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Self-publishing is basically where you publish a book yourself. But is it possible to save some money in the process?
Can you self-publish a book for free? That’s the 64,000 dollar question, right? Firstly, we need to understand what is self-publishing? That means you come up with an idea for the book, you arrange your schedule, you pay for the editing of a book, the proofreading, you sort out your beta readers, you plan all your marketing, you pay for all your marketing.
Ultimately the whole success of the book is down to you.
So, this can be really invigorating and empowering, because you’re responsible for your success.
However, when it goes wrong, you’re also responsible.
You may have heard of Simon McCleave, who is a very good crime writer. He has a series out with DC Ruth Hunter as the main character
Here are his books:
Above is Book 1 in the series.
He’s also a crime writer and an extremely successful self-publisher.
Here is a list of his books:
Click on the picture for this boxset
Specialises in young adult and fantasy.
Here is a list of her books:
Click on book to check it out
These authors are making A LOT of money, and you’re probably wondering, “Can I do that?”
Absolutely, you can create a book!
It’s just whether or not you want to put in the time, the effort, or the money.
You’ve come here because you want to know if you can self-publish a book for free, right?
Well, the answer is yes, you can.
You can design a book cover on Canva. You can use their free program. There is a paid version, but you can certainly use their free version to design your book cover.
You can go online to look for writing prompts. You can go on YouTube to look at how you can structure a book and how to make it the best that it can be.
It is totally possible to teach yourself.
You can edit and proofread your book using software called Grammarly, which we use, which is very good for spotting any mistakes.
For beta readers (these are people that will check your book before it goes live and they critique it from a reader’s point of view) they’re not editors or proofreaders, they’ve got an interest in that genre, so they will check it over for you, but you will have to arrange all of that.
They will give you some pointers as to what they like, what they don’t like, and it’s up to you if you take that on board.
For marketing, you can post the link to your book on social media and you can acquire an email list, and sending an email is free of course.
All in all, you can self-publish a book for free.
If you want to write a book just for yourself, then, no problem if you want to do it for free or as cheaply as possible.
What I would say is if you’re looking to make money from it, and most people do, there is a lot of competition, especially if you’re going to put your book up on Amazon.
There are millions of other books, and no matter which genre you’re going to publish in, you will be in competition.
Put yourself in the position from a reader’s point of view. Why should someone pick your book and not somebody else’s?
On Amazon, you’re going to be a complete unknown in the beginning. So why should someone pick your book out of 100,000 if they haven’t even heard of you?
They are more likely to go with what and who they know.
Your book’s cover and title are vital.
Hopefully, it will be easier to remember that if you are going to invest time and money, these are what will get eyeballs onto your book.
Let’s start with the cover…
We personally, pay other people to do our covers.
If we’re doing a fiction book, we would use Stuart Bache
Take a closer look at them: Click HERE
For editing and proofreading, we use Gary at BubbleCow, because he’s amazing at what he does. He’s read our series, so he knows what he’s doing and what we are trying to achieve.
Beta readers are still for free. Obviously, they get a free book in exchange for their time.
With marketing, we use Facebook and Amazon ads. So even though we’re paying out money, we actually make more money back.
I would say invest in is your front cover and your editing, because this will show up in reviews.
If there are a lot of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, your reviews will be poor (1 star) and you will lose sales.
You would have done it all for nothing.
If you asked me what would I save up for, I would say definitely an editor and a book cover designer.
Sometimes designers can cost very little, for instance on Fiverr, you can get a book cover designed for £3.86 ($5)
I started out using 99 Designs. You essentially audition graphic designers and you only pay when you’re happy.
It all depends on your budget as to what cover you can afford.
So, in conclusion, can you self-publish a book for free?
You can do the whole lot for free, but it’s just a question of how successful you want to be.
Now, Simon McCleave, Mark Dawson, Amanda Hocking definitely invest, I know for a fact, in their business and they make a huge return because at each step they’ve made sure that their books are as best as they can be.
Contact us if you have any questions about self-publishing.
Vicky of Hackney and Jones
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- From Idea to Epic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Fantasy Fiction