Book Marketing

How to Self-Publish a Book [The Ultimate Indie Author Guide]

Your Guide on How to Self-Publish a Book

Want to learn how to self-publish a book?

That’s awesome because in 2020 indies made 85% more sales than the previous year.

While traditional publishing struggles, self-publishing dominates; digital books are in demand more than ever. Here’s your guide on how to publish a book yourself!

1. Writing With the Reader in Mind

How to write and publish your own book? First and foremost, center your work around the reader. Creating reader profiles is a great way to get organized.

You want to ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the typical age of my desired reader?
  • What does my reader do for a living?
  • Why would my reader look for a particular genre?

To write a book, check out apps like Scrivener. Free options include Google Docs or Reedsy Write. Try out alternative methods like Google Voice typing. Here’s a lift of our favorite writing software.

Also, tap into a bunch of resources available on the web. Check out Brandon Sanderson’s free video courses for general writing. Practice with writing prompts. Or join writer groups like PublishDrive’s Facebook Group or Reddit’s Writer’s Group to exchange ideas, get feedback, and connect with others.

After completing your first manuscript, don’t forget to edit and proofread.

Here are various ways to get that done:

  • Hire a copyeditor or proofreader to check your grammar and any inconsistencies in your manuscript. Costs start at $10 per 1,000 words.
  • Hire a developmental editor to check your grammar. Get suggestions on your storyline, style, and structure. A pro charges around $40 per 1,000 words or more.
  • To save on funds, look for a beta reader
  • Do your own review with the Chicago Manual of Style or your chosen style guide.
  • Run your manuscript through Grammarly (a free app) to spot any mistakes.


💡Did you know?

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

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2. Formatting eBook, Print, and Audiobook Formats

After finalizing your manuscript, the next step is to format it for ebook, print, or audiobook creation. You can outsource the work to a professional or do it yourself.

Follow these standards for each book type:

Ebook: To format your manuscript for ebook conversion, remove the styling used in your Word or Google doc. Then, go back in and add consistent styling by following this guide.

For example, every chapter should start on a new page. Or, there shouldn’t be any extra spaces or breaks in between paragraphs. When ready, use this free ebook converter to generate an EPUB or MOBI file (required and accepted by most stores).

Print: With print books, there are two main PDF files to have ready. The first file should include a front cover, back cover, spine, and bleed area. The second file is your main manuscript that should follow these guidelines.

With print-on-demand (a go-to in self-publishing), paperbacks are popular (trim size of 6x9 inches). At the basic level, put your manuscript together in a Word or Google doc. Or try an ebook writing software for a more professional layout.

Audiobook: As the fastest-growing segment in publishing, we strongly suggest getting into audio. What’s needed here are MP3 audio files of your book being read out loud and your cover design (1400x1400 resolution). Separate your audio files by chapters.

All chapter numbers or titles should be read out loud at the start of every chapter. And each chapter should not exceed 120 minutes. Read more.


Want to Publish Your Book in Every Format? PublishDrive is The Only Self-Publishing Platform that Allows You To Do That.

PublishDrive allows you to publish your book in ebook, audiobook or print format

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3. Publishing With The Right Companies and Services

At this point, you may ask “how do I self-publish a book with the right people?”

With several publishing services out there, we know it can get overwhelming. You’d have to consider exactly where to send a copy of your book or how to price your book. As a team that works with thousands of book channels, we have pointers.

Most indies know of Amazon’s KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing). When selling your book through KDP, it’s crucial to know that you can’t sell anywhere else for the first 90 days. We recommend going beyond Amazon with international markets and more stores. Although Amazon is a major player in the book market, they’re not the only one. In fact, 60% of digital book sales via PublishDrive come from outside of Amazon.

PublishDrive global book market report of store growth in 2020

Check out the stores and markets with the highest growth rates in 2020. We see impressive hikes from subscription platforms like Dreame by 92,441% and Chinese retailers like Dangdang by 288%.


We've Spent Hours Researching and Compiling Global Book Market Trends for 2020.  

We're giving it all away for free! Just enter your details, and we'll email you our findings.

PublishDrive global book market trends white paper free download


4. Choosing The Right Publishing Aggregator

Doing your research and vetting individual stores in order to sell everywhere is one route.

Or you can use a trusted aggregator like PublishDrive that handles multiple distribution networks for you.

See our list of partner stores made up of over 400 online stores and 240K libraries.

We connect you with online retailers like Amazon, Google, and Apple, plus rapidly growing channels like Dreame.

PublishDrive Platform Publishing Options

5. Promoting With Effective Tactics and Tools

“How do I publish my own book and guarantee success?”

When running an author business, you’re not done after getting published. In order to sustain your gig, it takes a solid marketing strategy and continuous tactics to advertise your book. Don’t get alarmed! There are resources to help you.

Expect to learn, experiment, and make adjustments throughout your journey.

The thing about online book promotions: they work.

In 2020, PublishDrive indies ran 800 discounted sales promotions. These campaigns achieved 10x more growth on average. Paid advertising on places like BookBub works too.

On PublishDrive, not only can you set up price promos, but you can run paid placements or submit your book for many featuring opportunities with prominent stores and newsletters.

With PublishDrive’s suite of tools, marketing your book takes place on one dashboard.

Send out protected copies of your book to collect reviews from friends and influencers. Use our friendly Amazon advertising tool to set up and optimize ads. Or if you have a book launch or other news to share, get a social media shoutout.

PublishDrive Platform Book Promotion Options

6. Tracking Your Book Sales Performance

It’s critical to have an organized and transparent system for tracking your sales. To get the basics on money management for authors, take a look at this write-up. It covers the terms to know, such as revenue, expense, cash flow, and transaction fee.

We’ve been working with indie authors and publishers since 2015. We know the frustration that comes with taking care of administrative tasks – especially finances. If you’re an Excel whiz, that’s fantastic. But for a lot of us, saving time and energy on number crunching is a huge win.


PublishDrive sales analytics and book marketing dashboard


PublishDrive’s sales analytics dashboard gives you a comprehensive view of your book sales across stores and markets. Easily track sales in real-time (along with rankings and reviews) and generate financial reports. View pre-made charts and filter by country, title, store type, and more.

Just Getting Started with Publishing, and Feel a Little Lost?

Our Author Starter Package is a great place to start. Just enter your details, and we'll send it over!

PublishDrive author starter package free download


7. Earning the Most Royalties You Can Get

Unlike other publishing companies, PublishDrive doesn’t take any commission! That means you keep 100% of the royalties you make. When collecting your earnings, just sit back and let PublishDrive handle your diverse revenue streams. Receive regular financial reports and get paid on time.


We've Helped Publish Over 100K Books So Far!

PublishDrive authors boosted sales by 85%

Since 2015, we helped indies maximize their royalties by going digital and global. In 2020, we helped over 18,000 authors get published (and boost sales by 85%).

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What our Authors Say

"It makes sense from a royalty-saving perspective to use PublishDrive for distribution. Why would I say no to taking home more royalties at the end of the day?! Couple that with the time-saving aspect since I can now manage all my non-direct stores in one place.”

-Bestselling Author, Rachel Morgan

“Within 20 minutes of landing on the site, I had my account set up, my book uploaded, metadata set, and I'd hit publish. A member of PublishDrive contacted me with a potential copyright issue and helped me resolve it. Very soon my first ever book was on sale worldwide.”

- Bestselling Author, Lee Gordon Miller


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We're a team of both top industry publishers and developers. We work day and night on building breakthrough publishing tools. From AI support during your metadata setup to bulk import for larger catalogs: write more, and worry less. 

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