5 Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

5 Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

Everyone has a book in them. Make your writing dreams come true with these 5 top tips for self-publishing success.

1. Write the Book!

Follow your passion – what do you want to share? Your story, your knowledge, your imagination – whatever it is get started. Are you a plotter or a pantser? – know yourself if you like certainty then plan out your structure – how you will share your story. If you want to just start writing and see what evolves then do it. Create the Big Vision from your heart – what makes it sing then project it to your screen in full technicolour think of this like your movie trailer. Then add the detail – do you like a scene by scene layout to follow or big highlights to work with. Whatever level of planning works for you but don’t get stuck here! Get into writing – set up a time that works best for you – morning/evening. Switch off the TV. Create your writing space. Get into your creative space – clear your head of the blocks first (morning pages, a walk, todo list etc) Write the book you would love to read!

2. Get it Finished

The first draft is just that – it’s you telling the story to yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Try word count for the day/week/month. Or chapters to be written.  Work towards your end goal date and celebrate the achievements along the way. Have an accountability partner/writing group to keep you on track. Appreciate that your writing will need adjustment as you read and review it (the first edit is you reading your story) and then as other trusted people get to connect with your words and read it. Develop your objectivity and be prepared for constructive criticism. Be flexible to help your readers understand your story but hold true to your vision. Remember the movie trailer – connect with your heart and replay this in your mind. You are the director of your story – some cuts and rewrites may be necessary but you are the one who makes the decisions.

3. The Edit

If you are going to publish then a professional edit is a must. There are different levels of editing developmental/structural edit, copy/line edit, and proofreading.  Developmental will help to reshape your story/plot/characters to connect with an audience – it’s the big picture vision edit. Copy and line are to ensure consistency of language, storyline, plot, time, characters, names etc – this is the continuity edit and will also pick up on repetitive words, overuse of adverbs, or clumsy phrasing. Lastly, proofread checks spelling, grammar, and consistency.  It is very difficult to edit your own work – you will read what you meant to write.

4. Cover Design

Always judge a book by its cover!  Publishing means designing a cover that will engage with your audience.  A crime fiction cover looks very different from a romance novel or self- help book.  Your book cover is the first step in marketing your book.  Check out the covers of best- selling books in your genre, designs change but there are often common themes that are in fashion.  Your book title can make a difference as to whether it can sell – play around with some options.  Short titles are easier to remember and fit on a cover. Strap lines can entice a reader and give more hints to the content. The typeface used is just as important as the image – all together they give the reader clues about the book.  The cover doesn’t need to be a full description of what’s inside.  Remember the movie trailer – now you need the movie poster. Never use an image that you find online – commercial licences are required or you can find yourself paying a hefty fine!  Write a killer blurb to entice your reader – it’s a skill so practice describing your book in 150 – 200 words.

5. Bringing your Book to the Market

Self-publishing opens the market to everyone.  You can publish your book as an ebook on Kindle, Apple Books, and more but for most writers, the dream is to hold your paperback in your hand.  Print on demand makes this possible and affordable.  You’ve probably not thought about the book design cues that help you to read your book easily but making sure your book looks good will encourage readers.  Design touches, like running headers, chapter headings, drop caps, indented paras and balanced pages show you care for your reader.  Make sure speech, changes of voice, and italics are clear.  This is your masterpiece so the presentation and clarity are vital. Purchase ISBNs to keep control and ownership of your book, decide on the price, and open up your accounts with your chosen print/distribution company.  We recommend Ingram Spark – upload your files, add the metadata to help your book be found on in the bookstores and you are ready to launch.  Plan a party, decide on your marketing strategy, and give it a go.  Hold your book in your hand – celebrate your achievement.  Well done – you are now a published author.

Want to publish your book or get in touch with further questions?

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Can Emotional Connections Heal the World?

Can Emotional Connections Heal the World?

When Seb Mjacmbrao and I first talked about creating a network as a way to engage people with the concepts and ideas in his book (We Alive), we wondered if emotional connections can heal the world? But then we had no idea of what was about to hit us.  Coronavirus – COVID19 is now a global pandemic affecting everyone across the planet.  So many have lost their lives, health services have struggled to cope and the world has gone into lockdown to try to slow down the rate of infection.

As we are socially distancing from each other, shut inside our homes – our connection with the outside world is cut to interaction through a screen. This has caused many to struggle (me included) with the lack of physical contact with people. It has inspired creativity as people find new ways to stay in touch with family and friends using video chat, playing games and sharing videos of their activities.

At the same time the planet is resting and recuperating.  Pollution is down, the earth is breathing, animals and plants are thriving.

Maybe this book is being launched at the perfect time.  Maybe Seb’s words will connect with you in a way they couldn’t before?

We are getting a small glimpse into Seb’s world – he has been bed bound with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years.  Isolated in his care home.  It has been this isolation and alone space that allowed his mind to review his life experiences and question whether his inner healing could be connected with the outer world.

I have had the privilege to get to know a little more about this wonderful, intelligent and caring man as we worked together to publish his book.  Our connection and trust has built up over many phone calls and email exchanges.  It wasn’t an easy ride – Seb came with his book fixed in his view.  I struggled to grasp what it was about, who it was meant for and how we could help him to publish it.  But as I leaned into my discomfort, challenged my “publisher head”, asked more questions, engaged in more heart-based conversations I got to connect more with Seb’s words, hopes, dreams and vision.  And so here we are today with the book on its way out to the world.  Just as its message is really needed.

Maybe we were waiting to connect. Maybe we are part of the message. Maybe we are just the beginning. Maybe emotional connections can heal the world. The future is yet to unfold and you have a part to play.

You can join in as we engage in conversation.  Open your mind to possibility.  Open your hearts to connection.  I hope you will read Seb’s book and join the We Alive network as it is about more than his book.  It is a calling to explore, heal, learn and share.  It’s about love for ourselves, our fellow travellers on this earth and the universe beyond.  I for one am looking forward to the journey.


Over the coming weeks I will be interviewing some of my favourite authors, thought leaders and inspirational people – Faith Canter, Judith Te Huia, Fotoula Adrimi, Andrea Gardner and many more.  We are going to have conversations on the issues and concepts from Seb’s book – healing ourselves and healing the planet,  love for ourselves and others,  our challenges with inner and outer struggles, kindness and the importance of our connection to our true self, our community and universal consciousness.  The interviews will be shared exclusively with the We Alive network so together we can learn, develop and connect at a deeper level.

Maybe together we can make a difference and help to create to a kinder more connected world.


Please join us for free here

You can buy Seb’s book here

With love and kindness



How Blog Tours can be Your Secret Weapon as an Indie Author

How Blog Tours can be Your Secret Weapon as an Indie Author

Jack Janson and The Storm Caller book cover 3D

I am Andrew Marsh, and have self-published my novel Jack Janson and the Storm Caller with the help of Indie Authors World. As an indie author, I do the marketing and selling and I would like to share the secret weapon that has helped me out, a blog tour. I have just finished a blog tour and have received amazing reviews from the bloggers.

Here’s a quick explanation if you don’t know what a blog tour is, bear with me: An organiser arranges for bloggers to review your book and write a review about them on their blog. In my case, over 14 days, I had 14 different reviews of my book.

After seeing Heather Fitt @LifeBookish mentioned several times on social media where other people were looking for blog tours, I decided to contact her.

After a quick call, I agreed to have Heather arrange my blog tour. She found suitable bloggers and created social media banners for me to promote the blog tour.

Each morning, I would wake up to a new blog post. It can be quite nerve-wracking, yet exciting at the same time to see what a complete stranger thinks of my book. I re-shared the review on my blog, LinkedIn page, and Twitter to keep the exposure and interest up.

I noticed an increase in traffic to my LinkedIn Page which has led to an increase in connections and helped me build my audience. Some of the bloggers have also put their reviews on Amazon.com which has increased my overall ratings and comments

As indie authors, we have to be wise about how we spend our time and money. I can safely say that a blog tour has been worthwhile and consider the investment of £150 to be money well spent. I strongly recommend it to any indie author. This is why I am sharing this and now you know how blog tours can be your secret weapon too.

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Jack Janson and The Storm Caller background image

Have you ever been to the Indie Author's Cafe?

Have you ever been to the Indie Author's Cafe?

If yes, we commend you, however, if you haven’t, not to worry, here’s a quick catch up. It’s a monthly event held at Waterstones Cafe, where we talk about all things books and publishing. However, once you get to know us, you’ll find we love a good blether and discuss a wide range of topics that help you get your book published and on sale.


At our latest event, on stage, we heard from the latest indie author to self-publish, Helen Monaghan, who talked about her refreshing new book, ‘The Magical Mix of Money & Tax’. It was really interesting to hear Helen explain how our beliefs about money are created and how this has an impact on our actions. We then explored ways to feel good about paying tax and had lots of questions from the audience. If you would like to watch the video to hear more from Helen you can do so here or learn more about her book here.

Cover of The Magical Mix of Money and Tax

We asked for feedback during the event and discovered that our audience is interested in training sessions particularly, marketing and sales or social media. So, we will be starting training sessions this year. Make sure you sign up to our mailing list for details. Thank you to everyone for all the feedback we received and looking forward to seeing you at the next Indie Author’s Cafe on the 23rd of February 2020.

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Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St. David’s Day)

Today the people of Wales celebrate their patron saint. We thought we would send greetings to all the authors of Wales by looking at five of their greatest writers.

Dylan Thomas

Born in Swansea, Dylan Thomas was a renowned poet and playwright. He had worldwide recognition during his lifetime. Works such as ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and ‘And death shall have no dominion’ had a such a profound effect on a young Robert Zimmerman that when he came time for him to step on to the world stage, he changed his name to Bob Dylan. Thomas struggled with mental health issues and alcohol, and died aged just 39.

Ken Follett

Ken Follett’s early writing career was as a spy novelist in a similar vein to Len Deighton but lately has become a celebrated author of historical fiction. ‘Pillars of the Earth’ – the story of the building of a cathedral in the middle ages – is one of the best novels of its type that I have ever read.

Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynold was born in Barry, south Wales. He is a respected writer of epic science fiction. He has had numerous science fiction awards nominations for works such as ‘Revelation Space’ and Absolution Gap.

Russell T Davies

Born Stephen Russell Davies, he is one of the top television writers in the world. Series such as ‘Queer as Folk’; ‘Bob & Rose’ and Casanova led to him being given the weighty responsibility of rebooting Doctor Who. As a fan of the original show it was with a little trepidation that I tuned into watch the first episode of the new show. My worries were extended a little as a power cut meant that we didn’t see that episode until the following day, but I my concerns were unfounded. Davies’s love of the character and brilliance as a writer shone through.

Roald Dahl

I wonder how many children were turned into readers as a result of the work of Roald Dahl. Born in Wales of Norwegian descent, Dahl is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, children’s authors of all time. Everyone will have a favourite of his many novels such a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ James and the Giant Peach’ and George’s Marvellous Medicine (a big hit with Calum and Kirsten). His array of fantastic characters and fabulous stories have been a friend to parents all over the world.


To all the writers of Wales I hope these great names inspire you.


Ysgrifennu hapus

(Happy writing)

Some gifts are more than just a gift

The 2018 John Lewis Christmas advert is an emotional tribute to rock legend Elton John. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the way it ends is very poignant. Elton is reflecting on his life and on the first piano he was given as a Christmas present.  It ends with the tagline 'Some gifts are more than just a gift'.
One of our authors Claire Hastie has a similar story. In her short bio in her new book ‘The Guardians of the Athame’ Claire tells the story of how when she was eleven, she asked for a typewriter as her present for Christmas. Her love of writing has stayed with her all the way through her life and now that passion has led her to write and publish her own book.

A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can.

A modern equivalent of Claire’s typewriter would be a computer or tablet, but they can be expensive. There is another way that you can inspire a child to write, first make them a reader. If you are buying for a child this Christmas why not give them a gift that can indeed be more than just a gift. A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can. That boy or girl may not become a writer but if you can make them a reader for life you are giving them a gift that is way more than something that lasts until Boxing Day. It is a pleasure that lasts far beyond the abandoned toys, a passion that will give them somewhere to escape to and a gift that you hope they will pass on to their children. A book is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
If you are looking for a book to give this Christmas then you can check out Claire’s young adult fantasy novel and all our other books on our portfolio page.
Kim and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to engaging with you about books, reading, writing and publishing in 2019.


Do you have a business? Hands up if would like to write a book? 

Ok so I can’t see your hands, but I reckon if you are still reading then you have thought about it. Maybe it’s been a long-held dream that you will do it one day when you have time.  There are lots of reasons to write a book but if you haven’t made it a priority then maybe you don’t know the impact your book could have on your business.

What if your book could help grow your personal brand, build your business, increase your visibility, bring new clients and more income?  What if your book was the one that everyone was recommending?  What would that mean to you?

Here are 7 real examples of ways that books are having a positive impact and building business for the authors.


If you are a coach how do you stand out among other coaches?  Having your own book elevates your status, it gives you an opportunity to share your expertise in your own voice and helps build your platform.  Jen Wilson’s book – Become a Warrior Woman is doing just that for her business. This book offers clients an easy way to start working with Jen.  It was also the catalyst to start her Warrior Woman podcast series opening more doors and opportunities for collaboration, growing her audience and her business.


Books help you to share your expertise with a wider audience.  Alisoun Mackenzie’s book Give to Profit has built her reputation as an expert in growing your business by supporting charities and social causes.  Her passion for doing good in the world is having a huge impact, she has grown her global speaking platform and is the go-to person for business owners who want to have a social impact as well as profit.  She has created a Business of Good conference in Edinburgh (April 2019) drawing speakers and business owners from all around the world.


Your book allows you to speak to your audience in a way that works for them.  Jennifer Gunn’s book – The Dog With Not One F*%k To Give is a humorous stress management book written with military and police personnel in mind. Jennifer has worked with both high-stress groups and knew that talking about your emotions was not an easy thing in these tough environments. Offering a fun way to talk about how many f*%ks you have to give could maybe even help save a life.


Derek Niven (pen name for John McGee) has combined his love of football with his genealogy business to create a popular series of books that tell the family histories of football players and managers.   Pride of the Lions about the Celtic football Lisbon Lions team and Pride of the Jocks about Scotland team managers are proving to be big sellers but these books have also generated new genealogy clients – a double bonus.


Alison Spencer was offering career coaching and CV writing services when she realised she could share her knowledge in a book.  Creating Your Classic Career has given her a low-cost product to sell and give her a new audience to work with.  Parents are buying it for their teenagers so providing workshops and talks to schools was a natural progression.


How do you help more people if your business offers a one to one service?  As a wedding celebrant, Jane Patmore had this dilemma before she wrote Celebrate Your Love.  There are only so many days available to provide her unique services so offering couples ideas and sharing case studies in a book not only raises her profile, it also gives her something to sell at wedding fairs.


Books are also a great escape from our day to day lives.  After many years of half-finished projects, Sinclair Macleod decided that finishing one book to be dedicated in memory of our son Calum was his focus.  The Reluctant Detective became a best seller, he followed this with seven other crime fiction books and grew an audience who love his books.  That success led to our publishing business Indie Authors World helping other writers to publish their books.  Who knew that writing fiction could offer a new business opportunity?


What will you write about?  Will you share your passion to help others?  Can you offer a solution to a problem?  Your expertise and experience can make a difference in the world. People love stories so create your own.

Whatever you write about you need to start writing.  You can’t edit a blank page.  Commit to making an impact with your words.  Start today with small articles and blog posts to develop your own style that suits your audience.  Start and finish your book – the world is waiting.

Set your intention to write and publish your book in 2019.  Surround yourself with people who will encourage, support you and keep you on track.  Imagine adding published author to your profile, now that would be a great achievement for you and your business.

5  Quick Tips To Help You Write A Novel

5 Quick Tips to help you write a novel

As NaNoWriMo is about to start I thought I would share some quick tips to help your creative juices to flow and get that novel written.

1. Use software that is designed for writers rather than a word processor.

Microsoft Word and other word processors such as Open Office are not designed with creative writing in mind. For a novel writer it is much better to use dedicated software. Scrivener (Mac and PC); The Novel Factory (PC only) and Storyist (Mac only) are excellent programs. They allow you to keep your research and your writing in one place, as well as keeping track of your characters and locations. When your novel is complete you can export to Word format to forward to your editor. They are also much more reasonably priced than a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

2. Have a plan.

The plan can be as simple as a one-page synopsis or as complicated as a major project, but you need something as a guideline. I’m more of synopsis-type writer but if you want to produce a detailed plan that shows you every part of the story that is great. No matter what, your writing will take you in unexpected directions and tangents, but with a plan you’ll be able to get back on track.

3. Balance narrative with dialogue

A good novel will always balance narrative and dialogue. Too much narrative or description can distance your readers from the story and the characters. Conversely too much dialogue can mean that the reader no longer has a sense of place nor time. Like most things in life, balance is everything.

4. Who, what, where, when and how

It is a good idea to think about those five questions when you start each chapter. These can give you valuable insights and provide a way to focus on what you’re writing. The answers can be one word or short sentences, keep it brief. Examples of the questions are:
Who will be in the chapter (scene)?
What will they be doing? Or alternatively What happens to them?
Where does the action take place?
When does the action take place in relation to your timeline?
How long is the section? Or How will it affect the story? Or How does it affect the character(s)?

5. Use all five senses when writing descriptive passages

When you are describing a setting or a character think about them in terms of the five senses.
For a setting you should think about:
Sight – colour; shape; size; what items can the character see
Smell – natural or man-made; pleasant or unpleasant
Touch – texture; hot or cold
Hearing – natural or unnatural; loud or soft; pleasing or grating
Taste – is there the taste of something in the air
For characters think about them in these terms:
Sight – height; stature; hair colour; eye colour; tone of skin; signs of ageing, clothing and many more
Smell – perfume or cologne; body odour; ageing;
Touch – skin; clothing; caress or violent;
Hearing – accent; tone; volume
Taste – kissing
Obviously not all five will apply to every description and you don’t need to use them all every time, but it is worth thinking about them, that little bit extra may help your reader to imagine the scene or character much more vivdly.

These are very simple ideas to help your creativity. I hope that it inspires you to chase that goal of completing your novel and if you can do it this November then all the better.


Happy writing