Main Steps in Self-Publishing

I ask ChatGPT about the main steps in self-publishing, and I respond to their reply.

What ChatGPT Says:

Q: steps in self-publishing

The self-publishing process can vary depending on the platform and services you use, but in general, the steps involved in self-publishing include:

  1. Writing and editing: This is the most important step, where you write and edit your book to make it the best it can be. You may also consider hiring a professional editor or proofreader to review your manuscript.
  2. Formatting: You will need to format your manuscript to ensure that it is compatible with the platform or platforms you plan to use. This may involve converting your file to a specific file format, such as EPUB or MOBI, and ensuring that the layout and formatting of your book is appropriate for the chosen format.
  3. Cover design: You will need to create a cover for your book that will be used on the various platforms and in any print versions. You may also consider hiring a professional cover designer to help you create a cover that will stand out.
  4. Uploading: You will need to upload your manuscript, cover, and any other relevant files to the platform or platforms you plan to use. This may involve creating an account and following the platform’s guidelines for submission.
  5. Marketing: Self-publishing authors are responsible for their own marketing, it is important to create a marketing plan to promote your book and reach your target audience. This can include social media promotion, press releases, book signings and other events, paid advertising, and other tactics.
  6. Distribution: Once your book is available for sale, you will need to distribute it to various retailers and platforms. This will depend on the platform you choose, some will distribute to a wide range of retailers while others will only distribute to their own platform.
  7. Royalties: Once the book is out, you will need to monitor the sales and royalties, and make sure they are accurate. Most platforms offer tools that allow you to track your sales and royalties.

These are the general steps involved in self-publishing, but the process can vary depending on the platform and services you use. It’s important to do your research and understand the guidelines and requirements of the platforms you plan to use, and to be prepared to invest time and effort into the process.

What Anna Says:

This is a good summary. Each step has multiple sub-steps associated with it. For example, editing would have a developmental edit, line edit, copy edit and proofread.

You may choose to pay for some of these steps through contractors, so that you retain all of your rights on the manuscript. Other steps you may want to save some money and do yourself.

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

I ask ChatGPT about the pros and cons of self-publishing, and respond with my own thoughts.

What ChatGPT Says:

Q: self-publishing pros and cons

Self-publishing has become a popular option for authors in recent years, as it allows them to have more control over the publishing process and reach a wider audience. However, self-publishing also has its own set of pros and cons.


  1. Control: Self-publishing allows authors to have complete control over the content, design, and marketing of their book.
  2. Speed: Self-publishing allows for a faster publication process compared to traditional publishing.
  3. Royalties: Self-publishing authors generally earn a higher percentage of royalties on each book sold compared to traditionally published authors.
  4. Reach: Self-publishing allows authors to reach a global audience through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  5. Flexibility: With self-publishing, authors have the freedom to experiment with different formats, genres, and styles that may not be accepted by traditional publishers.


  1. Quality control: Self-published books may not have gone through the same level of editing, proofreading, and fact-checking as traditionally published books.
  2. Visibility: Self-published books may not receive the same level of promotion and visibility as traditionally published books.
  3. Distribution: Self-published books may not be carried by brick-and-mortar bookstores, and may not be available in libraries.
  4. Professionalism: Self-publishing may carry a certain stigma, and some readers may be less likely to take self-published books seriously.
  5. Costs: Self-publishing can be costly, as authors may have to pay for editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing expenses out of their own pockets.

Overall, self-publishing can be a great option for authors who are willing to put in the time and effort to produce a high-quality book and market it effectively. But it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons, and to have a clear understanding of the process and the costs involved, before deciding to self-publish.

What Anna Says:

This is a good summary. In terms of addressing the cons, there are several support groups on Facebook and Reddit that provide advice for free, from authors who have gone through it before. I highly recommend joining some groups and see which ones work for you.

Ingram Spark for Self-Publishing

In this series, I ask ChatGPT (an online AI chat software) some questions about self-publishing, and I give my response.

What ChatGPT says:

Q: Please tell me about Ingram spark for self publishing

IngramSpark is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to publish and distribute their books in both print and digital formats. The platform offers a range of services, including formatting, cover design, and distribution to major online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as to brick-and-mortar bookstores. It also offers tools for authors to track their sales and royalties. IngramSpark is a good choice for authors who want to have more control over the publishing process and reach a wider audience.

What Anna says:

This is all true. I tend to use Ingram Spark only for its print-on-demand publishing and tracking services. It is not considered a good e-book self-publishing platform.

The files need to fulfil the specifications in a very exact manner. I have been caught out in the past with a cover element that is 0.4mm larger than the specification. The error messages are cryptic, however the email support is very good.

Ingram Spark is the printer, whereas Ingram is the distributor. While you can order author copies directly from Ingram Spark, if your customers want to order your book, they have to do it through bookstores that are offering it.

Note that there is a minimum threshold for royalty payments if you want to get paid into a bank account. There is no threshold for PayPal. I made this mistake, and I got a year’s worth of royalties (less than $10!) all at once when I changed to PayPal.

Freelance writing – short stories

How does it work?

You provide me with a specification and an approximate word count. I provide you with a rough outline of ideas. We discuss the outline, then I go ahead and write the story. I share the work-in-progress (WIP) to you. We discuss your feedback on the WIP. I complete the story, taking your feedback on board, and submit it to you. Either you or I send it off for copyedit and proofread.

What are your terms?

There is a terms and conditions document to sign before we begin. Most importantly, I retain the copyright, and I provide you with a license to use the work. You can only use the work in its final form, and it must include my name as the author. The work will be in Australian English.

I am not a ghostwriter nor a copywriter.

What are your rates?

I charge $300 (+ GST) in blocks of 1,000 words.

Do you have samples of your work?

Please take a look at my snippets website. I have also self-published two novellas, Cupid’s Kiss and Get Off My Lawn!

Fill in the form to start the conversation:

Cupid’s Kiss novella

Cover for Cupid's Kiss, sky blue background with an illustrated mosquito clasps its hands with love hearts emanating from their body

Cupid, a 35 year old scientist, is unlucky in love but successful in his career.

When the CEO of a multinational perfume corporation asks him to develop an aphrodisiac using his trained mosquitoes, he jumps at the chance.

At the same time, the woman he’s been chatting with on an online dating app has finally agreed to meet up. But what Cupid doesn’t know is that he’s about to go from bitten to smitten.


Also available in eBook, audiobook, print-on-demand, in bookstores, cafes and libraries; links below.

Note: Kindle ebook and Audible purchases together form a read aloud function.

eBook: Kindle ebook, UBL, Google Books.

Audiobook: Authors Direct, Google Play, Kobo, Chirp Books, Binge Books, scribd,, nook, Audible.

Print-on-demand: Amazon, Dymocks online (AU), Angus & Robertson online (AU), Booktopia, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble (US), Walmart (US), Waterstones (UK), Smith and son (France), Bokus (Sweden).

Bookstores (signed copies): Better Read Than Dead (Newtown, AU, Mar-Jun 2022), Galaxy Books (Sydney city, AU, Mar 2022-current).

Events: Sydney Royal Easter Show 2023, Book Fair Australia, Woodstock artisan market (AU), Flour Mill Markets (AU).

Cafes: Double Dose Croydon (AU).

Local Author Boxes: coming soon (AU)

Libraries: Inner West Libraries (AU), National Library of Australia.

Get Off My Lawn! novella

Cover for Get Off My Lawn!, an illustrated black cat and toy red car on a green lawn

For ages 8-12 years.

2090. Retired millennial Olivia has fallen into a familiar routine. Gardening. Painting. Keeping the stray cat off the grass.

Until Dotty, her new seven-year-old neighbour, starts fiddling with her pristine front lawn. Olivia must now choose between the memories of her past, or the promise of companionship.

A funny story of female friendship spanning generations.


Other formats are available, including eBook, audiobook, print-on-demand, bookstores, cafes, and libraries. Please see below for links to these formats.

Note: Kindle ebook and Audible purchases together form a read aloud function.

eBook: Universal Book Link (UBL), Kindle ebook, Google Books.

Audiobook: Authors Direct, Kobo, Chirpbooks, Bingebooks, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Audiobooks

Print-on-demand: Booktopia (AU), Barnes and Noble (US), Dymocks Online (AU)

Bookstores (signed copies): Better Read Than Dead, Newtown (AU) from Jul-Oct 2022. Galaxy bookstore, Sydney (AU) from Jul 2022.

Events: Sydney Royal Easter Show 2023, Book Fair Australia, Woodstock artisan market, The Book Dragon (UK), Flour Mill Markets (AU).

Schools: Pacific Preparatory (USA).

Cafes: Double Dose Croydon (AU)

Local author boxes (cards only): coming soon (AU).

Libraries: National Library of Australia. Inner west libraries, Sydney (AU)

Self-publishing for beginners

Coaching package for people who are starting out in self-publishing.

Session 1

  • Introduction: The final result, and the main stages of self-publishing (30 mins)
  • Format: Using scrivener to format your manuscript ready for publishing – walk through the templates and show you how to organise your information for easy formatting so you can DIY – (30 mins)

Session 2

  • File formats: Understand the difference between e-book and print and what is best for you – how the files are different for each platform (30 mins)
  • Tax implications in Australia and how to set this up for publishing on Amazon (US companies) (30 mins)

Session 3

  • Publish: Setting up the platforms for upload – Amazon and other platforms, including caveats and bank account details and how to upload (1 hour)

How much do you charge?

For this course, the first half-hour is free, no obligation to continue.

If you think I can help you, the remaining 2.5 hours is $250 (+ GST).

For a free, 30 min, no obligation session: