How to Make Money by Self-Publishing Fiction in 2021

The publishing world has seen a huge amount of change in the last 5 years. Digital giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple have made access to books easier than ever. 

Self-publishers everywhere are breaking away from the old traditional publishing attitudes by creating viable, lucrative and sustainable businesses selling books to readers. 

With all the ways to make money online, self publishing is definitely one of the top choices. Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to earn money from home. With the spread of COVID-19 we have seen a lot of changes in employment, the digital world, and our social world as well. Many people are using this time to build something valuable and financially secure. 

Self publishing is a way to ensure your income is never interrupted by world pandemics and government shutdowns because at the end of the day, everyone still wants to read. 

 In fact the American Book Association saw a 250% spike in sales on its online bookselling site. And of course, Amazon still leads the pack in online book sales during the pandemic. 

You have to ask yourself, where do you want to be on the other side of this “new normal” we are building? 

Self-publishing is a way for writers and non-writers to take their future and their income into their own hands and build a business that makes a steady income. Yet, stepping into this world is overwhelming and confusing. Putting a book up on Amazon does not guarantee you success and trying to figure out the right kind of formula to gain success is a complex, albeit interesting, journey. 

Listed below you will find proven, actionable steps that will start you on your path to success and help you make your first $1,000 in no time at all. 

Steps to Making Your First $1,000

    1. Adjust your mindset
    2. Pick a genre
    3. Pick a ghostwriter
    4. Edit and format your book
    5. Design a cover
    6. Create a book description or “blurb”
    7. Record an audiobook
    8. Promote your book and brand
    9. Launch your book
    10. Scale your business 

STEP 1: Mindset - How to Prevent Setbacks before You Begin

The secret to being successful in self-publishing is to invest in your business. This doesn’t always mean shelling out thousands of dollars. Investing your time and passion is just as important as the money you put into your business. 

Running a lucrative self-publishing business is exactly that - a business. It is a common misconception that self-publishing books is more of a hobby than a career, and it is imperative that you do not fall into that mindset trap. 

As a business venture, it is important to remember that self-publishing is just like any other business;, you will have to invest in yourself and your products. But we can guarantee that the risk is well worth it. 

STEP 2: Pick a Genre You Can Sell

There are hundreds of genres to choose from out there, and each genre has readers with different wants and needs. 

The following are three examples of some bestselling fiction genres and what readers expect in each genre: 

    1. Romance- the highest selling genre for self-publishers. Romance readers expect a happily ever after ending with two lovers who overcome adversity to be together.
    2. Science Fiction- it’s commonly referred to as the “genre of ideas” and is complex and detailed.
    3. Fantasy/Paranormal- One of the most important parts of writing fantasy is the world-building and establishing rules of that world from the beginning. 

Know Your Genre Inside and Out

    • Read books from your genre
    • Follow authors that write in your same genre
    • Look at and study reviews from your genre to see what readers want and like 

Make sure you have an interest in the genre you choose. You will be reading lots of that genre in the steps to come, so you need to like it. Once you have your genre picked out, you are ready to move on to the next step. 

STEP 3: Pick a Ghostwriter

If you have the confidence and experience to write your own book, we say go for it! If you are unable to write your own book, that’s totally fine. We at HotGhostWriter are here to help. 

It is important to note that many successful self-publishers have made 6 figures without ever writing a single book. How do they achieve this miracle? They outsource their writing to ghostwriters. Ghostwriting is where a ghostwriter writes your fiction manuscript for you, either by creating the outline themselves based on your premise and ideas or by using an outline you have already created. When they are done writing, they hand over the manuscript to you for a flat fee, signing away all future rights to the book. 

 Benefits of Hiring a Ghostwriting Agency

    • More time for you to promote and take care of the backend of your business
    • Writers are vetted and interviewed for you, so you know you have the highest quality
    • It’s a one-stop shop where you can get all your editing, formatting, designing and narration needs 

    Ghostwriters have been used for decades to help publishers write books quickly, so they can scale their business and get more sales. They also help you keep your readers happy and coming back for more. With years of experience in ghostwriting, HotGhostWriter can help you create a high-quality book that will have your readers running back for more. 

    STEP 4: Edit and Format Your Book

    You need to give your readers a product that is high quality and deliverable in multiple formats. Many readers will stop buying books from a publisher if there are spelling or grammar mistakes because it looks unprofessional and messy. 


    No matter how many times you read your book, there will always be mistakes you and your ghostwriter might overlook. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on your manuscript will make sure everything is polished and ready for your readers. You can hire a professional editing service like HGW and/or utilize beta readers and editors you trust to look over your manuscript.

    Things An Editor Looks For:

      • Grammatical errors 
      • Syntax errors
      • Inconsistencies in plot
      • Pacing
      • Character development
      • Sensory description
      • Use of dialogue
      • Language 
      • Tone
      • Sensitive issues in a manuscript, such as how to handle race, gender, trigger scenes, or sexual orientation in a way that does not offend your readers.

      It is of the utmost importance that you have a professional and perfect finished product if you want to achieve consistent high sales. 


      Format your book for .epub and print formats to create the most reader-friendly experience you can. Don’t forget vellum formatting, either. Those small details can make the difference between a sale and a pass.  

      You don’t want to get to the day of the launch and realize the formatting is completely off.  

      An expert formatter can adjust and tweak those small details for you, ensuring a final product that is both polished and professional. 

      STEP 5: Design a Cover

      The cover of your book is the first impression your readers get about your book. Taking the time and spending the money to make a captivating and professional-looking cover will increase your sales exponentially. It will also be the image on a lot of your digital and print promotional items so you really want to create the best cover possible. Hiring a professional designer is an investment that you shouldn’t skimp on. At HotGhostWriter, we employ expert designers who use industry techniques to not only capture your potential reader’s attention but set the tone for your book and your brand.  

      The 5 Don’ts of Cover Design

        1. Don’t use free fonts that look cheap and common
        2. Don’t overcrowd the cover by trying to fit in too much
        3. Don’t use fancy fonts that are hard to read, especially for the author’s name
        4. Don’t use too many different fonts - stick to one or two
        5. Don’t forget to use colors and image that elicit an emotional response in your reader

      Remember to research the covers in your genre. You want your cover to stand out from the rest, but you also want to make sure it sets the right tone for your book. Your reader should know what emotions your book will give them with just a single glance at the cover. 

      STEP 6: Create a Book Description or “Blurb”

      Book descriptions are more than just summaries of your book. They are one of your biggest selling features. 

      Where Do You Find a Book Description?

        • Back of the book
        • Front inside flap
        • Selling description on digital selling platforms
        • Digital and print promotional materials 

      The vast majority of readers use the book description in their final decision on whether to read the book or not. Make sure you have a book description that will not only engage and hook your potential readers, but also keep you at the top of your readers’ search results. 

      STEP 7: Record an Audiobook

      Audiobook narration is a great way to expand your target market. There is a large number of book lovers who are audiobook listeners.  

      Who Uses Audiobooks?

        • Commuters driving to work or school
        • Blind readers who have a limited number of books in Braille
        • Dyslexic readers or others who struggle with the written word
        • Families on long road trips
        • Parents looking to entertain small children without using screens
        • Teachers as a learning tool
        • Adults use audiobooks in place of music while they do chores, run errands, and complete tasks in their day to day lives 

      Creating an audiobook is not as hard as it sounds and many self-publishers are offering them to their reader base. HotGhostWriter has made it easy for self-publishers to step into audiobook narrating industry by offering top-notch narrators with the same level of skill and professionalism that our writers are famous for.  

      STEP 8: Promote

      Grabbing readers and getting them pumped to read your book before you publish it is a sure-fire way to make sales right out of the gate. You will want to utilize social media and start collecting emails from potential readers so you can send them updates in a newsletter. 

      Email Promotion

        • Create a freebie like a prequel in exchange for email addresses of interested readers
        • Send out a newsletter with information on your book, your genre, and other authors in your genre
        • Be consistent with your newsletters and don’t spam your reader’s inboxes.
        • Always give value to your readers 

        Social Media Promotion

          • Create author pages on different social media sites
          • Post regularly to increase engagement on your pages
          • Run contests or games for your readers
          • Include pictures of your cover with excerpts or create a trailer for your book 
          • Join groups and network with readers and authors in your genre


            • Join cross-promotional groups on Facebook or sites like StoryOrigin
            • Promote other authors in your newsletter in exchange for promotion in theirs
            • Find readers that will accept a free copy of your book for an honest review. These are sometimes called advanced reader copies or ARCs. 

            Paid Promotion

              • Buy ad space on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon
              • Sign up to promote your book on discounted book sites to increase visibility on your brand 

              There are a lot more ways to promote your book, but these are the easiest steps to get you started and grow your market quickly. Remember, your readers will not come to you, you have to go to them. 

              STEP 9: Launch Your Book

              It’s time to publish your book. Having a solid launching plan will help keep you focused and optimize your sales.  

              Amazon Tips

              • When you publish your book on Amazon you have two options: 
                1. Kindle Direct Publishing - you can offer your book as an ebook, paperback and/or hardback and you can set your own price
                2. Kindle Select Publishing - your book is offered for free to Kindle Unlimited users and you can only sell your book on Amazon for 90 days. You have the option to renew the contract for another 90 days exclusive with Amazon, but you don’t have to. During this time, Amazon will feature your book and offer other incentives for you to stay with them.  
              • When you upload your book to Amazon, you have to assign keywords and categories to your book. It is very important that you get these right so your book is being put in front of the right readers. It will also help you come up on searches, helping you with organic traffic to your book 


                • Free is not always best - offering your book for $.99 during your first few days instead of for free will help you keep your rankings when you increase the price at a later date.
                • Set realistic goals - create a plan by calculating how much you want to make monthly, quarterly and yearly, then figure out how many sales you need to make to reach that goal. Setting income goals will help keep you focused.  

              Launching your book is a chance for you to really connect to your readers. Take this opportunity to find out what your readers like and what they would like to see in the future. Remember to also have fun with it! You have worked hard to get to this step and deserve to enjoy this accomplishment. 

              STEP 10: Scale Your Business

              Self-Publishing is all about quality as well as quantity. The more high-quality books you have for sale, the faster you are going to hit your target sales each month. 

               It’s All About The Math

                • 5 books X $6.99 each X 41 copies of each book - .3% royalties = $1,003.06
                • 10 books X $6.99 each X 21 copies of each book - .3% royalties = $1,027.53
                • 20 books X $6.99 each X 11 copies of each book- .3% royalties = $1,076.46  

              It’s Time to Make Your First $1,000

              Self-publishing is a business you can start from the comfort of your own home. With virtually no overhead costs, you have more money to invest in the products you sell.  

              Being able to outsource your writing and still create high quality books for your readers is how you can create a lucrative and successful business.  

              It takes time. It takes work. And it takes investment. But the payoff is more than you can ever imagine. Take the next step and contact HotGhostWriter for all your book needs. Let’s begin a partnership that will take your publishing business to the next level. 




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