Publishing Online

Indie Authors: How to Self-publish and promote your novel — A primer

First of all, ask yourself will your readers prefer print, or digital? If you are not sure who your audience is, or would like to be (think age group and demographics where applicable) then by all means, test the waters, and go digital first.

Think through a marketing plan and what social sites to target and how. Remember to tie-in all your social accounts to one another with your Author website, and try use the same name throughout for cohesive branding.

• Create a Facebook Page for your novel.

• Create an exclusive Twitter account (or use your own personal account.)

• Think about a promo video [YouTube/Vimeo].

• Create a gmail account to handle contact traffic.

• Think of using Instagram to share images and covers.

Online e-publishing retailers include:

Amazon KDP: for ebook distribution to Amazon (no upfront cost)

Draft2Digital: for ebook distribution to everyone else (no upfront cost)

CreateSpace: for print distribution via Amazon (no upfront cost)

IngramSpark: for ebook and print distribution to non-Amazon outlets ($25 $49)

Lulu: for print and ebook creation & distribution (no upfront cost)

Smashwords: for ebook distribution to everyone (no upfront cost)

Most of these companies require that you do the manual labour beforehand; you must ensure that your files are properly edited, set and ready for uploading.

Other full-service providers, some require fees upfront, include:



Most, if not all these companies, offer automated tools to conveniently convert, upload, list and distribute your work. With most, if not all, you can upload new versions at any time, change a cover and or the price, and sell through multiple services at the same time.

Be aware that if you do not pay an upfront fee, expect to pay a percentage based upon sales.

Getting that all import review:

For self-published works there are only a handful of places online to have your work professionally reviewed, Kirkus Indie (costs around $400-500) and BookLife previously PW Select, also offers a range of services. Then, of course, there is the indie review websites who are willing to do a review in exchange for a print or ebook copy.


Utilizing social media is one way, as is regular blog posts, giveaways and contests. Another is paying a PR company to get your book listed.

While PR companies cannot guarantee readers or sales, they are another way to draw attention to your up-coming or newly released book. Research how good any PR firm is before parting with any money. Try and find out what their track record is, and if that’s a state secret, maybe they’re not for you.

All-in-all, whatever approach you take, digital, print, or both, make sure you novel has been honed to perfection before releasing it into the wild. Remember, good or bad, word of mouth can spread across social media like a virus. Make sure yours is good!