Saturday, October 15, 2016

How to Self-Publish a book and become an Indie eBook Author on a ZERO budget in TEN STEPS (GUEST POST)

How to self-publish a book and become an Indie eBook Author on a ZERO budget in TEN STEPS
by Patricia Furstenberg

So you wrote a book or you’re almost done writing it.
What’s next?
You could go two ways. You could submit your manuscript to mainstream publishers and wait … then wait some more OR, with eyes wide open and a dry mouth, you could take the road “less traveled” and become an Indie.
What does Indie means? Indie is the abbreviation for “independent”, a term first used in the 1920’s with reference to film production.
Join a 100 years long industry. If they succeeded, so can YOU, you and your MS Word manuscript.
Self-publish your book on a ZERO BUDGET.
This is exactly what I’ve done this year, published my children’s eBook, “Happy Friends”.

1. “Stop wishing. Start doing.”
This is crucial to your work, to good reviews and to customers.
Search Twitter or Facebook for emerging proofreaders / editors willing do it for free in an exchange for a reference from you. Or find a student in the field looking to broaden their experience. If you don’t have social media accounts create them now, they’re FREE.
Proofreading means correcting spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation or formatting errors.
Editing looks into depths. It will consider the way you present your ideas, making your manuscript easier to read.
When on a zero budget you have to do what best works for you in order to move forward on your self-publishing road.

2.” Don’t watch the clock. Do what it does, keep going.”
Don’t worry about a book cover at this stage as Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s own publishing platform) provides FREE templates you can edit and use.

3. “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”
HOW TO get your book ON AMAZON for FREE.
One of the best places to first publish your eBook is on Amazon, using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s eBook publishing platform. Publishing here will take a few minutes and subsequently your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours, available for all Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. Publish once and sell worldwide on all the Amazon sites.
What is great about self-publishing an eBook is that you can make changes even after publishing your book. You just upload the new file!
Step 1. Sign up for a free KDP account on
Step 2. Format your book for FREE.
To publish your eBook on Amazon your manuscript must have a specific formatting.
I recommend you read and use “Building Your Book for Kindle, Kindle Edition”. It is a VERY easy to follow, FREE step by step guide on how to format your book to easy self-publish it on Kindle found here:
Your book cover will be taken care at this step, during the uploading process.
Step 3. Enroll your book in KDP Select. It is a FREE PROMOTIONAL program.
At least for the first three month (as enrollment in KDP Select is renewed quarterly) I advise that you do enroll your book in KDP Select. You will be able to run promotions (list your book for FREE for up to 5 days over each three month or run a Kindle countdown deal, also for up to 5 days over each three months). Read more here:

4. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
HOW TO get your own, FREE Amazon AUTHOR PAGE.
Create a FREE account here:
On your Amazon Author Page you can add a short biography (keep it short and sweet. Include something funny about yourself. Look at what other authors wrote about themselves). You can also include a photo of yourself and have a blog (more about this later). Include links to your social media accounts for your readers to follow and get in touch.
If you don’t have your own website then your Amazon Author Page can be your home online.

5. “Stay focused. Never give up.”
HOW TO create a FREE Goodreads ACCOUNT for yourself and a get a FREE BLOG.
Step 1. Create a Goodreads account here:
Search for your book on Goodreads and add yourself as the author. Now you can request Goodreads to upgrade your account to a FREE Author Account. This is important because it will give you a BLOG. Blogging increases your visibility online, where your eBook is.
Step 2. LINK your Goodreads blog to your Amazon Author Page by using RSS feed. This way your blog posts from Goodreads will be pulled into your Amazon Author Page thus giving your readers more information about you, the Author, and giving you more credibility.

6. “Action is the foundational key to success.”
Step 1. Search Twitter and Facebook, there are great Book Reviewers there. Keep in mind that they will have a pile of books already awaiting their review so you might have to wait for your turn.
Step 2. When your book is on a free promotion on KDP Select ask family and friends to download it for free and post a review on Amazon.
Step 3. Do a review exchange with another emerging author.
Keep in mind that each reviewer has his / her own requirements for submitting your work. Follow them and respect their time as they do give out of the goodness of their hearts and love for books. For free.

7. “When you feel like quitting think about why you started.”
HOW TO self-publish for FREE on Barnes & Noble and Apple. And get a FREE ISBN.
Step 1. If your three months subscription on KDP Select has ended (and do make sure it is), you can put your eggs in more than one basket.
Smashwords distributes to, Kobo, Amazon (but you’re here already so you can opt out for this one retailer), Apple, Inktera (formerly Page Foundry), Baker & Taylor Blio, Baker-Taylor Axis360, Library Direct, OverDrive, Scribd, Gardners Extended Retail, Yuzu, Tolino, Odilo, Gardners Library.
Create a FREE Smashwords account then edit your Smashwords Author page. There is even an interview that you can do there and, voila, you’ll have your very own Author Interview on your Smashwords Author Page. For FREE!
Step 2. Format for your manuscript for Smashwords as they have their own formatting requirements. You can download the Smashwords Style Guide for FREE here:
Be patient and follow their requirements to the letter and soon enough you will be able to upload your eBook on Smashwords too.  
Step 3. Now you will need a book cover. Smashwords does not provide a free book cover template.

8. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
HOW TO create your own book cover for FREE, all by yourself.
This is your last push. You’ve come so far, you can do it. And you can do it in Paint! Remember, you want to design a book cover that looks good as a thumbnail, the way it would look on a webpage.
Step 1. Find a background picture that suits your book genre. Look at as they have amazing FREE pictures.
Step 2. Open the picture in Paint and include Title and Author Name only. This is important as what appears on your Smashwords Book Cover has to match 100% the info you include under title and author when you upload your eBook file.
Step 3. Save your cover. Follow the Smashwords Style Guide’s requirements for cover size. To edit your pictures you can download IrfanView for FREE.
Step 4. Upload work and cover onto Smashwords and patiently wait for their confirmation emails. You want to hear from them that your book made it into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. If they tell you there are things to be fixed, then fix them and upload again.
You can now upload your new book cover onto Amazon too, to keep your eBook’s appearance uniform on the internet.

9. “Nothing great ever came that easy.”
Pricing your eBook. Again, less is more. Books between $2.99 to $5.99 bring the most profits. Search similar books to yours to get an idea.

10. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
HOW TO MARKET your eBook for FREE.
Step 1. Marketing your book means creating awareness. This will require all the social platforms you’re on. You can create your own book promos by using pictures and text.
Step 2. Remember, Twitter and Facebook are great platform to establish connections with like-minded authors and learn from them; they hardly sell your books. But you could land a few author interviews here, hosted on other author’s blogs - which will increase your exposure as an author, thus increasing your chances to sell more books.
Step 3. Use your blog. Write about what you like or what you know. It will create awareness about you, the Author.

Well done, now you’re a published eBook author!

Source to find FREE legal images for your book covers:


  1. Thank you for the opportunity of being featured on your blog, O.D!
    I enjoyed writing about how to self-publish an eBook. If it will help at least one aspiring Indie writer, then it was worth it!
    This is exactly the road I followed when I self-published my children's book "Happy Friends" and later the book series with the same title.
    Best of luck!
    Patricia Furstenberg

  2. Brilliant article with great advice!!