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My Self-Publishing Game Plan

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Self-publishing is way harder than I thought it would be.

I've done a lot of research over the past while on how best to go about it. And let me just say that there is no hard-and-fast route to self-publishing. Despite that, I feel like I've learned some good tips that have helped me go about this process in the simplest way possible.

Spend As Little Money as Possible

I hate spending money. I just do. Especially when I don't know if I'll get anything out of it. When it comes to self-publishing, I wanted to do it mostly to share my story...and a little bit to make some money.

However, there are a few things I've been advised to spend money on. They are as follows:

  1. A cover

  2. An editor

Covers are way more money than I thought they'd be. I'm going through miblart for this book, and if all goes well, I'll probably stick with them. That's gonna set me back $200 at least. More if I want a hardcover design and a bookwrap for the hardcover.

An editor can range from next to nothing to $300+.

I would get an editor. I am full of good intentions. Yet...I have an eagle-eyed beta reader right now who's coming in mad clutch. This time, I'm skipping an editor just because I'm super poor. If I had extra money, I'd get an editor for sure. You always miss things. But I've learned how to edit myself over time (I've been writing for a while), and I think that will serve me. In future editions of this book and for the others, I very much want an editor. This time, I couldn't swing it. Don't hate me. I honestly don't know how that's gonna work out—I'll keep you posted.

Social Media

Social media is the bane of my existence. First of all, I hate attention. Second of all, I have next to no technological ability. It wasn't always this way, but it is now.

Therefore, I have decided to stick with Pinterest.

I know what you're thinking. "Are you 85?" Well, how do you know I'm not (I'm not, but I wish I was)? Pinterest is just such a comfy platform for me. The community is healthy (for the most part), I know how to use the interface, and there's such pretty, aesthetic pictures I can use for my aesthetic boards and quotes.

Pinterest is the love of my life, and I will stand by her. When I decide to branch out, I'll probably go for Instagram or twitter (eugh, please no). I don't love twitter but other book people seem to. It might be a forced conversion for me.

Until then, Pinterest it is (follow me).

ARC Readers

Oh my goodness. This one stresses me out. I'll try not to let that show.

ARC readers, dare I say, are essential. That's where your reviews come from before you release your book. Don't ask me if I have any ARC readers yet because the answer is no. HOWEVER, you can be one if you want.

Check out my series here.

Sign up to be an ARC reader here.

Having reviews already posted for your books the second they're published makes a huge difference. I'm not gonna come on here and pretend I've seen this first hand, because I haven't. I haven't published a book yet. But I've done a lot of research, as I said.

Basically, ARC readers are team members who agree to leave a review of your book in advance in exchange for a free copy of the book. I currently am in desperate need of some ARC team members for book 1 of my series. I'm planning to send out free copies on October 1 2023, with my release date set for November 1 2023.

So, y'know...sign up. You'll get a free copy of my book and you'll get to read it before the rest of the world in exchange for a 5 star—I mean, an honest—review.

The Platforms I'm Publishing On

So, originally I was planning on just doing Amazon KDP for self-publishing. But I've been looking around a bit and I've come to some new conclusions.

Here are my dilemmas with just doing KDP:

  1. You can't do print preorders

  2. Hardbacks are new and kind of ugly

Here is my solution:

  1. Doing my print preorders on Barnes & Noble Press

  2. Doing my eBook preorders on KDP

  3. Doing print orders on both KDP and B&N Press after release day

Now, originally I was going to go through IngramSpark for my print preorders and hardcovers. I have since changed my mind. Let me explain.

So, basically IngramSpark does this crazy thing where you have to pay upload your manuscript. Then, there's an additional fee on top of that every time you wanna go in and make changes. I don't know about you, but I make a lot of changes.

Like, a lot.

Every time I upload a document to KDP or some other platform, I'm in there at least 20 times to fix stuff. If I have to pay another $25 (which is what it costs at the time I'm writing this) every time I need to go in and fix an error, I'm done. I'm broke.

No thank you. So, I don't know, maybe I'm just too poor for IngramSpark right now. But I'll probably always be too poor for IngramSpark.

Luckily, I found a different platform that's strikingly similar.

Everyone, meet Barnes & Noble Press.

It's almost exactly the same as IngramSpark, but free. So, I will be using it. Also like IngramSpark, B&N Press connects authors to multiple vendors—bookstores, libraries, etc. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to go through IngramSpark, so I'm relieved to hear that B&N Press does the same thing.

I've heard about Barnes and Noble Press being frustrating to use. So far, I haven't noticed anything. That might change. If it does, I'll let you know. One thing I have noticed is that printing costs are higher with B&N Press than with KDP, therefore I have to raise the cost of books to make any royalty. That kinda sucks, and I wish my books could cost the same amount across all platforms, but alas. I'll see if the print quality ends up being better, 'cause that's the only reason I can think of for the cost to go up. We'll see.

Additional platforms that intrigue me (for eBooks):

  1. Google play

  2. Apple books

  3. Kobo

I think I'll go through Draft2Digital to publish on these platforms, since Draft2Digital acts as an aggregator, like IngramSpark and B&N Press, but for eBooks only. It is also free.

So, in summary, here's my plan:

  1. I'll do my preorders for print books on Barnes & Noble Press.

  2. I'll do my preorders for eBooks on KDP.

  3. On release day, print books will be available both on Barnes & Noble Press and on KDP.

  4. Additionally, eBooks will be available through Draft2Digital.

My Timeline for Publishing This Series

I'm going to try to publish a book every six months, but that might be pushing it. The only release day I have set in stone is for book 1, which is set to release on November 1, 2023 (pre-order available May 1). This leaves me lots of time to cross my t's and dot my i's, and gather ARC readers.

We'll see how this goes.

- A. H. A.

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