Self-Publishing Your Novel

When authors receive rejection after rejection from agents and publishers, they may decide to take matters into their own hands and self-publish their works. Many authors, however, choose to self-publish because they want to be in control of the publishing process, not because they were unable to attract a book publisher.

If you’re thinking of publishing your own book, you need to learn everything you can about the publishing business. Although many authors choose one of the vanity presses that call themselves “self-publishing companies,” using one of these publishers to produce your book is not truly self-publishing.

Print-on-demand (POD) technology allows authors to self-publish their books at a reasonable cost. The print on demand method helps to reduce the cost of publishing by only printing and shipping books as they are ordered. Although POD printing is used by many of the vanity presses, dealing with a POD printer and publishing with your own ISBN makes you the publisher.

One of the most important aspects of self-publishing your novel is knowing how to market it. This knowledge can mean the difference between selling a few books or thousands. Your marketing efforts need to be well-planned and  professional.

If your promotional materials contain typos and misspelled words, what does that say about the quality of your book? Make the best possible impression on media, reviewers, book sellers and others by paying as much attention to your marketing materials as you did to your manuscript.

There are many online discussion groups for the various genres of fiction. Locate the groups related to your genre and get involved with them. In addition to attracting fans and book buyers, you will learn what people like to read and may discover ways that you can target your work to a larger audience.

When communicating online via email or in forums and discussion groups,  always include a “signature file” or “sig file.” A signature file is a pre-written block of text that is automatically attached to your message. Your signature file should include information about your novel and where the reader can purchase it. Link to the book’s page on or the page on your website where readers can buy your book. You might also include links to your blog or social media profiles.

Many authors choose to self-publish their first books to establish a track record. If you successfully publish and market your first novel, it may be easier to attract a traditional publisher for your second and subsequent novels. Of course, after successfully self-publishing, you may decide you do not want or need a traditional publisher.

Learn more about writing and publishing novels and selling books here at