2015 RT Convention: Self-Publishing DIY Tips from the Pros

You’ve read the debates online, you’ve gone back and forth, and you may have even seen some of the numbers self-published authors have shared. But the question still remains, is self-publishing more profitable than traditional publishing? What’s best for your career? Last week at the RT Convention in Dallas, we heard from some of self-publishing’s experts about what’s going on and what authors need to know before pressing “publish.” The panel consisted Sylvia Day, Mark Coker, Smashwords founder, Latoya Smith, publisher at Samhain, Christine Munroe, from Kobo Writing Life, and authors Philippa Ballantine and Karin Tabke. Here are the top tips we gleaned.

1. Figure out what kind of person you are. 

The panel spoke on the pros and cons of going it alone. As Sylvia Day put it, self-publishing, “is empowering. But some people find it a burden.” The experts advised trying it out to see what’s right for you. If you’re invigorated by taking charge: go for it! If you’re not writing enough because you’re so stressed by all the details of the business, maybe this is not the path for you. 

2. Pre-order, pre-order, pre-order.

Coker spoke on the importance of the pre-order, which, on certain e-tailers, will help catapult you onto bestseller lists on your pub day. Get that book up for sale as soon as you can. 

3. You can do it yourself, until you can’t. 

Concerned about paying too much to get your book ready for publication? The panel all advocated learning to format and upload yourself, and touted price shopping for a great cover artist (scrutinze their portfolios to see if they work for you). But the one thing you should never scrimp on? An editor. Whether you want a developmental edit, line edit or copyedit, you should definitely to pay a vetted professional to help you polish your book. 

4. Do your research. 

The panel agreed that there are amazing resources online for those considering self-publishing — and a great community too! So if you’re considering make the leap, get out there, start reading and making friends. Before you know it, you could be on a self-publishing panel next year at RT 2016 in Las Vegas!

There’s still more RT Convention coverage to come! And if you missed something, we’ve got it all right here.

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