How to Self-Publish

Hi there!

My name is Mecca-Amirah Jackson and I am a self-published author. I chose to self-publish because I wanted to push myself as a writer and get my work out into the world. I started in 2017 and after three years, I have self-published: Inflorescence, Night-Bloomer, Daydreamer, Weightless, and am currently finishing another project. All are avalible on Amazon!

I am also certified in Social Media & Marketing and am currently pursuing my MBA with a Concentration in Digital Marketing.

I am always getting asked questions about self-publishing so I have decided to create a place where I can help those who are also interested. I remember there was a time where I too did not even where to start and now, I am working on my fifth self-published book.

Whether this is something you want to pursue professionally or even for fun–hopefully this helps!

Step 1: Brainstorming

Even before we get to publishing, you need the idea/the inspiration:

What do you like to write about?

Do you keep a diary/journal? Or even use the Notes app on the iPhone?

And it is important to ask yourself these questions:

Who am I writing for? Who is my audience?

What is my purpose for self-publishing?

Who is my target audience?

Before any project, I like to sit down and really plan what I want my project to be and even look like. I am all about visualizing and the better I can outline what I want, the easier it will be to get the results.

Step 2: Get to Writing!

Now that you know what you want to write–let the creative juices flow and put it onto paper. Or maybe you started something years ago and are considering picking it up again with fresh eyes. There is never a wrong time to start/begin a project.

If you are having trouble starting or having writer’s block–I always recommend to writers:

Writing/poetry prompts help when I’m stuck. As a perfectionist, I have a tendency to overthink so sometimes I need to just write something not related to my project.

Exercise of any form. I consider myself a gymrat but it does not have to be as serious as that. Going for a walk, a hike, yoga, anything that involves moving the body works wonders to fuel your creativity.

Listen to music. I love music and have included it into my writing process. Musicians are artists as well and they might inspire you!

Get Creative. Whenever I feel…stuck or not sure where to begin, I like do other activities to find inspiration. Painting, drawing, cooking, baking, even trying out DIY projects you saw on Pintrest. You are still being creative–just in another way.

Step 3: Where to Publish

Once you understand what type of project you want to create and your target audience, you can decide which self-publishing site works for you!

Here is a list of popular sites:

  • AUTHORHOUSE.
  • KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING.
  • IngramSpark.
  • iUNIVERSE.
  • LULU.
  • SelfPublishing.com.
  • SMASH WORDS.
  • XLIBRIS

I recommend really sifting through the sites–each has their own benefits, payment plans, costs, and overall ease of using. What may work for a writer with a 1,000 page manuscript may not work for a photographer hoping to publish his/her/their photography book.

I have used CreateSpace–which is now Kindle Direct Publishing–for all of my books and I have decided to stick with it because I am so familiar with it. But please–I encourage you to try others!

Step 4: Editing/Structuring

Even if you are the best editor or self-proclaimed grammar-police, it is always beneficial to have a second pair of eyes looking at your writing.

Depending on which site you choose, there might be an option to hire an editor to double-check your work but what I mainly use is www.Fiverr.com

A platform where freelancers can present their work and services–you can hire a freelancer to help with your process. Check it out–there is so many talented people on there!

I have used this service both for editing and designing a book cover. I liked using Fiverr because honestly–it was pretty cheap. There are a lot of editors and you can see which one would better fit your project. Also, you can tell them about your writing style and preferences.

Step 5: Cover Time!

Now that everything is coming into fruition, it is time to create your cover. I have used Fiverr before to create a cover and loved the finished product:

Daydreamer – Mecca-Amirah Jackson

The artists displayed their previous work and I described what I wanted for my cover. It was a painless process and it only took a few days.

But if you need a cheaper option, I recommend www.Canva.com :

The cover I am considering for my next book

Canva is a fun, easy, FREE process that has a lot of options but as I mentioned before, depending on the site you choose, they might have their own service you can choose from.

And once you pick out the cover, to get the full effect, order proofs or the rough drafts of you projects to finish any editing you want done.

I literally have so many copies of my proofs laying around because I’d rather be safe than sorry. Let’s say the colors look great on your computer but you hate how it looks in person!

Step 6: Setup/Pricing

So, depending on which site you pick, there will be different options for set up, markets you can sell to, and prices. I know for Kindle Direct, there are options to send internationally as well through Amazon so I thought that was great to reach more people. It also has a section for uploading your book for Kindle–if you want to take advantage of that service. For pricing, Kindle Direct presented the currency exchange as well.

Step 7: Publishing/Marketing

Que the music! It is time to push that final button! But what now? So each site has their own services or you might want to take matters in your own hand. Social media platforms are always a great start:

Instagram–show off cool pictures of your book cover, quotes, or pages. Here is some examples from my page @amateur__poet:

*Instagram also has Facebook Ads(Promotions)–a painless process where you can promote your work. I usually spend about $30 whenever I use it and I get to pick how many days I want my ad to run and the target audience. *

Other platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pintrest
  • Tumblr
  • Blogs–Wordpress, Wix, Weebly
  • Anywhere you can share your work

If you really want to invest $$ into marketing your project, I recommend using Google Adwords, Hootsuite, or even Fiverr to hires some to do it for you.

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At the end of the day–this is your project and you can decide what you want to do with it. Whether you are doing this to push yourself or you want to be the next J.K Rowling, it is up to you.

If you have any questions–I would love to help. Whether you are not even sure where to start or just have any general commnets, fill the form below and I will try to get back to you ASAP: