#1 Product I Would Buy To Help Me Self Publish My Books

Okay, first, I’m going to put out several things an author of self published fiction – or any author, actually – would consider figuring into a writing/publishing budget.

  1. Editing services
  2. Book cover design
  3. Book layout services or professionally done layout templates
  4. Ebook conversion services – if you’re doing your stories as such, and you should.
  5. Book trailer creation
  6. Promo/marketing services
  7. A professionally done author page/blog/website

Each is important to your finished novel. They all work together to make your novel the very best it can be. But – what if your budget is practically nonexistent, like mine?

If it’s possible to purchase just one, how do you choose?

Let’s consider each one:


Poor editing will likely get you reviews from people more disturbed by your typos, misspellings, grammar, and sentence structure. Which could cause them to forget how great your story actually is. And you do want them reviewing your great story, right?

Book Cover Design

An ugly cover might see your book remaining on the virtual shelves forever with only a handful of sales.

Sure some books sell well with an ugly cover. Non-fiction particularly. The covers of Aaron Shepard’s series of how-to writing/publishing books are ugly. Butt ugly. Pink with bold black lettering. BUT – I have at least three of those books, print and ebook, because I know Aaron’s work, and I will put out for almost anything he writes about.

However, since I’m not well known . . . I really need a cover that will help sell the story.

So do you.

Now, if you’re artistic enough, or know someone who is, you can get a cover done for less. Or free. I am not artistic as far as drawing with paper and crayons go, but I can get a pretty decent one using stock photos, and free fonts. A bit of practice is in order, but it can be done to good effect.

Interior Design

Now, the interior of your book is as important as a well edited copy and a good cover. Lousy interior design will also get you negative reviews from readers. Almost as likely as a poorly edited copy. Well, I know it will. I’ve seen those reviews – for print books as well as for ebooks.

A poorly done interior for an ebook might even adversely affect how ebook devices render your copy. Sure, the reader can play around with settings trying to get a better result, but why make them bother?

And, once more, you’re giving them another reason to forget to say how much they LOVED your great story!

Ebook Conversion Services

Ebook conversion mystifies many an author. There’s a learning curve to almost every method of doing it. Unless you give someone else that headache.

Outsourcing, though, can be expensive. There are some services out there that do a decent job for around $50. I’ve used one such site, and I was happy with the results. Word2Kindle.com I think it was. And, of course, you can try finding someone on Fiverr or Elance, or a similar site.

But, there are free ways to do it that don’t make your head explode, or make ebook devices cringe.

Using Draft2Digital.com is one free way. Unlike Smashwords.com, D2D let’s you create your book in both .mobi and .epub and you can use the files anywhere–you just can’t use them with their ISBN in it.

Not a big deal on Amazon. And most places offer an ISBN for free. A few charge up to $125 dollars for one. You can get your own number for that much at Bowker.com. I’ve decided to save the cost of those numbers and just go with the free ones.

You can also get software to help you DIY, some paid, some free. All with a bit of a learning curve. Calibre, Scrivener, Jutoh are just a few of them.

Book Trailer Creation

A book trailer isn’t necessarily a must, but it is strongly recommended. I haven’t one— Oh, no, wait, I do, but I’m not happy with it. Uggy!

Again, you can find services costing from $15 up to a couple hundred or more.

Here as well, with some practice, you can do it yourself with software you probably already own. Like PowerPoint. I’m taking some course in learning how to use this program that’s been sitting on my PC and laptop for years, and have never opened it until this week.

I’ll be converting this post into a video soon, and posting it to YouTube. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

Promo & Marketing

Finally, there’s the business end of it all. The promoting and marketing of your precious baby.

Discovering what media kits are and what to do with them, social media promo and marketing, searching for sites, both free and paid, on which to post your book, such as Goodreads, and a host of other methods, both free and paid.

You can pay someone to do all this headache work for you if you have the budget for it. Chances are you don’t.

Yet there are many services that offer low cost promotion campaigns, like Fiverr and other “better” services that range right up into the thousands, like BookBaby.

If your head doesn’t explode over any of this, why, then, have at it and save yourself a bundle! My head explodes . . .!!!

Author Website/Blog

Okay, last, but not least, there is your author presence on the web. Which you should already have set up. Here, too, you can find someone to do it for you, and pay nothing to thousands of dollars for that.

I do my own, because I have no budget for that, plus I want control over it. My platform of choice nowadays is WordPress.

If you elect to pay to have it done, make sure you can do the updates yourself. You don’t want your posts going up according to someone else’s schedule, nor do you want to have to keep paying to have them posted for you.

Make sure, too, that you are satisfied with the design itself. I’ve seen some authors sign up for work and the site is more than butt ugly. I can’t believe this web site developer/designer believes those sites are awesome. Aaron Shepard’s book covers are prettier!

Yes, I do my own web sites, author and otherwise. I use WordPress, and after trying out a number of themes both free and paid for, I finally elected to go with GeneratePress, which allows for many different layouts, and offered a bunch of other features I wanted. I have a few plugins I use, and there are probably others I could or should be using. I’ll get to them someday . . . 🙂

And The Product I Decided Was
The #1 Thing I Needed Most Ii-i-i-s-s-s-s-s-s-s:


Having spent money on almost all of the first six aspects, the most important product I bought to help me get a good looking novel, are my professionally done book layout templates from the people at BookDesignTemplates.com. They are a bit pricey, yet, not out of this world so, and definitely well worth it.

And if you hit upon a sale, then the deal is so much sweeter!

I did get mine on sale. One of their newest designs, Fling for romances; which can be modified by removing the swirly heart image from the header. With that gone, you can use the template for any other style or type of book you want. I will be using the modified template for my kids’ and YA novels.

The cost for a license for one book is $59.
A license to use the template for multiple novels of YOUR making is $119.
A license to use the template for books for clients is $249.

I chose the second option. I don’t expect to be laying out book interiors for clients any time soon. Oh, and if you sign up for their newsletter, they’ll send you an offer for 10% off your order, good forever.

These templates are fully formatted not only to size, but also to margins, chapter number placement, and chapter title placement, and a table of contents. Which you may or may not want to include in a novel. If you use chapter titles, you might want to use the TOC feature in your print book, but it isn’t necessarily necessary.

It’s a must in ebooks.

Fonts are included – which are free for commercial use, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues. Same with any images that are included.

An author page is included at the end with the spot for the author image nicely centered – where it will stay and not climb all over your page!

You get templates for all the eight industry standard book sizes, plus you get them for Word which works with 2003 and up, Adobe InDesign, and Apple Pages.

I hope you found something of worth to take away here. Best of luck to you in your publishing endeavors!

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