Self Publishing Guide

I'm new to the world of writing, and for me the leap from creating a story to self publishing a book was massive!

Some of you have asked me how I did, so here is my beginner’s guide to self publishing. I hope it saves you some time and helps you avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.

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Getting started

From finding an illustrator and a self publishing platform, to formatting your draft publication and dealing with copyright issues, it was certainly a bit of a challenge but I’ll talk you through the steps that I took. I’ll also tell you about my experiences with the world of marketing, promotion, and book readings... all of this is still quite new to me and I must admit that I am making some of it up as I go along! But I’m happy to share what I’ve learned to help you get started, so here goes...


Maybe you are one of the lucky ones with a talent for art… sadly I’m not so gifted, so for me the way to go was to find someone who could help bring my stories to life. There are lots of websites offering the services of freelance artists and illustrators - I used FIVERR for my first book, Daisy the Hedgehog. You can buy individual images, book covers or whole book packages - the choice of different styles and the price range is huge so there is something for every genre and budget. I recommend that you get a few different samples before committing, particularly if you are publishing a children’s picture book. For my second book, Show Me, I met the illustrator purely by chance at a craft fair in Scotland, started up a conversation and we took it from there… one of those “right place, right time” moments that sometimes come your way. All of the illustrations for my books were prepared in landscape format, 10in high by 16in wide (or equivalent aspect ratio), in full colour with space for the text.


Once I had the illustrations I used basic Microsoft editing tools to format the draft book. I added text using the “paint” image editing app, which is installed on most home PC’s. There are also lots of other free image editing programmes you can use, which have more sophisticated tools - I just went with what was familiar to me. I copied the illustrations into a word document with the page layout custom set to the correct page size, and cropped the images to use over two pages. It's probably best to use a graphic designer or get to grips with special editing software, but I managed to muddle through!


Copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission and as an author you have automatic copyright protection for your work. You don’t have to apply or pay a fee, you already have copyright protection when you create original literary work if you mark your work with the copyright symbol © along with your name and the year of creation – this is my understanding from research on UK copyright legislation at Gov.UK


I use KDP which is Amazon's self publishing site. You set up an account, it's relatively easy to use and it's free (all you pay for is the proof edition of your book) and your book can be sold on worldwide Amazon platforms. There are no up front publishing or printing costs, it's simply a case of Amazon printing on demand when a copy is purchased, with free delivery through Amazon Prime, and royalties are paid direct ly into your bank account.


Selling and self-promotion don’t come naturally to me, so this is the difficult bit! I use Facebook and Instagram to let everyone know about my books and my wellbeing articles for children, and I’m extremely lucky that my friends and family have been so supportive and helped me spread the word. I’m luckier still because my partner is a software developer and he created this website for me. Once the books were published I started reading my stories in local primary and pre-schools and I’ve been lucky to have the support of my local library who have hosted events for me. I’ve also given away free copies of my books to schools, children’s charities and youth groups both in Guernsey and in Scotland - it's just been a case of contacting people and seeing where it leads. It certainly doesn't always end up with book sales, but it all helps move things in the right direction.

Good luck!

I hope you find this information helpful… it’s purely based on my experience and by no means a definitive guide. The most important piece of advice I can give is to tell you to just go for it! I wrote my stories a long time ago and I'm so pleased to have taken this next step. In my experience, everyone is so positive and encouraging there's nothing to lose - good luck x