar Allen Poe

  • Mark Twain

  • Walt Whitman

  • Margaret Atwood

And soooooo many more. This is just a fraction of authors who, at some point in their career, self-published a novel.

Ever hear of Andy Weir? He is the self-published author of The Martian. After being turned down numerous times by publishing houses, Andy opted to self-publish one chapter at a time on his own website.

The result? Andy finally published on Amazon Kindle (at the request of his fans) and quickly rose to the Best Seller list, selling 35,000 copies in only three months.

Andy was then contacted by a literary agent and sold the rights to Crown Publishing Group. It turned into a New York Times best-seller in 2014. The Wall Street Journal named it “the best pure sci-fi novel in years.” In 2015, it was adapted into a film starring Matt Damon.

And this is only one example. It has happened numerous times! Could you imagine?

Now, I’m not telling you to take the self-publishing route because it’s easier, or you are going to get guaranteed results. I’m telling you it’s so much more possible to get a book, or a dozen books, out there now.

I dare you to try!

Happy Reading!


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