Self-Publishing Your Book [Ultimate Indie Author Guide]

Self-publishing is tough, but not impossible. This short article will demonstrate what you should be doing less of, and also more of!

1. Self-publishing your First Book with the Reader in Mind

Whether you’re in indie or traditional publishing, you have to put the reader first.

Before writing a book, the best way to start is by imagining your ideal reader. Next, think of the kind of writing that would draw them to your world. Create reader profiles to organize your thoughts. Here are some questions to help you get started with your fiction book or short story:

  • What is the typical age range of your reader?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they live (e.g. country, urban, or rural)?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Why do they read this genre? What are they getting out of it?
  • Where do they buy their books, in what format, and how often?

For nonfiction books, explore what concerns or issues your book addresses. Figure out how experienced your audience is with your topic. This helps with the usage of technical or industry-specific terms.

Digital has transformed the publishing industry in the 21st century. Now, independent publishers are rewriting the rules when it comes to the publishing process. Tech solutions have sped up production; marketing strategies continue to expand. With an unlimited amount of self-publishing resources on the web, it’s never been easier to connect with your reader.

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PublishDrive writers increased digital book sales by 69%, distributing to thousands of stores worldwide.

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2. Invest Time and Resources into Production

Digital publishing can be cost-effective with plenty of DIY methods out there.

However, we recommend investing in your book as much as you can. Some of the major components in producing a book include professional design, book editing, formatting, distribution, marketing, and finance.

If you’re a newbie, you’ll most likely need to cover the book production costs in the beginning. Self-publishing means running an entire publishing business yourself. If you can, outsource the editing, book cover design, and interior design of your book to professionals. Also, know that there are different standards for print, ebook, and audiobook formats. A book cover is extremely important as it’s the first thing a potential reader will see. We share three simple tips.

Publishing companies have an entire team for production. As an independent author, you can find talented cover designers or editors on freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr. Definitely bookmark this free conversion tool when you’re ready to turn your manuscript into an ebook file. At the end of the day, investing in your book production should result in a more professional product for your reader.

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3. Sell your Book Everywhere

Your reader profile should include where your audience will go to see and buy your book.

Your reader profile should include where your audience will go to see and buy your book. There are thousands of online retailers, including popular book stores like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s common for authors to enroll in Amazon’s exclusive program called KDP Select (Kindle Unlimited). It’s considered exclusive because authors are not allowed to sell their books via other retailers or aggregators for 90 days.

Along with Amazon, there’s Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play Books. Beyond online retailers, subscription models like Scribd or Dreame are growing in popularity. Especially in 2020, digital libraries (schools, universities, public, corporate) like OverDrive, Bibliotheca, and Mackin skyrocketed. 

As various stores reach a spectrum of audiences and countries, we highly suggest distributing your everywhere possible. PublishDrive covers all of the stores mentioned above. With a single book distribution platform, easily reach over 30 million readers. (Note: stores have different pricing models, meaning varying profitability per store.

By the end of 2020, indies sold 85% more digital book sales with PublishDrive. The growth was apparent across countries and stores:

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4. Publish and Distribute your Book in all Formats 

On PublishDrive, we have the most successful self-published authors publishing in multiple book formats including ebook, audiobook, and print.

The great thing about having your completed manuscript is that it can be turned in to these different formats. This is all about maximizing your earnings and reaching more readers.

Audio is the fastest-growing segment in publishing with over 67 million listeners. In the United States, audio sales beat ebook sales for the first. And PublishDrive indies are finding success as they saw growth rates in stores like Google Play Audio by 110%. Read how to publish audio here.

Print is still a favorite across age groups. Amid the pandemic, print books were up by 5.5% in 2020. In one special month, indies sold 93% more print books via PublishDrive. With print-on-demand technology, indies now have a sustainable and easy way to offer print versions of their book. Additionally, shipping and printing costs become more manageable with POD. Read how to publish print-on-demand here.

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5. Promote your Book ALL THE TIME

Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Here’s an interesting finding from Q3 of 2020. PublishDrive looked at 800 online book promotions where prices were discounted. On average, indies generated 10x more growth and an extra 2% for the rest of their catalog. (Fun fact, books priced originally at $9.99 performed the best.) These kinds of online marketing strategies work! 

PublishDrive's publishing services include a suite of marketing tools where you can run price promos, get featured in stores or newsletters, get shoutouts on social media, and send review copies to friends and influencers. With Amazon being the #1 hub for ebooks, running effective Amazon ads can make a huge difference. PublishDrive’s tool helps you set up Amazon ads and optimize performance. Be a bomb book marketer and promote your book with ease.

Also, it’s crucial to understand your ebook sales to make the best decisions in your business.

With PublishDrive’s sales analytics dashboard, track book sales in real-time. Generate reports, view pre-made charts, and filter by country, title, store type, and more.


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Now is the Time to Sell Digital Books

Digital books have been on the rise over the past decade.

In 2020, the demand surged as more people sought at-home entertainment such as books. Not only that, but schools and educational institutions have adapted to digital reading substitutes due to remote learning. And western content is wanted more than ever around the globe.

The number of book establishments in the United States has decreased. But indie authors and publishers have fared well. In 2020, indies made 85% more sales via PublishDrive. In places like China, the largest market in the world, indies sold 201% more digital copies. This trend is global, reaching most markets as well as different store channels and digital formats. For a complete overview of the trends in 2020, download our free whitepaper:

We Spent Hours Researching and Compiling Global Book Market Trends in 2020

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