Sunday, August 12, 2012

From Fanfiction to Self-Publishing: Ten Tips for Making the Move

Tip #1: To make money, write a lot and write for a long time. Don’t think of writing as a quick path, but as a long-term trek. Every book you write is a seed you’re planting. It may take a long time to reap the rewards, but you could be harvesting that seed indefinitely.

Tip# 2: Spend what you’re comfortable spending. You can self-publish while still treating your writing as a hobby.

Tip #3:  Download Building Your Book for Kindle from Amazon for everything you need to know about formatting an ebook. Your filtered HTML file should work for ePub, too.

Tip #4: Editors aren’t magic.

Finding an editor:

Faking Editing: Find readers at fictionpress and wattpad; critiques at,, and, and an online software editor at
Tip #5: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough, but take your time while editing.

Tip #6: Cover design isn’t rocket science. Some basic guidelines:
·         The thumbnail is the most important size
·         Keep the imagery simple
·         Use colors to catch attention and set a mood
·         Good typography matters for than fancy art – make your title readable
·         Attractive doesn’t matter

Design site:

Tip #7: Distribution decisions aren’t set in stone, but it’s easier to start small and expand.
For audio:

Tip #8: Dead trees actually do sell and CreateSpace does a nice job.

Tip #9: Most promotion is a waste of time and energy.

Tip #10: Write fanfiction!


  1. I just wanted to thank you for your presentation. My wife and I have both played around with the idea of self-publishing and some of the stuff we heard sounded like it wasn't necessary (ok, my first words were it sounded like a scam, but thats probably too harsh). It was nice to see what we were wondering about answered.

    Thank you for putting the time forward for that, it helped a lot.

  2. Thank you so much for letting me know it was helpful! I'd never actually been to a convention before (plenty of web design conferences, though) so I really wasn't sure what to expect.

    Self-publishing definitely reminds me of the California gold rush -- lots of people making money off of other people's hopes of striking it rich. I wanted to strike a balance between pessimism -- really, hardly anyone makes money writing, it's a terrible way to try to earn a living -- and optimism. Writing is such a great hobby and it's wonderful to have a way of really sharing our writing.

    Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, I'm happy to provide whatever answers I can or suggest links.