A to Z secrets of Self-Publishing:
ALL BY YOURSELF
For almost five years now, I've been actively self-publishing. You can too, and I'm going to help you figure out the secrets of self-publishing. Unlike a lot of my peers though, I'm not going to charge for my knowledge, I'm going to share it for free. AND I'm going to give you the no-holds-barred, bullshit-free truths of self publishing.
First up, I'll tell you that you don't need anyone else. Self-publishing is just what it says it is: publishing yourself, instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
Before Kindle, self-publishing was limited to vanity publishing, which really was nothing more than self-printing. Having a print copy of your work doesn't really amount to much, because you need to find a way to sell it to customers. Kindle Direct Publishing is completely different thought. Instead of filling boxes in your garage with unsold copies of your work, you actually place your work on a digital marketplace where customers can, in theory, see it without any further work from you. That is, it's available to everyone, rather than just folks that come to your yard sale.
KDP isn't the only marketplace for self-publishers. There's Nook, Kobo, iTunes. Smashwords, and even Google Play (assuming you can figure out their interface). But I'll get into them more later.
What's really important to remember about self publishing is that it truly is DIY. If you have a computer and can put your words in electronic format for uploading, then you also have the means to make covers, to edit, spellcheck and even proofread your own work. It may indeed be true that you might lack the talent to do these things, and that's okay. But you should at least try.
What irritates me the most about the modern self-publishing landscape is all the deceitful hucksters out there insisting that if you don't have a "professional" cover, or a "professional" editor, etc. etc. you won't sell anything. I say bullshit. You don't need professional services, they are just ways to improve your odds of making sales.
Think of it in car terms. When you buy a car, it doesn't need air conditioning. Or a sunroof. Or Power seats, power mirrors, GPS, etc. etc. Those are options. A five speed manual transmission with hand crank windows and manual door locks will get you to work. A/C will just get you there more comfortably.
Self-publishing is the same. If you just can't make a cover to save your life, that doesn't mean you won't make any sales. It's an indicator you won't make very many, but there's still that element of dumb luck involved.
Here's where I'll digress for a moment. A lot of people confuse luck with karma. You ca't change luck. By definition, it's random. And no matter how much money you throw at book you've self-published, it still just might not sell, and not because it's bad. On the other hand, complete crap (whether it's published by traditional publishers or you) can sell many, many units if you're lucky enough for the right people to see it, share it, talk about it, etc.
The most important thing about true DIY self-publishing, is that you are willing to work. And no, it's not a "business", as so many other hucksters will proclaim. It's not a business until you actually are selling. Until then, it's a dream, and you have to work hard and cross your fingers that dream comes true. But the good news is that it can.
Not everyone wins the lottery who buys a ticket. Self-publishing has better odds than the lottery, in that you can sell some of your books no matter how bad the cover, the editing, or the spelling. If you want to improve your odds by putting a second mortgage on your home to pay experts who themselves aren't writing, go right ahead, but please, please, please remember that all the money in the world may not be enough to sell your work to readers.
It's a new day in publishing, and you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. It costs nothing but time to publish in our modern, digital world.