Note about this post: I’ve been asked a few times about what resources I’ve used for self-publishing. Most of the things I’ve done are because my brain thought it was a good idea. However, some of the things I’ve done are because I’ve talked to other authors and worked through questions/problems.

This series of posts would basically be a brain dump of what I’ve learned and/or what I’ve decided to do and why.

Post 1: The Basics

How to be a self published author:

1) Be a control freak: First of all, you should know that self-publishing is not for everyone. You have to be a control freak. So make sure you check the “control freak” box before you venture forth.

2) Publish books… so, somewhat self explanatory

3) Build a brand… so, not at all self explanatory

4) Market your books and your brand… 🙂

The way I see it, you have to do only three things: publish books, build a brand, market the brand. Simple, right?


But, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, let me break these things down for you.

#1 Publish Books and everything involved with writing a book

  • Love writing
  • Write the book
  • Love your book
  • Have beta readers read the book
  • Make changes to the book to make it better
  • Send the book to an editor
  • Edit the book to make it better
  • Send the book to a copy/proof reader
  • Edit the book again to make it better
  • Finalize the content
  • Get a cover and make sure it is in line with your author brand and style guide (see below, Build a Brand)
  • Get an ISBN (one for print, one for eBook)
  • Format the book for all various retailers
  • Upload the book to all various retailers
  • Hit publish (everywhere)
  • Thank your readers often. Listen to your readers. Be generous with your readers.
  • … congratulations. You’ve published a book. Yay! Now go read a book on how to be a better writer.

#2 Build a Brand and everything (that I can think of) involved with building a brand

  • Define your genre and stick to it. If you want to switch genres, build a new brand. Don’t confuse people by being more than one thing.
  • Define how you want to be perceived by readers, authors, etc. Define how you want your brand to be perceived by readers, authors, etc. You and your brand (and your books) should fit together.
  • Be unique. Be something new. Be something interesting. Be yourself. Be genuine. Like yourself. People know when you’re a bullshitter. They can smell it. It stinks.
  • Create a style guide for your brand (colors, fonts, types of images, etc.) Make sure it’s focused, make sure it’s consistent, make sure it looks good.


  • Make sure all your covers adhere to your style guide and that they look like they all belong to the same author/brand (font, colors, types of images used makes a difference)
  • Decide how much your books/brand are worth. You teach people how to treat you. If you think your books are worth $3, price them at $3. If you think they’re worth $.99 then price them at $.99. If you think they’re worth $10, then yada yada yada. Price your books CORRECTLY. Don’t price a $10 book at $.99 (unless it’s on sale for a short time). You are not being generous to your readers by charging less for your books. You are teaching them to be angry/not trust you when you charge the appropriate amount.
  • Only recommend authors whose books you’ve read and loved.
  • Thank your readers often. Listen to your readers. Be generous with your readers.

#3 Market your books and your brand and everything I can think of related to marketing

  • Sign up for social media (all social media, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterist, Spotify, etc.) and use social media responsibly/correctly… !!!!!!
  • Create monthly newsletters with Mailchimp, make them awesome so people want to read them.
  • Create general graphics for your social media (Banners, avatars, graphics to share, teasers).
    MAKE SURE YOU apply the brand style guide to all your graphics. Be consistent so that you are recognizable in the crowd and consistent.
  • Create a marketing calendar for the entire year (when you will be releasing books)
  • Make a list of all marketing sites related to your book/brand (paid advertisements, non-paid advertisements, social media)
  • Plan out a book release marketing schedule for every release (paid, unpaid, social media, newsletters)
  • Plan out a schedule for non-release months (paid, unpaid, social media, newsletters)
  • Create relationships with bloggers… REAL RELATIONSHIPS! and reviewers. At first you’ll need to ask them to read your book. Then, if you write good books, they’ll ask you if they can read your books. Create an “Always Advance Read Copy” list of bloggers who typically love what you write. If they don’t love 1 of your books, keep them on the list. It’s okay. Not everyone will always love everything you write. Thank bloggers. Do it.
  • Make sure your social media, pages, blog, and info are updated monthly (links, bio, book lists, etc.)
  • Go to author signings and sign books. Be nice to people at the signings. Be respectful. Say thank you.
  • Design and make swag/products relating to your books (because if you have readers, chances are they’re going to want stuff relating to your books… because they love your books). This is a way to give back to readers, NOT A WAY TO MAKE MONEY. You make money from your books, not from swag/products. Don’t be that guy….
  • Build an author store and sell your stuff


  • Interact with people you like because you like them, not because you want something from them
  • Give back to the world of self publishing, be a resource for others, be
    supportive, be happy for the successes of others, build people up with
    no exceptions of reciprocation. Be respectful, assume the best of
    others. (i.e. be nice).
  • Thank your readers often. Listen to your readers. Be generous with your readers.

So, there you go. That’s it.

If people find this helpful, I can dig deeper into each of these topics and provide some tips…

<3 Penny