I’ve been seeing this statement more and more lately, and yes, while the costs add up and it’s easier to get your name out there with a traditional/small publisher; self publishing can be done within a small budget. Trust me cause I did it!
Find an editor on Facebook or UpWork (formerly Elance)
Talk to our author friends about who they used. A lot of first time publishers can’t afford an established editor and editors know this so they try to keep their prices low. I went through Upwork and was lucky enough to find someone for cheap. Still not feeling spending $100-150? Hunt down those English major friends from college!
Learn how to format your own work
I’m not going to lie, this was HARD. There are several formats out there and it seemed like each platform needed it’s own format. It took a lot of reading, a lot of crying, a lot of cussing but I finally got it.
Another thing that I learned to do on my own (eventually). Before I did this though, I purchased pre-made book overs from goonwrite.com. They are inexpensive and beautifully and the owner is willing to work with you on design elements.
Join a photo club
Not sure if that is the right word, but check out shutterstock, dollar photo club,. etc. These are inexpensive alternatives to purchasing photos to use for teasers, bookmarks, covers, just about anything. Still not sure about creating your own covers/promo material? Hunt down that graphic artist/artsy friend from high school or ask other authors what they are using.
A lot of new authors worry about things such as business cards, rack cards and brochures. And they should! Once your book is published you’ll want to have something to give out so people don’t forget about you. Using one of the photo clubs listed find a graphic you like, hire someone for $5 on Upwork or by searching facebook (or talking to authors) you can probably find someone to create a logo (aka brand) for you for cheap. Once that’s done, go to handy dandy Vistaprint and go crazy! Check out GroupOn occasionally as they sometimes run a Vistaprint deal (recent one I used was $27 for $70 worth for stuff — Score!).
Join Author Groups
Yep back to good ol’ Facebook. Join pages where authors are helping other authors, promotion groups, reader groups, beta groups, any and every (well… not EVERY) group you can find that you believe will help you. Beware any group that has low membership/inactive members.
While still on that note, also be careful about how many groups you sign up to. You don’t want to open Facebook one day and see nothing but ‘buy my book’ posts.
Ask for help
This is probably one of the hardest things to do, but ask your friends and family to talk about your book with their friends and co-workers. See if a blog will post your book for free (most will), create a Facebook author page and get a following by posting your work and silly/fun stuff. Once royalties start coming in then contact a promotion company and see what you can set up. Some companies will do a blitz for as little as $25.
Well, there are a few of my ideas on how to publish on the cheap side!