5 Tips to Self-Publish Your First Book

These are tough times. And if you’re feeling scared, confused, alone, know that you are not alone. Not really. We are in this together, even when apart.

At B&N Press, our team is practicing social distancing along with the rest of the country and the world. We are washing our hands frequently. Not touching our faces (who knew we touched our faces this much!). And, we are following CDC guidelines to help stop the spread, stay safe and feel healthy.

But all that means we are stuck at home, too. And with all this time at home, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut or feel a little confined.

One of the best ways to let off steam, to find catharsis, to mix it up, is to write.

We all have a book inside us that is waiting to come out. And we all have a story to share. We all have imaginations that allow us to escape.

If you are looking for a new adventure, look no further than your own creative mind. And, now with more time at home, you too can write that book you always wanted.

But… how?

Well, straight from the B&N Press Think Tank, we have 5 Tips to Self-Publish Your First Book.

1.What Should You Write?

Ideally, you should write whatever your heart desires! Whether it’s a collection of short stories, a book of poetry, or the next Great American Novel, you should always write what’s in your heart. And, if you are looking to write a book for the first time, you should absolutely follow this Golden Rule.

Holding in what you feel inside is like holding in your breath. At a certain point, you just need to let it out. Maybe you’re afraid to say the words out loud. Maybe you don’t even know what the words are yet. But once you put pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, you may surprise yourself at what’s released.

By writing the book you always wanted to write, not only will you find a new creative outlet, but you might even feel a little freer, a little lighter, and a little more yourself again.

2. What Should You Do When the Book is Done?

After you’ve finished writing, the next part is tough. There are no mincing words about it. Ask anyone who’s already published, and they will say that the part after you’ve finished the first draft can be torture. We’re talking about… editing.

So how do you edit your finished book? You first take a break. Take a walk, take a day, take a weekend or a week, just give yourself some space. You’ve been cooped up with this book in your home for however long and you. just. need. a moment. Your book will thank you, too. Because by allowing it to settle, you will be able to look at it again with fresh eyes and an open mind.

When you come back to your book, you will also need to try to separate the way you feel about your writing with what is necessary to tell your story. This can be painful because it means being ruthless. Cut what doesn’t need to be there. Then cut more of what doesn’t need to be there. Take out overly flowery language and strip all those adverb-heavy dialog tags.

BUT NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY. Keep everything you cut in a separate document, so you have the chance to return to your ideas in the future, just in case.

And remember to be patient. Editing will take a few rounds. And even once you’re satisfied with your final draft, send it to a friend or family member to get their perspective. If you have a bit of money to spend, you can also use a trusted editing service like Reedsy for a more professional review.

3. What Should You Do When the Book is edited?

After it’s been poked and prodded during the editing process the next part will also take patience and inner strength. Because the next part involves formatting your book. And, if you want to publish your book in different mediums, such as digital and print, this will involve different formats for each.

Good news! You can format your book on your own. It’s not easy, but at B&N Press we offer guides to do this depending on your book type. All are found when you Build-Your-Book with B&N Press at the “Interior Upload” stage.

For eBooks this will include choosing between formatting your book in doc/docx, txt, html, and epub.

For print this will first include choosing a print color, cover format, cover finish, and paper color. See our guides below for more information before you get started.

If you don’t want to format your book on your own and have some money saved up, there are professional services you can use such as 99designs, which offer professionals to format your book for you.

4. What Should You Do When the Book is Formatted?

The next step is to design your cover. Again, this is something you can do on your own. There are free services online you can use to design book covers with free images and templates. And there are also services like 99designs that help design your book cover at a reasonable cost.

What should your cover look like, though? While the look and feel of your book should reflect you, it’s also worth making sure your design is in line with other books in your genre. Browse through lists of books that are like your genre to see what’s trending and what’s popular. Maybe that’s a good way to see what you don’t like and what’s overly used. Really, it’s just a way to jog your creativity. And, if you still have questions, we offer comprehensive instructions to help get you started.

And, keep in mind that reader’s really do judge a book by its cover. If you are looking to sell your book, it is important that your book looks professional inside and out. If you are looking to share your book with only family and friends, then maybe save a little money and try creating the cover on your own. But really, the choice is up to you!

5. What Should You Do When the Book is Ready to Publish?

First, decide if you want to self-publish your book. Maybe the book you wrote is only for you. A feather in your cap that you did what you always set out to do!

Maybe you want to give your book to family and friends, another wonderful way to share your accomplishment.

With both of these options, B&N Press offers the ability to create Personal Print Books that aren’t available for sale. These stunning editions, available in Paperback and Hardcover, are available to order straight to any door.

But, just maybe, you want to share your book with the world. And that’s where B&N Press is here to help.

By choosing to self-publish and sell with B&N Press, you will not just make more money, but also have the advantage of publishing with the nation’s largest book retailer. We make it easy to upload your book, order personal print copies, and sell to our millions of loyal readers.

But, whether you decide to self-publish in digital or print, to sell or keep it personal, we are there every step of the way with insightful tips, guided tutorials, and trusted 3rd party partnerships.


And, one more thing! If you do self-publish your print book between now and April 10th you can save 10% on personal print copy orders! So save big and share big with this limited time deal!


Writing a book can seem daunting. And it’s certainly not easy. But we want to help – whether it’s motivating you to just start the first chapter or helping you see your final book on your own bookshelf. B&N Press is here to make your dream to publish your first book a reality.

So, stay calm and write on!

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