Have you decided to self-publish? Excellent! Before you get started, though, you're going to need to outline a plan. It's the same as outlining a plot for a book.
When you self-publish, you're not only the author of your book but you're also its editor, publisher, and marketer. You have several jobs that will take up a lot of time. Don't get frustrated as this is a rather long process.
Edit. First and foremost, you have to edit your book. Several times, in fact. Editing can take months, especially when you have to do it more than a few times. That's okay though, you should take your time and pay attention to detail. I would use a red pen for this process. Using another color--like blue or black--will make it difficult for you to distinguish the mistakes you've corrected from the actual text.
Saving Money. You're going to need a good amount of money
to self-publish. You're going to need money to copyright your book's content, purchase a
good-looking book cover (which doesn't come cheap), to send out review copies, list giveaways, advertising, etc. Set a goal amount of money you want to have to spend only on your book's progress. Save until you reach that goal and then you're all set to jump into the rest of the publishing process!
Marketing Plan. Before publishing, you should be signed up for every
social media website there is--Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+,
etc. Sign yourself up for any website that could help you with getting the word out there! If you're already signed up for some of these, you should be mentioning your book on social media long before you
plan to self-publish. Now, I don't mean share your manuscript with everyone--that could be risky if you haven't gotten it copyrighted yet--but maybe mention the title of your book and talk about it some.
You should also sign up for Goodreads and sign up for their Author Program. That generates quite a bit of buzz! Their Author Program allows you to list giveaways, post about your book on forums, publicize your upcoming events, write quizzes for your book, and so much more! I'm on the website every day. I'm addicted!
Starting a Blog. Starting a blog to talk about yourself and your book is also a good idea. This will give you the ability to blog about your self-publishing experience to help others who are thinking about doing the same thing. This will help generate followers so they will see the posts you've mentioned your book in (aka you get free marketing).
Cover Artist. Who are you going to hire to make the cover for your book? There are several artists that you can find and contact online. All you have to do is type in "book cover artists" into your search engine and then you can take your pick! Make sure to look at their prices and compare that with their portfolio. You'll want to pick someone professional, who won't try to sell you a cover that someone else has already used, or someone that will sell your book cover to another up-and-coming author.
Create an Author Website. Starting an author website can be quite helpful in generating buzz. Through this you can direct visitors to your blog, Goodreads Author Page, social media profiles, and more! Having a website will make it easy for your social media and blog followers to check out your website to learn more about you. To get a general idea of what your website should contain, check out mine at www.ashleyearley.com
How Are You Going to Sell? Are you going to sell your book in paperback or ebook, or both? Where are you going to sell your book? Are you going to publish through Createspace, Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Lulu, maybe through another? This is a very important decision to make and you need to choose wisely. Compare and consider all of your options. And research these websites as much as you can so you can figure out their pros and cons. Make the right choice for you and your book! You have to decide so you can begin formatting your book to their standards.
Format. Depending on how you self-publish and where, there will be a certain way they will require you to format your book so it can be loaded to look pretty for your readers. For ebooks, you might want to add a Table of Contents to make it easier to get around on an iPad or Kindle. For paperbacks, you'll want to pay close attention to those margin guidelines.
Well, that's all the advice I can think to give you. The self-publishing road ahead is going to be a bumpy one so don't get too frustrated and I wish you luck!