12 Skills I Learned from Self-Publishing

I started self-publishing in March of 2014, with e-books ranging from children joke books to non-fiction how-to guides to adult fiction. My first few books I wrote myself, but after a few weeks I began to outsource the writing process. Eventually, I outsourced the cover design as well.

Over time, I became better at publishing and am at the point where it’s 80% automated.

Here is a video of me running my mouth about the skills I learned from self-publishing. Don’t have 5 minutes? Scroll below to see the cliffs.

  • Writing Not necessarily writing as a skill in itself, but more-so writing for a specific audience and becoming faster at typing.
  • Formatting I learned a bit of how to format eBooks using HTML, as well as the different software used to format them.
  • Niche/Market Research When writing/outsourcing non-fiction, you want to be able to make a great ROI. That means hitting the right genres and niches. Of course, I did it a different way, by using the shotgun approach. Instead of spending hours checking and rechecking keywords, I paid for 30 eBooks in 30 different niches and saw which ones sold and which ones didn’t. Luckily, the ones that sold did boatloads better than the ones that didn’t so I made my money back. Risky, but worth it.
  • Outsourcing Ones of the biggest things I learned was how to find and  manage freelancers. I started out writing my own books, then used those earnings to pay writers.
  • WordPress After setting up individual websites for pen names, it starts to become like clockwork. I feel confident enough in myself that I would have no problem setting up a WordPress blog or landing page for someone else, as well as teach them how to use WordPress to add posts or change things without breaking their theme.
  • E-Mail Marketing One of the best ways to ensure new releases do well is by building a mailing list and offering incentives to join. I figured out ways to build mailing lists through books, as well as personal and other websites. I also learned the best time to e-mail my lists.
  • Excel We have to keep track of sales one way or another. I have enough knowledge to set up spreadsheets that tracks daily sales as well as predicts future sales based on monthly growth rate.
  • Graphic Design When I first started I designed my own covers. The difference between my first 5 book covers and last 5 I designed shows a massive difference in skill as well as design theory.
  • Copywriting It’s definitely not long form copy, but you have to be able to write a good enough description of your books to make them sell.