The 5 Biggest Questions to Ask Yourself as a Self-Published Author

While the road to self-publishing your ebook is an exciting and fulfilling one, it is also a minefield of difficult decisions to be made. You start asking yourself questions like “Where should I publish my ebook?” and “How much should my ebook cost?” As more and more questions pop up, you end up digging yourself deeper and deeper into a research hole of self-publishing blogs and reference books until it seems you’ll never find your way out.

As a self-published author myself, I know how overwhelming the process can be. I have also learned over time that out of this pile of questions, answering just a few of them will help to give you the direction and purpose you need. Here are 5 of the biggest questions to ask yourself as you begin your self-publishing journey, as well as some tips on how to answer them.

1) How do I want to publish my ebook?

One of the biggest factors to consider as you begin the self-publishing process is whether or not you have completed your book. Publishing a finished product and posting your novel chapter by chapter are two very different paths to take, so figuring out how exactly you want to go about publishing your ebook is one of the first questions you need to answer.

If you already have a completed first draft, you’ll want to spend some time revising and polishing your manuscript—you may even want to look into hiring a professional editor to critique your work. Next will come the time to focus on formatting and cover design. Publishing a finished product requires a lot of front work, but it is also a chance to make considerably more profits than you might by posting your story one installment at a time.

Writing a book can be a lonely and isolating process, so if you want support and feedback from readers as your write, posting your book chapter by chapter may be a better fit for you. This way, you can also get going right away rather than having to spend a ton of time revising and polishing. You need to think long and hard about what exactly you want out of self-publishing your ebook, and move forward from there.

2) What is my niche?

One mistake a lot of beginners make is failing to narrow down their niche before they publish. Knowing your audience is so incredibly important. You need to imagine your ideal reader, then classify your book into the categories you think they would be most interested in reading. Really get specific—your book may be fantasy, but is it high fantasy or low fantasy? Urban fantasy or epic fantasy?

The more you can narrow things down, the better chance you will have of attracting your ideal reader. You may be tempted to try to appeal to the broadest audience possible, but choosing a specific niche is actually your best shot at attracting an engaged group of readers who will become die-hard fans.

3) How much money (if any) am I willing to spend?

Plenty of would-be self-published authors get scared off by how expensive the process can be. And it can get pretty costly, depending on the route you choose to go. If you’ve decided to wait until you finish your book to publish, you need to be willing to drop some cash on book formatting and cover design. You could try to handle these things yourself, but that will make it pretty difficult to stand out in a crowd full of ebooks that look beautiful and professional on the inside and out.

If you don’t have that kind of cash on hand, don’t worry! There are tons of places online where you can publish your novel online for free. These tend to be sites where you post your chapters as you write them (though there’s nothing to stop you from writing a few chapters ahead—this will actually give you a chance to read things over a few times and produce more polished work for your readers).

We’ll be discussing more about different online platforms where you can publish your ebook in the next section.

4) Where should I publish my ebook?

Once you’ve determined how you want to self-publish, what your niche is, and how much you are willing to spend, you are ready to start thinking about where you want to publish your ebook. There’s no shortage of fiction platforms out there, so you are sure to find one that perfectly suits your needs.

If you’ve chosen to publish a finished book, sites like Amazon KDP and Smashwords will be good ones for you to look into. Conversely, Wattpad, Fictionate.Me, and Royal Road are more popular amongst authors who release their stories one chapter at a time. As far as niche, I recommend you look into which genres are most popular on each site. Nonfiction, romance, and suspense do well on KDP, while Fictionate.Me caters more to fans of speculative genres like science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

There isn’t a fee to publish on any of these sites, but places like Amazon will take a decent cut of your royalties, while Fictionate.Me authors receive 100% of their books’ profits. Read on to learn more about making money as a self-published author and how to choose the right price for your ebook.

5) How much should my ebook cost?

Now that you’ve chosen your ideal fiction platform, it’s finally time to start the actual publication process. Depending on which site you’re using, you will be prompted at some point to set a price for your ebook. This will be a requirement for sites like Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and Fictionate.Me.

There’s not really a right or wrong answer here. One of the best things you can do is look at books similar to yours on your chosen platform and see how those authors are pricing their books. It’s likely that you’ll soon start to see a pattern, and can price your book accordingly.

But if you think your book is worth more than the average price you see, there’s nothing to stop you from charging more.

Conversely, you can also release your book for free on a site like Wattpad as a way to get feedback and support as you write. Fictionate.Me gives you the option to share a certain number of chapters for free, then readers have to pay a flat fee for access to the others. You can even post your entire book for free if you like.

Self-publishing an ebook can seem like an endless maze of unanswered questions at times. But if you focus on just these 5, you’ll be surprised how many other pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.

Author’s Bio:- Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jillian has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

She has done freelance writing as well for sites like and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and Jillian has also self-published two novels on Amazon (

Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: