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Oct. 14, 2021

Top 5 Self-Publishing Recommendations

Top 5 Self-Publishing Recommendations

EP004. Host, Lanette Pottle, shares the top five recommendations every new author should consider as they begin the self-publishing process.

The conversation continues over at the She Gets Published Community. Join us there!


Hey, hey… it’s a beautiful day in the self-publishing world and things are about to get even better!

In the first three episodes, I posed important questions for you to ask yourself -- things that only you had the answers to. But this week we’re going to start switching things up. I’m going to share my Top 5 recommendations for you to consider as you begin your adventures in self-publishing, some are technical, some are more broad but they’re all practical and relevant. 

And Just to keep things interesting, let’s do this countdown style.


In the #5 spot of my top recommendations is to print your first book in paperback… and here’s why. When I was getting ready to publish my first book, Small Steps Big Impact, I had a clear vision: It would be a square hard-covered book printed in full color...and that’s exactly what I created. You could say that was a win because I did exactly what I set out to do but that doesn’t nearly tell the whole story. The truth is even priced at $29.99, there’s hardly any profit margin on those books. Hardcover bindings -- and in my case -- full-color printing along with the premium paper to support it -- cost a fortune. I fulfilled a dream but from a business perspective, it was a bust. In print media, the paperback is going to be your most profitable option. Depending on the specifics of your book, you’ll be looking at less printing & production costs… for most first-time authors,  it’ll be somewhere between $3 - 4  a copy so you’ll position yourself with a much healthier margin. 

Adding to this recommendation is #4: Use a print-on-demand service to print your first book. There are a ton of options available for printing -- including using off-shore companies that typically come in at significant savings  But this is your first book and using a traditional style printer is going to require you to purchase in bulk… which means three big things. You're going to have more upfront spending, You’re going to need to have enough dry, cool space to store pallets of books. Or pay for storage to accommodate them.  It‘s also important to consider that when you go this route, you're stuck with what you order. If you share a story you’d really like to omit, or find glaring typos, the end product doesn’t end up looking like your proof, you’re stuck with a whole lot of books. Whereas if you use a print-on-demand service, you only order what you need and can easily upload new files to make updates or corrections with only the inconvenience of the time it takes for the company to implement the changes. 

Moving along, my #3 recommendation for self-publishing your first book is to create your own publishing imprint to do it. It’s not very complicated to do and it will serve you well down the road. You get to choose your publishing name representing your book rather than having, say, KDP Publishing -- Amazon’s imprint. You’ll purchase your own ISBN numbers under your publishing name instead of using the Amazons … or the ones provided by other platforms. There are business benefits to this that we’ll talk about more in-depth in future episodes but one that I’ll mention here is using your own publishing imprint will create the possibility of having your books placed in physical bookstores. When Amazon is your publisher that is definitely not happening.

Number two on the list of my top recommendations is to hire a professional editor and book designer. If you’ve listened to other episodes I might be sounding a bit like a broken record here but it’s for good reason Not only is your book an extension and representation of you and your brand, these two elements will have a huge influence on how your book is received. If it doesn’t look professional and appealing, people aren’t going to pick it up -- a book REALLY DOES get judged by its cover. And if the inner layout is wonky or your writing is full of grammatical errors, it's going to distract your reader and they’re either going to stop reading or be unable to receive the message you’re trying to share. 

And finally, we’re at the drumroll please moment… my #1 recommendation for self-publishing your first book: Surround yourself with a support team. I’m not talking about outsourcing or assistants here -- though if you have the budget for it I do recommend this, too,  What I am referring to here is assembling a team that can provide guidance, support, and encouragement. 

Look, here's the truth: Everything is easy when you know how to do it but this first time going through the self-publishing process is going to be bumpy. You’ll be on your growth edge so there will be moments of frustration and overwhelm where you find yourself questioning your abilities and test your commitment. Having people to help you stay grounded and provide perspective is important. This is going to be different for everyone but the kinds of people who typically fall into this category are mentors, coaches, accountability partners, mastermind groups, as well as generally supportive people who believe in you and can see your potential more clearly than you can in the moment. [pause] So let’s recap --

  • Surround yourself with a support team
  • Hire professional editors and book designers
  • Create and publish under your own imprint.
  • Use a print on demand option
  • And choose paperback vs hardcover

My challenge to you? Decide on your next best step and take action on something that leads you in the direction of at least one of these recommendations this week.