How to Make Money Self-Publishing Fiction: 5 Helpful Strategies

Getting traditionally published isn’t always for everyone. You might want to work with a faster process or be more in control of publishing decisions. No matter your motivations, you can learn how to make money self-publishing fiction and launch your professional writing career. Read these tips to get started today.

1. Perfect Your Manuscript

Obviously, the first step in getting published is having a finished manuscript. Whether you’re writing a novel or a collection of short stories, you need to have a complete first draft to work with.

Once you celebrate the end of your first draft, you can take steps like:

Give yourself plenty of time with this step. There are so many things to work through. You and your beta readers or editors will need weeks or months to make your manuscript the best it can be. If you publish anything overnight, your readers will get typos and flat storylines that ultimately won’t sell.

2. Plan Your Marketing Strategies

As you’re working on your manuscript, you can start thinking about how you’ll market your work. Traditional publishers have marketing teams with industry connections and years of experience. It’s a big responsibility to take on by yourself, but it’s not impossible to handle!

Crack open a notebook or start a new Google doc to list your marketing ideas. You’ll have to create an entire campaign that includes steps like:

You could also wait until your manuscript is ready to go to complete these details. You’ll have to know what the full story is and what your themes are to fill out some of this information. That may not happen until your work has gone through thorough editing.

Remember, there isn’t one path to getting published! Your timeline will be whatever you need and it will even adapt for each future book.

3. Build Your Audience

Your best marketing efforts won’t matter if there’s no audience to see them. Start building your audience by picking social media platforms where you’ll connect with people.

If you already have an audience, great! If not, no worries. Select the number of platforms that feels manageable to you and sites you already know how to use. Hashtags will bring people your way long before you start marketing your book.

You can also start an author website. This is great even if you switch to traditional publishing or take a break from the publishing world. Readers and agents always want a singular source of news about their favorite authors.

Your website will include your author’s bio, the occasional life update or update about your writing process, and news about your publishing progress. It can also have an optional email newsletter signup so your biggest fans never miss an update.

Self-publishers also use their websites to sell their books after your debut day arrives. It’s a great resource for readers who would rather not go through other seller options like Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play Books, etc.

4. Schedule Your Book Launch

Once your manuscript is ready to go, you have your social media accounts and website set up, and your marketing efforts are outlined, you can pick a date to launch your book.

A few things to keep in mind while picking a debut day:

  • Will you have a decent online following at that point? (More than 500+ people)
  • Will you have enough time to raise awareness about your book through your marketing plan by that date?
  • Will your manuscript be ready to print and ship by then?
  • Are there major holidays around that date and are you already going to market your book as a holiday gift?

Give yourself a few months to gain steam! When your debut day arrives, you should feel confident in your ability to sell more than a few copies (especially if you’re investing a significant amount of money into your publishing budget).

5. Pick Post-Publication Marketing Ideas

After the world can access your book, don’t let everyone forget that it exists! Keep people talking about it long after your debut date with post-publication marketing

Contact local bookstores to see if you can rent space for a book signing event. Sign up to sit at your own table during a local book fair. Seasonal festivals and farmer’s markets are also great ways to meet people in person. Check your town’s calendar to find the groups that coordinate them and contact them to see what you need to pay to reserve table space.

It’s also helpful to schedule long-term marketing ideas like drafted posts and giveaways to keep your online audience engaged too. Maybe repost a few fans raving about your book to show potential buyers what a great time they’re in for. 

You can also expand your team as money rolls in. Many self-published authors eventually hire a professional social media manager and literary agent. The idea is you’ll expand your fan base and write more books to keep them coming back for more. Professional assistance with future books could make them bigger successes while taking some of the stress off of your shoulders.

Make Money Self-Publishing Fiction

You can publish your book in whatever way you prefer. If your dream is to make money self-publishing fiction, you’re ready to get started. All you have to do is finish your manuscript to navigate your way to your dream career.

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