THE PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL
There are essentially THREE main aspects to self-publishing:
1. Writing: producing the text
2. Publishing: producing the finished product
Some things to think about:
3. Marketing: selling the finished product
This is the single most important aspect of self-publishing (aside from having a good product). If your goal is to make money (it’s not everyone’s), getting discovered is crucial. Ideally, marketing needs to begin as the novel is being written and continue throughout the entire process, the biggest push being made once the novel is published and afterwards.
Main online marketing platforms:
Here’s a list of useful resources about all aspects of self-publishing. It’s important to do as much research as possible. All the books listed are available from Amazon.co.uk both as paperbacks and ebooks.
You might find it worthwhile to join the Alliance of Independent Publishers (ALLi). Once you’re a member, you get access to various member forums, the most useful of which is on Facebook.
On publishing in general (with chapters on self-publishing):
Publishing for Success: A Practical Guide by Anne Tannahill (published by NIPR, The National Collection of Northern Ireland Publications, 2014). A new updated edition of this booklet, first published in 2008, is available in paperback format from the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, and as a free PDF download from the NIPR site here.
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham (Bloomsbury, 2010).
Self-publishing books and blogs:
Alison Baverstock, The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-Publishing (Foreword by Mark Coker; 2011).
David Gaughran, Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should (Kindle; 2011).
In Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog, Catherine, Caffeinated, she shares her experiences as a self-published author. Her own book on the subject, Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing (3rd edition, 2014) is packed with useful information and is a must-read, especially if you plan to publish through Kindle, Smashwords and CreateSpace.
Book marketing for self-publishers:
David Gaughran, Let’s Get Visible: How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books (2013).
Joanna Penn, How to Market a Book (2013).
Here is a small selection of companies that offer assisted publishing services:
Lightning Source: http://www1.lightningsource.com/
Silverwood Books: http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/
There are many others, but research these very carefully to find the one that suits you. ALLi have produced their own guide: Choosing a Self-Publishing Service. See also the Writer Beware website (link below).
If you want to take a more independent route, picking and choosing services for each aspect of the process, here are some of the main ones (but do research your own):
Last, but not least…
Without intending to make you completely paranoid, here are the main sites that alert writers and self-publishers to scams, schemes and pitfalls:
Writer Beware: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/
Vanity Publishing: Advice and Warnings: http://www.vanitypublishing.info/
Preditors & Editors: Warnings: http://pred-ed.com/pubwarn.htm
ALLi also actively campaigns to make full service companies accountable for their sales pitches and charges, and alerts its members to the various schemes and scams going around.