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How Not To Self Publish

Updated on March 6, 2013

Make Your Bad Self Published Novel

You just finished your novel. It's a masterpiece. Dozens of people will want to buy it. And you don't want that mean publishing company to take most of the money they'll give. Besides, they don't recognize your genius. All you have to show for your submissions is a stack of rude rejection letters.

Much better to do it yourself, keep all the profit and laugh all the way to your holiday in the Bahamas. Well, here's how to do it.

Have a Clip Art or 3D Cover

Even ebooks need cover art. Why bother hiring an artist when you can put together a cover out of all the wonderful free clip art out there? There are all these sites that will create a book cover for me, for free, with almost no work.

There. You've got your cover. Oh, you need a nice title font. Plenty of those for free, too. Pick one that has plenty of nice curls to it. Or maybe one that looks like a robot typed it for your science fiction novel.

Easy. You have your cover.

Make Your Cool Layout

All books have the same font. It's really boring. So, how about having yours printed in an elegant font that looks like your handwriting. It's bound to stand out and make readers pick your book up.

Or maybe you can use these gorgeous clip art capital letters you found at the start of each chapter. Or the start of each scene.

Don't forget to put funky little symbols next to or, better yet, around the page numbers. It'll look great. Especially on e-readers.

Add A Sexy Picture

You're not just good at writing, you're hot. If your book is going to be a paperback, then don't forget to include a picture of yourself. Make sure you look sexy. Find your best revealing outfit - especially you, ladies.

Don't forget to wear plenty of makeup and get yourself photographed somewhere with a really cool background. Your best friend can handle it...sure, she only picks up a camera once a year, but as long as it's a reasonably clear picture it will do, right?

Oh, even better, you already have a picture. The one from last year's office Christmas party. You know, the one where your boss brought that wonderful single malt.

Forget The Editing

Your work is a masterpiece. It's absolutely perfect. It doesn't need to be edited. You finished it a whole two weeks ago and it's ready to go.

Besides, readers are stupid. They won't notice the typo on page 47 or the fact that your villain is bald in chapter 4 and has flowing red locks in chapter 10. They'll be too wrapped up in your wonderful story to care about little details like that. If they criticize your grammar, tell them you're a literary great and are doing it on purpose. Ooh, maybe you can refuse to use quotation marks. That's trendy right now.

Use Your Distributor's Free ISBN Service

Ooh! You don't have to pay for an ISBN. Your distributor will gladly put one on for you. Of course, then they'll show as the publisher.

Oh well. That's not a big deal. I mean, everyone knows they're just posting my book to their website and I did all the work. Right?


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    • nochance profile image

      Chloe Davis Smith 4 years ago from Minnesota

      This is hilarious. Thank you for sharing.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 4 years ago

      If you know what you're doing, if you have done your research, hired an editor to make the best product, then you can produce a very high quality book on your own.

      Sadly, most people who self-publish don't.

    • AJReissig profile image

      Alex J. Reissig 4 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio

      Funny hub! I think you nailed most the sins that will kill the sucess of a self-published book. That having been said, there are some very good self published novels out there. I have also read trash cranked out by the big publishing houses.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      Personally, I think correctly done self publishing is perfectly legitimate. Also, not all real publishing houses know how to do it right. Or want to do it right.

      Both paths are legitimate, but you do have to understand the industry and be VERY business savvy to self publish and have any success.

    • profile image

      girgismcs 6 years ago

      great hub relay useful one good work

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      This illustrates the many problems with self publishing and one of them happens to be that real publishing houses just simply know how to do it right. The only caveat to the joy of self publishing is that it allows so many bad books into the mix that real readers will only flock to real writers published by real houses. Wow, that's a mouthful. Point being simply that even if your book IS truly salable, and even if you truly CAN write, and even if the self published book IS worthy of landing on a bookstore shelf, many readers may never even bother to give it a look just because it's a self endeavor and it's therefore not worth the risk of the expense, and the risk of wasted time to read it.

      I've said it before that self publishing in a forum such as this one, or in blogging is fine. But when you write your own War And Peace, you want a third party to dissect it and give it the grand okay. When that happens, it doesn't mean you'll land on the bestseller list or even secure another book being published. But at least even if it never does much more than see its way to print, it is legitimate, and you can therefore also call yourself (legitimately) an author.

      In my mind, this is the only way to become published.

      Fun hub to read.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      I've done the last one and now regret it, but I really didn't have almost three hundred bucks spare at the time.

      But one look at Lulu or CreateSpace will at least show you how many people do the clip art or bad 3D cover art.

    • shesacraftymom profile image

      shesacraftymom 6 years ago

      Funny! I wonder how many people do all of these things. :)

    • jfay2011 profile image

      jfay2011 6 years ago

      Very interesting hub. I've self published and its a very hard industry

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      I would recommend at least making some effort to find a publisher first as then you can get them to pay for cover art and editing.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Very funny! I'm working on the final edits of my ebook and have been doing a lot of research about publishing. I'll definitely NOT follow the tips above!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Voted UP and Funny! Been there and Done That, as they say. I have three lethargic books on Amazon right now.But ..... I did it MY WAY!

      What no one explains to you is that a book MUST BE MARKETED!

      Otherwise, is just sits there on those electronic bookshelves of the great Amazon, waiting for someone with money to throw away on an unknown book without reviews or publicity.

    • jenniferrpovey profile image

      jenniferrpovey 6 years ago

      I'll confess, I've used a distributor's ISBN...for a short story when I wasn't sure (I'm still not) about going seriously into self-publishing. Unfortunately, the problem with buying ISBNs and the reason, I'm sure, that most self publishers don't do it is that ISBNs cost $275 for ten...and can't be transferred, so you can't set up an ISBN-buying cooperative to help out people who only need one or two. If I self publish more stuff, though, I have an imprint name in mind (I just need to find the $275).

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 6 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Great hub!it's so true, you don't need to spend hours writing, make it quick easy,and sexy!

    • peramore20 profile image

      peramore20 6 years ago from Greensburg, PA

      I loved it! You definitely nailed the common mistakes of self-publishing and did so in an interesting way. Very good hub!