How To Write Your First Novel: Self-Publish

Part 3 in the 3-Part Series

Writer typing a novel

So everyone has a novel waiting to be written -- how can you help it see the light of day? In the past, that was a formidable task. Even if you wrote your great masterpiece, you couldn’t get it published. That is no longer true. Because of Print-on-Demand publishing, you can publish your novel at no or little cost.

I could tell you that your next step is to find a publisher for your first novel and later, a literary agent. If your uncle does not own a publishing house or is not a literary agent, forget it. (The writer's rule is to never pay a literary agent anything other than a percentage of your royalties. Some agents make their living by charging extra for services.)

If you self-publish your first novel and win a prize too, you may find a publisher or two knocking on your door. If you then need a literary agent to promote your writing career, he or she will be more susceptible to taking you on if you can say, "My first novel won the Humdinger Award for first novelist."

I don't think there is a Humdinger Award. That was just an example. Do you take Writer's Digest Magazine?

The first step was finding your story, the second was writing the story. Here is how to self-publish your novel:

  1. Go to a print-on-demand publishing site such as and follow their guidelines. They will not only publish your book, but also sell it for you too.
  2. Decide on the format. You may decide that you would like to use a 6 x 9 page format, etc. You can do this from the start or after you have written the novel. Questions at are answered by email or a chat session. What could be easier?
  3. You will need a front and back cover for your book. There are some formats on the Internet that you can use. They are not all free. But has cover formats that you can use.
  4. Printing cost can affect your profits. Color, other than your cover, is expensive so if you have an illustrated children’s story, keep this in mind. At you will be able to set the price of your novel which will determine your profits as you sell your first great work.
  5. Did you know that you can self-publish your book or novel right from your computer? If you have a website, you can upload your masterpiece to your server as a .pdf file and give access to the book using a PayPal link. To see an example, go to my site and, just for fun, download the Defect Table to see what I am talking about. Then note that there is a book that can be downloaded if you pay PayPal first. If you downloaded the novelette that I created just to show you how writing software works, you know what I'm talking about. If I flesh that novelette out, I could later charge for the download.

Note that although I've used as an example of a print-on-demand publisher, there are many organizations and printers that can help you get started. Some are too expensive, charging for every little service and gobbling up your royalties leaving you with peanuts. LET the BUYER BEWARE!

Well, I think the Hack Writer has exhausted himself on this topic. Congratulations on your first book!


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I'd have to say that this piece has earned the Humdinger Award for helping all of us wannabe novelists on our way to print. Thanks!

By Elizabeth Grace