7 Inescapable Rules for Newbie Writers when Self-Publishing their First Book

Who can Self-Publish a Book?

There are a million ways to self-publish a fiction or nonfiction piece. Anyone who goes to Amazon KDP can self-publish his or her manuscript in 15 minutes or less. The problem is that self-publishing a book doesn’t mean you’re going to sell a trillion copies, or that you should consider yourself a writer. Furthermore, following these tips or a six-figure author’s guidelines won’t guarantee that you’ll sell a single copy either.

So, should you give up writing? Hell no!   

If writing was easy, we’d be millionaires. Don’t you think?

You can study a little about myself and my writing journey in my other social media channels to understand why I’m venturing to share these rules with you today. Quick disclaimer, I’m not a grammar Nazi nor I’m claiming that I have all the answers to your self-publishing problems. But there’s no harm in sharing my experience. This article will help you avoid some time-and-money-consuming mistakes.

The Basic Rules of Self-Publishing

  1. Avoid (at all costs) publishing your first draft.
  2. Do the marketing, even if it’s guerrilla marketing.
  3. If you don’t know how to do something, don’t do it! Ask for help!
  4. For God sake, read!
  5. Revise, rest, revise again and repeat. Until the book is the best it can be.
  6. Determine the platforms where your book will be sold.
  7. Avoid trending writing!
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

1)      Avoid publishing your first draft.

A first draft is beautiful to us. It comes with a feeling of accomplishment and excitement. But trust me when I say, that’s the beginning of a very long road. I thought the first draft of my first novel “Ella Está Viva” (She’s Alive) was going to be the next Harry Potter series. And of course, it wasn’t. It’s normal to love your work and defend it as if it’s the best thing ever written. You might even feel that’s ready for publishing. And, it isn’t! Why? Because we write for us, not for others. We write about things that move us, that takes us out of our own reality. But that doesn’t mean all readers will feel the same way. The first draft is a diamond in the rough and it must be polished until it shines. Remember that literature, or art in general, is not an exact science. It’s subjective and its opened to interpretation.

2)      Do the marketing, even if it’s guerrilla marketing.

Authors, especially independent ones, must build their platform even before the final draft is published. There’s no way your book is going to come out with your face on every newspaper, social media channels and bookstores. People need to know who you are, and you need to convince them that your book is worth their time and money. I’ll share another post later about basic marketing strategies for independent authors. You must build a platform, even if that means wearing a t-shirt that says: “Buy my book, I’m an indie author!”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

3)      If you don’t know how to do something, don’t do it! Ask for help!

Yes, this one is typical. Doing everything by yourself in this industry is a death wish. God knows I thought it was easy enough to publish a book professionally by doing everything by myself. And it was a big mistake! Even though I am a publicist and now how to promote, design and write to some extent; it wasn’t enough to self-publish a book on my own. I suggest you use Fiverr. It’s a platform filled with talented freelancers who are there to help you. (I’m not sponsored by them, just love the platform.)

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4)      For God sake, read!

If you think you’re going to become a writer without reading. Leave my site! Just kidding, or am I? Nobody, and I really mean nobody, from any profession has ever learned something if not by studying other people’s work. You need to read a lot; especially the genres you are interested in. If you want to get better at your craft, grab a book!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

5)      Revise, rest, revise again and repeat. Until the book is the best it can be.

The book must be revised and self-edited by you at least 10 times before you reach out to beta readers, critique partners, developmental and copy editors, and proofreaders (Yes! All that. In that order!). The revising period should last about a month. The resting period, two or three months before revising again. Take courses, read (I insist), start building your platform, start looking for those freelancers, and start building your marketing plan during that resting period. Don’t procrastinate. (Yeah! That does happen.)                        

6)      Determine the platforms where your book will be sold.

Don’t choose all platforms, just the top performing ones. Study them with extreme detail. Write down what you need to do before publishing. Trim sizes, formats, ISBN, copyrights, book blurb, book cover, etc. I’ll be more specific in another entry. But please study all of them before you even think about hitting the publish button. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

7)      Avoid trending writing!

This isn’t a personal mistake, it’s something I won’t do, ever! And if I do. I hope I avoid tropes and clichés, for my writing carrier sake. Going after trends is throwing a coin in the air. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Or maybe people won’t buy your book because they’re fed up with vampires, werewolves, wizards, and elves. Maybe you’ll become famous for that book, and people will only recognize you for that genre. Trends change, and fast. Trust in your creativity and change the rules. But if you can’t wait to write about something that’s trending; go to Wattpad, write a fan fiction and see how it goes.            

Well, I hope I didn’t sound too negative. But it’s the painful truth. I got over excited when I finished my first novel that I tripped over my own enthusiasm. There are many ways to write a book, and every single one of them is acceptable. Remember that good things take time, patience and lots of love. It’s important to finish what you started and remain consistent throughout your writing.

I’ll share some extra material below so you can keep studying this subject. And learn that I’m not crazy. (Well, maybe just a little.)

Farewell #inklovers! Stay tuned for more amazing content!

Small ad: “The Mezzo-Soprano” will be available for pre order on October 1st, 2020. Watch out for a special offer! See you later!                                                      


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Published by Aarón Nava

Born in México City, 1987. Aaron has a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Media from the Technological University of México. He has worked for several advertising agencies specializing in inbound and content marketing. Aaron's currently working at Heroes and Sidekicks, focusing on creating valuable content that attracts, converts, and delights customers. In addition, he's passionate about books and creative writing.

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