In Your Corner: 8 Tips for Self-Publishing Your Book in 2018

The second-most common New Year’s resolution is to publish a book, and that’s a lot less fraught than the most common, which is to lose weight. Now, with the advent of Web 2.0 and digital print-on-demand technology, at least accomplishing one of your top New Year’s resolutions is almost … easy! Here’s how you can do it.

1 : Identify your goals
Is your goal to make a lot of money or to find a lot of readers? Perhaps your goal is more modest – to have a book that you can share with family and friends, or to have a book that shares a certain belief or experience. By identifying your goals early, you can increase your chances of choosing the right publishing path to meet them.

2 : Identify your weaknesses
Publishing a book is different from writing one; it is a business rather than an art. Unless you have the technical and financial know-how (or the patience, time, and money to absorb the learning curve) you will be better off having a company publish your book for you rather than trying to do it yourself.

3 : Investigate your publishing options
There are three main roads to publication:

  • Traditional publication, where a publishing company accepts your book and purchases the rights to it in exchange for an advance on book royalties. You will still be required to market your own book.
  • Independent self-publishing, where you keep the rights to your book and undergo the arduous task of starting a publishing company on your own in order to print, distribute, and market it.
  • Full-service self-publishing with a print-on-demand company, where you keep the rights to your book and pay experts to perform the publishing tasks for you, although you are still required to market it yourself.

4 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing

The main advantage to traditional publication is that they pay you for your book up-front. However, that is also their disadvantage; since traditional publishers take a financial risk on each book they publish, they often only accept books by celebrities or from authors who have already published previous books successfully.

5 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of independently self-publishing
The advantage of independently self-publishing your book is that you retain your rights and all the control to your book. The disadvantage is that it is time-consuming and very risky to self-publish a book by yourself, due to the up-front financial investment. Distributors rarely work with one-time authors, so once you have books printed, you may find it challenging to move them from your garage and into the hands of readers.

6 : Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of full service self-publishing via POD.
The majority of new authors self-publish their books through a print-on-demand publishing company.  Like independent self-publishing, full service self-publishing authors keep their rights.  Another advantage is that the financial investment is much lower (usually less than $1,000).  The disadvantage is that POD books share the same marketing hurdles as independently self-published books – getting into the hands of readers is a challenge, although most full-service companies typically include wholesale distribution and online listings with major e-retailers to assist the author in getting started.

7 : Just do it
Your manuscript will not publish itself, so the last tip is the most important. You have to be motivated to reach for your dreams. To publish your book traditionally, buy the latest edition of The Writer’s Market for contact information of nearly every mainstream publisher. To independently self-publish your book by yourself, buy the latest edition of The Self-Publishing Manual for the financial models and technical specifications you will need to adhere to. To publish through a full-service print-on-demand book publishing company, read Self Publishing Simplified. (All three books can be purchased via

8 : Revisit #1 — check in on your goals!
There is literally no more important point for any of us writers to internalize than the injunction to simply take the plunge. There’s no one point and no one step to follow in order to become the successful, published author that you want to be.  There’s nothing easy about the process of publication, whether you choose to pursue the traditional route, self-publish, or work with a full-service print on demand (POD) publishing company like Outskirts Press.  But the only step that you can’t ultimately do without is the step where you actually choose to push your foot into the soil and get started.

I guess what I mean to say is: “Just do it” may seem like a deceptively simple thing to say, but it’s actually both the difficult and the most vital for authors to buy into.  Whatever it takes for you to get yourself there, to take the plunge, I just want to encourage you: You can do it.  You have the strength, and the resourcefulness, and the capacity for excellence.  If you’re feeling paralyzed by fear or a lack of information, take things one step at a time go back to #1. It’s not failure to have to start over! And it’s definitely useful to recenter yourself and your project every now and then. What’s the next thing you need? Is it a recommendation from a friend? Is it time? Is it the energy to face something new and complicated? Baby steps. You’ll get there, I promise. And I for one can’t wait to see what you bring into the world in 2018!

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Conversations: 1/1/2016



What Now? That’s the question before me and maybe it’s the question you’re asking yourself as 2016 slips into existence. After several years (nine-plus to be a little more exact), I published my first major book in 2015 and ever since people have been asking me WHEN the next book is coming out. REALLY? My labor with that one book has exhausted me!  And yet—there are several scenarios that are brewing in my innards.  So WHAT NOW?  Well, because I have at least three (3) BIG IDEAS, I’ve decided to flesh out each one just enough so that I can reach a point-of-no-return on ONE of them and complete it before year’s end.  Here are the steps I’ve begun…

new ideas new year

1st Week in January…

Monday…Select your clearest book concept.

  • Write one sentence that defines the heart of this story—the theme—the BIG IDEA that will grab Readers. Rewrite this sentence as many times as needed to satisfy Then place it in the file folder for this book concept and relax.


  • Write 3-5 sentences about the main character and the main supporting What is their ancestral heritage? Family makeup/dynamic? Faith background and current belief? Physical appearance—hair color, eye color, clothing style, etc. BE SPECIFIC and brief. If you have a specific film actor in mind to “play” these characters, google them and add their photo to that description. Then, again, place these in the file folder…and relax.


  • Write one paragraph that describes THE main setting. Keep this paragraph short using very specific imagery. Use the thesaurus! PAINT the setting you want a film-maker to design with color, texture and tone. If there is more than one geographic locale, write this paragraph about the main locale. Then add one sentence about other locales. Google photos of these locations will be helpful. Add to page(s), place in the folder…and relax.


  • Create the conflict chart. I like to use the peaks-and-valleys graph although recently I’ve used the circle-within-a-circle illustration starting with the 1st conflict at the center of the circle, then adding “rings” for each new conflict point. If you’ve read newspaper reports about these types of conflict (home invasions, natural disasters, wars, murders, etc.) research examples and add the site address and/or photo of the encounter. Keep this day’s efforts focused ONLY on the elements of conflict. Then, again, place this information in your folder…and relax.


  • The above diagram doubles as my PLOT graph—with the addition of one written paragraph that offers me ideas about how my main character (and supporters) will act/react to these conflict events—AND—suggests THE END—or at least how I think it will end.


2nd Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 2nd Book Idea.

3rd Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 3rd Book Idea.

4th Week in January…REPEAT above elements for the 4th Book Idea.


By February 1st excitement will be flowing in your veins! It may be difficult to select ONE project to complete—however—you must. Author Rick Warren is quoted saying, “When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life.” This is especially true for the characters we bring to life in THEIR life stories. Happy New Year, my writing friends. May the days and months before you lead to PUBLISHED SUCCESS!  ⚓︎


RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

In Your Corner : New Year, New Resolve

Oh, the dreaded list of New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not uncommon for these lists to be either too long or too ambitious for their makers to actually accomplish within twelve months, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of us from feeling the compulsive tug toward writing them–or from feeling miserable when we find ourselves running into a brick wall of complications.

new year's resolutions

For those of us who are authors, many of us will end up making at least one of our resolutions that of writing and publishing a book in 2016.  But how might an author go from creating the goal of writing a book to actually getting it on paper and, finally, to publishing it?  If you’ve resolved upon a similar goal, here area couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Join a writer’s group.  

While there are certainly plenty of online options available to you, through internet forums and listservs and Facebook groups and the like, the best kind of feedback a writer can receive is the kind that is delivered in face-to-face conversation with people who have held your manuscript in their hands and feel some sort of personal stake in delivering detailed high-quality responses to the questions that you pose.  This is why, above all other things, I recommend you look to join a writer’s group in 2016.

But where to look?  I recommend stealing a page of or Lorena Knapp’s playbook over at the Write Life blog.  She recommends researching a variety of options before committing to any one writer’s group; you might start with local writing centers and then move on to conferences, bulletin boards, writing associations, your personal network, online networking sites like, and then as a last resort turn to social media and so on.  In my personal experience, conferences can be overwhelming (a case study in overstimulation), bulletin boards are rarely up-to-date, and online networking sites lead to as many “misses” as “hits.”  I found out about my local writing association after attending an event at my local library, which often plays host to local authors–many of whom are self-published.  You can’t go wrong by asking a librarian!

  • Join a book club.

The library also happens to be a great place to begin your hunt for a local book club, since most libraries directly or indirectly sponsor these sorts of events, and can point you to the right people or resources to set up your own book club if there isn’t one already geared toward your interests.  You can also check online at the Reader’s Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting readers with each other, to see if there are otherwise off-the-grid book clubs meeting in your area.

But why should a writer join a book club?  The answer isn’t as simple or the dots as easy to connect as with writing circles and writer’s groups, where writing is the common theme.  But as Evan Maloney wrote for The Guardian back in 2010, reading and reading well is actually the most fundamental of skills for a writer to practice:

As well as a large vocabulary, novels give writers a sense of how it is done. They offer templates that can be borrowed and adapted; they teach a writer how to create narrative structures and characters, how to develop tension, write dialogue, and maintain a consistent tone and pitch. Novels also trigger memories from a reader’s personal experience, and these give writers ideas for their own stories.

Best of all, writes Maloney, “whenever writing gets too painful, when each word and idea seems to be dragged from the mind like the limb of an aborted camel, reading offers a writer a lovely escape into a fantasy world where stories are revealed with simple ease and order on the page.”  Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

  • Work with a ghostwriter, or if that’s not quite your speed, with an editor.

With a book club feeding you inspiration and a writer’s group providing you support and feedback as you write, the next best step is to find your voice.  If you’re struggling to find the time or cultivate the skills you think necessary to capturing your story, it may be time to look for a ghostwriter–someone who can sit down with you, hash out all of the relevant details, and then serve as architect and project manager for your book–all rolled into one.  We often associate ghostwriters with the traditional publishing model, since most of the ghostwritten books we see hit shelves are celebrity autobiographies–but you can be a self-publishing author and develop a healthy rapport with a ghostwriter, too!  Hybrid self-publishing companies like mine–Outskirts Press–often offer ghostwriting and editorial services as several of many tools to put in your toolbox.  The differences between ghostwriting and editing is significant–the former will take on a large part of the “generative” process, while the latter will help shape or reshape material you have already created–but the general impulse is the same: these services exist to help you get stuff done.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good edit!

  • Cultivate new and sustainable writing habits.

Here’s where things get a bit hazy.  Every author has individual writing habits developed over years of hard work and necessity, so what a “good writing day” looks like to you will most likely differ from everyone else you meet.  We can look to our heroes for inspiration, sure, but ultimately I find comparison a toxic, toxic beast.  The best way to succeed at adopting new and useful writing habits is to do so slowly and sustainably–by making incremental changes and sticking with them over the long term.

There’s a reason NaNoWriMo proves so difficult for authors to just “pick up” and do: it’s such an intense process that it requires writers to make enormous changes to their daily schedules just to fit it in.  A much better course might be to adopt more manageable alterations–boosting the time you spend writing every morning by five minutes a day for a week, perhaps, or by restricting your self-editing to only five minutes a day–and to evaluate their efficacy regularly, discarding the useless ones and keeping the useful ones.  As my grandmother used to say, “trim the fat!”  Keep the things that help you, and shed the weight of those which don’t.

And always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.