My Seven Tips to Successful Self Publishing by Bette Lee Crosby

In my career in the self publishing world, I have met some really awesome people. Successful authors who are paving a way in this wonderful industry. To celebrate the releases of new works by some of these authors, I have asked them to write some advice that they have found has really helped them not only to navigate new frontiers, but lasso them.

Bette Lee Crosby’s, Jubilee’s Journey, releases today in ebook format. I have a special connection with this book because I did the manuscript evaluation for it.  Bette is well loved by her fans due to her ability to write characters that invite you into their lives and melt your heart. She has accomplished this again with the lovely munchkin Jubilee. Let’s not forget that the adorable, precocious Ethan (the fan favorite) is back too!


1) Get rid of the idea that self-publishing means doing it all yourself. It doesn’t, and the sooner you realize that the saner your life will be.

2) Invest in a professional synopsis and manuscript evaluation. Don’t wait until you are so far along the road there is no way back. If you are working on a shoestring budget, utilize beta readers. In either case, ask for critique once the story is outlined and the first 50 IMG_2011croppages written. Knowledgeable critique will enable you to see your work through different eyes and ultimately create a better book.

3) Once your manuscript is complete, have it professionally edited. Even if your Aunt Sally or college roommate was an English major, you need a professional editor—someone who had done other manuscripts in similar genres and has a good track record. This can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars but it is a worthwhile investment. If you publish a book with grammatical errors or typos, the reader will find them and mention them in their review. Once posted, that review will be around for a very long time.

4) Unless you are an accomplished designer, employ a professional cover designer. Ask around, see what covers you like and check with that author for referrals. Remember your cover needs to do two things: it needs to stand out from the crowd in the postage stamp size used on most retail sites, and it needs to look compelling when shown full size. Your book cover is your first chance to grab the customer, don’t blow it with a lack-luster cover that misses the mark. It’s okay to shop price here, but make sure you are getting a designer familiar with your genre and image.

5) Use a professional formatter. There are dozens of books out there saying it’s a quick and easy thing to do—trust me, it’s not. It is time consuming and brain boggling. Don’t waste your valuable writing time. A print book can be formatted through a vendor like Create Space for as little as two to three hundred dollars and an e-book can often be done for less than that. Plus, you won’t run the risk of Amazon pulling your book off the virtual shelf because of formatting errors.

6) Set up a blog and post often. Show the world who you are and what you are all about. Write about your work, your life, you thoughts, your opinions and keep it interesting. This should be the reader’s window into your world, not a “Buy my book” announcement.

7) Be visible on all the social media sites—this includes Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Linked-In. Talk to your readers and encourage them to talk to you because not only will they talk to you, they’ll talk to others about you and that’s what you want to happen. If there simply are not enough hours in the day to do all of this, recruit a techy friend to help. There are any number of professional publicists you can hire to do this, but if you’re just getting started and on a tight budget, this is an area where you can turn to Aunt Sally or that college roomie and elicit some help. Don’t worry after you have that bestseller you’ll be able to hire a professional publicist and by then Aunt Sally will be ready to give it up.

It may seem these seven steps are “easy-for-you-to-say” advice, but I can honestly tell you that was not the case. When I first decided to reach out for professional help it was a big step for me, and one I questioned the wisdom of taking. Although I was apprehensive at the thought of spending the money I wasn’t making, in retrospect it was the wisest thing I could have done. For most authors, the key to success is not simply having a single bestseller, but holding onto the audience you are cultivating by continually releasing new books of comparable quality. Having a support team enables me to do it. I can no longer imagine going it alone. What once took me over a year to accomplish, I can now do in one third the time. As a result, I have more time to write and can still be confident with work that is well-polished and professional.

Comment here!


  1. Thank you so much for having me as a guest on the Author CEO Blog. I am extremely honored. Thank you also for your guidance and help on Jubilee’s Journey. When I say I couldn’t have done it without you, i mean I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!

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