Indie Publishing 101: How to Become a Self-Published Author

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Independent (or indie) publishing is the process through which an author publishes a book without resorting to the services of a big-name traditional publisher. While “indie” can mean going through a small press, it has recently become synonymous with self-publishing. 

In this scenario, an author works largely on their own, finding editing and formatting services and marketing their book by themselves. Though the process entails more work for writers, there are generally good reasons why they would choose to pursue the self-publishing path. 

Due to their early online history, self-published books have a reputation for being of lower quality. While fading, there is still a stigma associated with the term “self-published,” so many authors prefer “indie.” Still, the landscape seems to be changing, especially with the rise of legitimate websites that offer self-publishing services. 

In many ways, the ascent of self-publishing has made the publishing industry more inclusive, and there are more ways than ever for authors to bring their work to the reading public.

Indeed, indie publishing is a great alternative for those who want to avoid the hassle of finding a publisher. Also, by going the indie publishing route, authors generally have more control over the finished product

Still, self-publishing is not easy. To make sure you are as successful as possible in your self-publishing endeavor, you will want to know the ins and outs of the entire process, from beginning to end.

How to become an indie author

If indie publishing sounds like the right fit for you, we’ve got steps outlined below to guide you through the process. We also have lots of additional help for self-published authors

Before diving in, however, ask yourself a few questions. Why are you interested in self-publishing? What are your goals? Do you simply want to get a story out into the world, regardless of the cost of producing a book? Do you aim to make enough money to break even, or do you seek to make a living as a self-published author? Answering these questions will help steer you through the next steps.

Keep in mind that most self-published authors will not find quick success. It may take a long time for you to turn a reasonable profit. Truly, you will need to put in a lot of work to make sure your book is properly edited, formatted, and marketed. Still, if you are undaunted by all of this, read on!

1. Make a business plan

Once you’ve identified your goals (especially your financial goals), you can create a viable business plan. This means knowing your audience, what book format(s) you deem best (print, e-book, and/or audio), how you will distribute your book, how much income you’ll need, and what your timeline is. These questions will help you develop the best strategy to get your book into readers’ hands.

2. Decide what services you’ll need

As an indie author, you will be doing a lot yourself. However, there are some parts of the publishing process where you’ll need help, either from friends or professionals, especially if you want to prove the detractors of self-published books wrong.

Friends and family may be able to lend a hand. For example, if you know someone who has a large social media following or can create a website, you may have a leg up on the competition. Nevertheless, there are areas where a professional is worth the investment. Readers are fine with some DIY, but if your book has grammar and spelling mistakes or poor readability due to shoddy formatting, they will turn away. Editing, typesetting, and e-book formatting are big areas where hiring someone is a wise choice.

3. Develop a marketing strategy

After you wrap up the hard work of creating your book, there is one last (big) thing to do: get people to buy it!

Many indie authors take on the task of promoting their books although professional marketing services are available for self-published authors. If you decide to market your book yourself, you’ll need an author website, an Amazon author page, and a Goodreads author account, as well as a solid social media presence. A well-designed book cover can be a great marketing tool on Instagram and Twitter. A strong marketing strategy will help you pin down the best way to reach the right audience for your book.


Being an indie author can be daunting, but there is help out there! Don’t hesitate to seek professional help to create and market your book.

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