Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

The Pitfalls of Rushing the Self-Publishing Process

5 min read

When authors create a process to publish, their book’s chances of success are increased

Having a fleshed-out story to share with the world is a feeling like no other. And for many authors, we are ready to share it right away.

However, amid the eagerness to share our literary creations with readers, some authors hastily navigate the self-publishing journey. Yet, in this haste lies the risk of overlooking crucial opportunities to effectively promote their work, inadvertently leaving behind errors unchecked, and ultimately facing disappointment when their endeavors do not yield the desired results.

And like so many other authors, this was me at the beginning of my writing career.

I’d spent four years writing a young adult dystopian book. And when I was finished, I was eager to get it in front of readers but wasn’t sure how to do so. So, my husband found a service called CreateSpace (which is now owned by Amazon) that could help me format my book, design a cover, provide developmental and grammatical edits, and upload it to the Amazon platform for me.

Sounds great, right? Well, not when it cost me $3,000…

In the end, yes, I had published a book. And I ended up selling 250 copies of it. But, since I rushed the process to publish it, my momentum stopped quickly and I wasn’t sure what to do next.

I had reached a point of understanding that it wasn’t sustainable for me to pay three grand to publish each book.

So my options were to:

  • Find a traditional publisher for my next book

  • Learn how to do most of the process on my own

  • Or never publish again

Lo and behold, I managed to meet other indie authors on social media who taught me that you could publish for nearly nothing.

But… I would need to:

  • Learn how to do most of the process on my own

  • Work on researching my audience and genre

  • Grow my social media

  • Make connections in the publishing world

  • Create a process to publish

At first, it all sounded like too much.

I began by publishing a collection of short stories and had a friend add one of hers to the collection as well. And in doing so, I learned how to format, and experimented with marketing.

After this had gone well, I tried to figure out what my next book would be.

At the time, I was also trying to build my newsletter and began writing a short story called The Backup Superhero for my audience. Each week I would write a new installment and send it to them.

While writing this short story, I came up with a process of:

  • Outlining each chapter

  • Editing it

  • Marketing that it was coming

  • Sharing it in my newsletter

  • And following up with what people thought

Doing so helped me to fine-tune a process.

What was crazy was when I finished the short story, my newsletter subscribers showed genuine interest in wanting more of the universe it was in and asked if I would publish it.

This honestly caught me off guard.

So, I set to work creating a publishing process to get it publish-ready.

Here is what it looked like:

  • Re-read the story and make my edits

  • Share with alpha readers and gather their opinions

  • Make changes

  • Hire an editor for it

  • Begin marketing it on social media and sharing it with my subscribers

  • Receive edits and make changes

  • Do keyword research for the book description

  • Share with beta readers

  • Create a cover and test it among my alpha and beta readers

  • Continue to market

  • Order a proof

  • Research book bloggers and reviewers and offer to send a free eBook copy of the book along with links to where they could leave reviews

  • Publish the book

After creating and implementing this process, The Backup Superhero turned out to be and is still my best-performing story. And what I’m most recognized for despite being a multi-genre author.

After publishing 14 books under my name, I’ve tweaked my process and refined it even more.

What changes have I made to my process?

  • I research book bloggers/ reviewers earlier in my process and follow them, liking/ commenting/ sharing their content over time to build a relationship before I submit a review request

  • In my marketing strategies, I do location/book description/ character/ cover reveals on social media and in my newsletters

  • I market my book from the time I start writing it (build the momentum)

  • I offer free eBook copies to a small amount of readers in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads, Bookbub, and Amazon

  • I offer sneak peeks of the book

Because I now find that once I created a process that I could follow each time I published a book, my chances for success were increased.