I probably receive this question more than any other from fellow writers and readers alike! It's hard to talk about the self-publishing process because it looks different for everyone, but I'm thrilled to get to share a peek into what my personal process looks like! *NOTE: Sometimes I do these out of order, especially with betas, ARCS, and editing, so this is mostly general guidelines!* 📝 SELF/EDITS AND DEVELOPMENTAL EDITS. I covered this a bit in a previous post! I always read through my first draft as quickly as I can for typos, grammar, punctuation, and plot issues. Then I team up with my critique partner(s) (you can also hire a developmental editor if you feel you need extra attention to the foundation of the story!) to hammer out the needs of the second draft! Once you get their edits incorporated, try doing another readthrough to polish up that new draft! 📚 BETA READERS. Authors vary wildly on where they use beta readers in the process. Some do it very late in the game. I personally prefer betas when the book is developmentally complete but not line/copy edited. That way, if beta feedback suggests I need to do some rewrites, I'm not out the money for a line edit of the original version. 📝 LINE/COPYEDITS. Once I've incorporated beta feedback, my books go off to the incredible @cclarkewriting for line/copy edits! Cassidy works her magic helping me polish and trim my often long-winded drafts, and it's always a treat to go through and tackle her notes!
🖥 FORMATTING. With the bulk of edits now done, it's time to format the book for publication specs! You can hire someone to do this or do it yourself. I do it myself to save costs, using templates from diybookformatting.com ! This is such a fun step because I begin to see how the final product will look, as well as getting the final dimensions and word count which open the door for...
📖 COVER. This is one of the best steps of the whole process!! You can hire a designer outright or go through a service like upwork, fiverr or 99Designs; in any case, one of the keys is to advocate for yourself and your book. Too many authors are afraid to say what they want...don't let that be you! Keep working at it until your vision for the cover is fulfilled!
🗓 FINALIZE DATES. I do this with everything from publication date, to ARC dates, giveaways, announcements, etc. Once I have the out date locked in, I start sharing on social media, in my newsletter, etc! 📚 PROOF COPY. Whether you're using IngramSpark, KDP or some other printer, you want to upload files to grab a proof copy ahead of time! This allows you yo check that all formatting is right, the cover prints properly, etc.! 🥳 GET HYPED! While waiting for a proof copy, I use this time to get people excited! I'll open preorders, do a cover reveal, give some insight into the book through Q&As, things like that. This is the really fun part of the process!
👁 PROOF REVIEW. This is my last step with the physical book! I read it cover to cover, make adjustments as needed, catch as many last ni items issues as possible. Usually I take a good couple weeks, reading 1-3 chapters a day, to be as thorough as possible! (You may also hire a proofreader, but I genrally do this step myself to save costs and also to ensure I get eyes on every page of the printed version!)
📖 ARCs. This is another really fun step! At this point you send out Advance Reader Copies to people who are hyped for your book, and they in turn agree to leave an early review on platforms such as Goodreads, Instagram, their blogs, etc. ARCS are another way to help draw in more readers, but be aware that usually not every ARC reader who signs up will actually review. It's just the way things go! So if you want, say, ten reviews, make sure you give out twice that many ARCS!
📖 FINAL FILES. This step may seem like a no brainer, but heck if it hasn't caused me a lot of anxiety 😂 I always worry I haven't uploaded the final-final, proofread file! So you want to make sure you get these in as early as possible so preorders aren't delayed (a mistake I made with THE CHAOS CIRCUS was uploading the WRONG FILE. I had to edit and update it ON RELEASE DAY. major bummer!).
🎉 CELEBRATE! Sadly, this is the step I struggle with the most! I made a huge deal out of THE CHAOS CIRCUS'S release, and for DARKWIND I went to Disney, but after the chaos of 2020 and the distraction of motherhood I've begun to treat subsequent releases a bit passively. I'm trying to recapture the gumption to celebrate the release of EVERY book...and I encourage you to do the same!
And that’s the story of how I self-publish! How do your methods relate/differ? Did I miss a step you think I should tackle? Let me know in the comments!