How Not to Publish a Novel Yourself


(The Lustre is set to release Thursday!!! Please get back to me by Wednesday, you last-minute-ers, if you want to get in on the Launch Party action!)

I can’t say that I know exactly how TO publish a novel but I definitely know some things you shouldn’t do:

  1. Don’t write your novel/short story/poetry collection, edit it, release it and THEN publicize (blogging, online communities, networking). Do publicize as soon as you decide you are going to finish it and publish. If you are psychic or have been given a peek into the future and find you might want to publish someday, start promoting right away. Even if you are planning on going the “traditional publishing route”, you should publicize. You will have to do it anyway.
  2. Don’t write one book and expect it to take off on its own and make you rich within months. That would be a Holy Miracle. Do expect to make chump change for quite a while unless you know more than me. Legend has it that authors used to make it big by self-publishing back in “the day” before everyone realized how easy it was. It isn’t that way now. Sorry.
  3. Don’t expect that you are professional enough to produce quality work as an editor for your own work unless you are an editor, and even then, don’t. Also, don’t expect your Uncle Joe is either unless he is certified or has worked in that capacity for years. Do have lots of people read your book to make sure other people understand what you are saying. Do hire/employ a professional editor if you want a quality work.
  4. Don’t try to follow every bit of marketing advice you see online. It won’t all work for you and it isn’t all right for what you are promoting. Do follow the advice that works for you and focus on that so that you have time to write.
  5. Don’t try to avoid other authors and push them aside thinking they are your competition. Other writers are your biggest audience and resource. Do treat them as you would like to be treated.
  6. Don’t think that self-publishing will be the easier route. It is just a different kind of work. Do expect to learn a lot and do a ton of work.
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Categories: Self-Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “How Not to Publish a Novel Yourself

  1. springfieldfem

    I am working on my first novel. This is great advice! Thanks for writing this.

    • Yes! Start anything you can now and build up your “platform”. Watch for my Virtual Book Release on Thursday and see if you like it. I’ll post afterward on how it worked or didn’t work.

      • springfieldfem

        Oooh! I am looking forward to it. Thanks!

  2. I very much wish I’d read this, oh, 18-20 months ago! I also learned these lessons first hand, although not in any articulable way. :p

  3. Great advice, Kate! :-)

    • Thanks! Coulda Woulda Shoulda….

      • My next book is coming out in May, and I plan to pay for some marketing. I do know of some affordable services. One of the publishers that I work for often works with Sizzling PR– http://www.sizzlingpr.com … I will be going through them. And also, I have a few others lined up. I’ll let you know which ones work best, when I get there. :-)

      • If I could hire someone to help, I would. Either you do the work yourself or pay to have someone else do it.

  4. Reblogged this on Rosa Sophia and commented:
    My fellow author, Kate Policani, had some great advice to share. Read on!

  5. Those are some pretty handy “rules” for lack of a better word and I will definitely keep them handy and TRY to abide by them as much as I can. Did you create them yourself?

  6. Haha…I’ve made all of those mistakes. People get into this business expecting it to be instant money (myself included) and it isn’t. In some ways it is more work than a day job – you own your own business and you have to produce your own product. Sure, there are people to help but ultimately it comes down to the writer themselves to make everything work.

    It’s a jarring realization, to say the least :P

  7. great advice!

  8. Great advice Kate! You said it right. Self-publishing isn’t all the glamour it’s cracked up to be. It’s a ton of work! But loads of fun too. Best of luck with your launch Thursday!

    And, ok, I’ll put in a plug: I’m writing now for my second eBook of short, short stories, scheduled for May (or sometime – that’s also the beauty of self-pub – you get to set deadlines, but change them if you need to! :) )

  9. Pingback: The Virtual Launch Party Analysis « Kate Policani

  10. I been meaning to reply to this. I love this post for it is dead on right!

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