How I self-published my novel, SAM, in 10 “easy” steps…

Step 1: I thought of a story and wrote a first draft. N.B. a ‘short story’ can be anything up to about 40k words; novels tend to range between 50k and 80k words (The Great Gatsby is 50k words); and epics, i.e. The Lord of the Rings, will be upwards of 100k words.

Step 2: I had my first draft professionally critiqued. I paid about NZ$500 for a manuscript assessment of SAM.

Step 3: I wrote a second draft, incorporating the recommended changes. I then paid for another manuscript assessment.

Step 4: When I finished my final draft (FYI, it was my fourth draft), I paid to have it professionally copy-edited. This is the stage when inconsistencies are picked up (e.g. character names changing halfway through the book or seasons changing from one page to the next). I paid about NZ$800 for my 65k-word book to be copy-edited.

Step 5: I read the book again with a fine-tooth comb, from cover to cover.

Step 6: I engaged a professional cover designer and typesetter. The saying “Never judge a book by its cover” may be true, but it’s also a crock of sh*t. You may have written the best work of fiction ever, but if the cover is crappy or looks amateur, nobody will buy it. I paid about NZ$1,600 for print and eBook cover design and typesetting.

Step 7: I ordered my ISBNs. In New Zealand, these can be obtained free of charge through the National Library. Separate ISBNs are required for each version of a book, i.e. one for print and another for eBook. Once the book is published, 2 copies must be sent to the National Library for archiving.

Step 8: I created an account on CreateSpace and uploaded the finished print version. I approved the proof online and my novel appeared straightaway in the CreateSpace e-store and then, the following day, on In a few days’ time, I will be repeating Step 9 for the eBook version. I will use Amazon’s eBook arm, KDP.

Step 9: Publicise the book. I have created a fan page for SAM on Facebook and I am running a series of ads to promote the novel. I also have this website,, on which to post updates.

Step 10: Watch the royalties drip in. So far I have made about NZ$10!

Click here to buy my novel!