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Last updated on Feb 07, 2023

How to Self-Publish a Book in 2023: A Guide for Savvy Authors

Are you looking to self-publish and join the thousands of authors every year who enjoy complete creative control and a greater portion of royalties? If so, we're here to show you how to do just that while giving yourself the best shot at achieving your goals. We’ll touch on all the essential parts of the process while also providing you with the resources to learn more.

How to self-publish a book in 7 steps:

1. Write a book people want to read 

how to self-publish a book | write a book

Whether you're publishing a book with a traditional press or as an indie author, your success hinges on whether readers will love your book enough to recommend it to others.

While there's no surefire method for writing beloved bestsellers, certain approaches can help you purposefully and intentionally write a book that can succeed in the market.

Planning for success

While we’re trying to go through the whole self-publishing process, there simply isn’t enough space to give much practical advice on specific aspects of writing right here. So instead, we’re listing some of the resources on our blog that can help you in just about any writing predicament ahead.





Reedsy’s Character Profile Template

A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.

Getting over the finishing line

Enough with the skill-building — let’s talk practical, sitting-yourself-down-to-actually-write stuff. That’s where building a habit of writing comes in. Luckily, we’ve got some handy resources to help you out.


Tell us about your book, and we'll give you a writing playlist

It'll only take a minute!

2. Edit with feedback from beta readers and editors

Editing is a pretty broad term. It can range from an author’s rewrites of their first draft to the final proofread before the book launch. This section offers our recommended approach to editing your book for self publishing.

Self-edit as much as you can

An editor’s time is money: your money. Before you hand your work off to a professional, make sure you do everything you can for it — or you’ll end up wasting money paying an editor to clean up basic mistakes.


Get our Book Editing Checklist

Resolve every error, from plot holes to misplaced punctuation.

For novelists, that means working through a few drafts to iron out the story and characters; for non-fiction, it means sharing the manuscript with a focus group and re-writing it based on feedback. 

Here are a few resources to help you revise and self-edit your manuscript:

Let a professional help you over the finishing line

how to self-publish a book | Edit the manuscriptOnce you’ve taken your manuscript as far as you can by yourself, it’s time to bring in some experts. These days, finding your ideal editor is more straightforward than ever. On the Reedsy Marketplace, you can search for (and request quotes from) professionals with experience in your genre.


Polish your book with expert help

Sign up to browse 2000+ experienced editors, designers, and marketers.

Before getting too far down the editing rabbit hole, it’s important to understand the different types of editors, and what each of them does.

If you'd like to confirm which type of editing your book needs at its current stage, we recommend taking this quick quiz:


What kind of editing does your book need?

Takes one minute!

Okay, your manuscript has been edited, polished, and proofed. Now it’s time to make sure your book looks as good as it reads.

Note: You’ll notice we talk about planning how you’ll market your book later on — but the truth is that you should be working on identifying your target audience (and how to reach them) from early on in the process.

3. Hire a book cover designer

how to self publish a book | Design a coverSelf-published authors rely heavily on book covers for sales, whether used in ads or attract readers as a thumbnail on retailers like the Kindle store. But don’t forget about interior design: how words and images are formatted on the page.

Here are a couple of great resources to help you wrap your head around making a beautiful, readable book:


Which writing app is right for you?

Find out here! Takes 30 seconds

Once you’ve completed designing and formatting, you will have everything you need to start selling your book. That takes us to our next stage.

4. Format the manuscript for ebook or print

In days past, self-publishing a book involved getting a print run and paying up-front for thousands of copies. You pretty much always ended up with copies that you couldn't sell. Thankfully, modern publishing has provided simple solutions to this problem.

how to self publish a book | print companiesWith POD (print on demand), authors can upload their book files to a printing service. This service churns out individual paperback or hardcover copies as, and when, they are purchased, either by customers or brick 'n mortar stores. The cost per unit is higher than with printing methods of traditional publishers, but the lack of risk still makes this the preferred option for self-publishing authors.

The two largest POD services in the world are Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark, which provide comparable products at similar costs. However, it's worth investigating the options to see which one makes more sense for you and your book. 


Book sales on the Kindle store are a self-publishing author’s bread and butter. After all, KDP offers the highest percentage royalty, which greatly appeals to authors hoping to publish profitably. 


how to self publish a book | audiobooksThe audio format has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and self-published authors who have invested in audiobooks have reaped the benefits. Audiobooks are typically released after print or ebooks — it’s pretty unusual for a book to be launched in audiobook format. They make for an excellent way to boost your backlist, especially if you’re now launching a new book.

5. Pick a self-publishing platform

When it comes to deciding where (or through which company) you’ll sell your book, the simplest and most popular option for self-publishing authors is Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, which lets you upload your book and list it for free. Readers can then buy the ebook or have a print version created for them at the click of a mouse. There is no need to understand how the sausage is made: Amazon has simplified the process.

Mastering Amazon’s KDP

Anybody can get their book onto the Amazon online bookstore (and therefore the ubiquitous Amazon Kindle) for free. Yet few people know how to do it properly.

For instance, when uploading your title, there are certain things you can do to increase visibility with your readers. Then there's the matter of getting the people who find your book to buy it. To succeed here, you need to turn yourself into a bit of an Amazon expert. Fortunately, we have everything you need to do so!

PRO TIP: Want to know if Amazon exclusivity is right for you and your self-published book? Take our 1-minute quiz below to find out.

Wondering whether you should give all your ebook distribution rights to Amazon?

Answer these 5 questions to find out!

Other self-publishing companies

If Amazon isn’t suitable for you, there’s a world of self-publishing beyond it, whether they help distribute ebooks or sell paperbacks to readers. These include retailers Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play, or aggregators like Draft2Digital

Head to our post on ebook distribution to compare all your options when sending your book to online retailers.

6. Self-publish the book!

how to self publish a book | marketing your bookApart from writing a great book, the steps above can be realized through an afternoon of research and planning. But when it comes to marketing in self-publishing, things get a little more involved.

The good news is that there are tried-and-tested methods for promoting your title, including automated mailing lists, price promotions, and online advertising. Here are some articles on marketing and ads for self-published authors.


How to Build Your Author Mailing List

Learn how to connect with your audience and sell more books with email.

Launch your book

A lot hinges on a book’s first few weeks on the market. To give yourself the best chance at thriving on Amazon and other platforms, your title must accumulate a healthy dose of book sales and reviews soon after its release. With that in mind, a lot of work needs to go into preparing your book launch. Here’s what you need to learn:

So far, we’ve covered writing your book, editing and designing it, planning your launch, and growing your marketing efforts. You now have enough knowledge to actually go and self publish your book. 


How to Self-Publish a Book

Learn to set yourself up for success as an indie author.

7. Keep marketing your work after publication

Now you’ve got the finished product and all the necessary hype from reviewers, you’ve mustered all your courage and pulled the trigger: congratulations, you’ve published your book

Now that your book is out in the world, finding its devoted readers, what’s next for you? Here are just a few resources to help you keep your momentum as an author:

You’ve reached the end of the publishing process — now begins longer-term marketing. As any author would tell you, a book is something you never stop promoting. It’ll sit nicely in your bio on social media or in print and continue to be discovered by a stream of future readers.

The journey to publishing a book can be treacherous. However, preparing yourself adequately and surrounding yourself with the right people can also be one of the most satisfying experiences. 

In the next part of this guide, we'll show you self-publishing's benefits (and potential drawbacks). So be sure to read on!

12 responses

Lady Tam Li Hua says:

15/05/2018 – 20:34

I've spent the past few hours being inspired...but not by the words written here. I saw the cute typewriter graphic in the banner, and just HAD to try and make my own! lol (I fully intend to read the article, though.) Great banner design deserves a shout-out too! :D

Douglas says:

16/05/2018 – 08:19

I've written and self-published three novels, but I'm hopeless at marketing. I want to find someone who can take on all the PR, ad-placing etc. etc. for half the royalties, leaving me free to write my fourth novel.Can Reedsy help?

↪️ Douglas replied:

17/05/2018 – 05:42

Hi Jerome. I don't even have a website! But here is the link to my latest book:-

↪️ Reedsy replied:

18/05/2018 – 09:53

Hi Douglas! Sorry we didn't reply earlier. I'm glad to see you've chosen to self-publish your thrillers. Checking through the synopses, they do look like a gripping read! I would say that on the marketing side, you may wish to prioritise the following: - Your cover designs. Seeing as your books are a part of a series, the covers should reflect that and have some kind of 'branding' that unites them. Also, they could do with communicating the genre a little better: currently, a few of them look like supernatural fantasies rather than political thrillers. I've written a post on this which might help ( - Your blurb on Amazon is good, but it could work a little better with a nice hook up top. I have another post on this which might help: In short, these are the things you need to address before you put any more time and effort into ads and PR. You can spend money sending people to your Amazon page, but if the cover and synopsis aren't firing on all cylinders, then people won't take the next step and buy it. If you're looking for more help on Marketing, you can ask to join "The Street Team" a community of authors who are interested in book marketing ( — you'll be able to get some great advice from your peers there. Hope that helps! – Martin from Reedsy

Laurence McKinney says:

19/05/2018 – 12:52

Hi, Reedsy has helped this "with assistance" a couple of times but I'm really stuck - the first version of a classic mind-science book I wrote called Neurotheology left me with magnificent reviews (on the book's site) - the update is 90% identical but with science updates, new title, and it's ready, book, editing, copy edited, designed, formatted, cover done, and a quickly assembled but good website with a killer URL ( - but I'm told the moment it's on Amazon or anywhere else it's Published and once that happens nobody will review it - but without any way for readers to obtain it - how to find reviewers? Newspaper, magazine, even interviews (I'm good) - but if it's not available - nobody can get it and I can't mass mail Publishers Marketplace lists. I'll be looking for further marketing as well - but I can't hold back the release forever. I know the market (boomers & VR/science) older or 18-35 - but where to start? Laurence

↪️ Reedsy replied:

21/05/2018 – 07:20

Hi Laurence, Glad you've been getting a lot out of the advice on the blog. I'm having trouble grasping how best to tackle your question — could you drop us an email on and let us know what your current publishing arrangement is: are you under a book deal with a publisher still? Do you wish to self-publish a new edition? Are you in charge of marketing the book. Thanks! -- Martin

Laurence McKinney says:

20/05/2018 – 19:24

Hi, Reedsy has been helpful (I'm the "uses assists" sort). My 1994 classic "Neurotheology" provided superb reviews (on the site) for an update with a new title although the content is nearly identical, Walkmans swapped out for smart phones TED references, etc. It's done but I'm told I can't release a book until I get reviews - because I can't get reviews once it's released, sort of chicken/egg? What sort of legit consultant lines up reviewers? It's a winner, but I'm stalled with plenty of product, even a beta book site, the basics and a killer URL, "" (getting that for $13.95 was a miracle) but there's something better than mass-mailing a Publishers Marketplace list.. Markets? 18-35 and over 50 - boomers, virtual reality, mind science. Needs? Creating a social media presence: site/Facebook,/Twitter/ YouTube. At the moment ... most important - reviewers. I need an assist here.

Lisa Reyes says:

02/10/2018 – 14:15

I have an entire series of children's books written in my head. I am determined to bring it all to real life in the coming year. I want to copyright the series title so that no one can use it in the future. Is copyright the way to go? Are there other protections? TIA

↪️ Reedsy replied:

02/10/2018 – 16:30

Thanks for your question! Unfortunately there is no way to protect a series title through copyright — even after you've published the book. Copyright doesn't apply to titles, or sentences, it only applies to full works. More about this here: What you could register for is a trademark. However your trademark registration will only make sense and be valid if you have already established an existing brand around the series title. Overall, I think that at this stage copyright/trademark protection should be at the lowest in your priority list :) Write the series, publish it, market it. And then, if it sells well, consider protecting the *full* series title through a trademark.

Nikki says:

13/06/2019 – 12:05

Thanks so much for the information. While it was a lot, it is very helpful. I plan to save this blog and refer to as I take the plunge into fiction writing.

Martine Madden says:

04/02/2020 – 09:27

Hi. I have one traditionally published book which did well on Amazon with good reviews. If I self publish my next book can I link both books publicity-wise?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

13/02/2020 – 15:23

Yes, you definitely should!

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