clock - estimated reading time  Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Self-publishing is the process of publishing any form of written content without using a traditional publisher or literary agent. This written content can be in the form of a book, magazine, zine, journal, and more.

Historically in self-publishing, the author takes on all responsibilities for the editing, design, printing, and distribution of their book. The author must either do the work all by themselves, or hire industry professionals (e.g. self-publishing companies or freelance workers) to do it for them.

Green Hill can help authors ‘fill the gaps’ by providing a a comprehensive range of professional services. Green Hill is an assisted publishing company helping self-published authors succeed in the complex and demanding world of book publishing.

1. How do I self-publish my book?

To self-publish a book completely independently, you should follow the following steps:

1.1 Write, draft, and edit your book

If you don’t have a book, then you have nothing to publish. Writing your book is the first and most important step as the content of your book will dictate much of your self-publishing project. The second most important step is to draft your book. It’s often said that writing is rewriting. Before your book is ready to show anyone, make sure that you have made the book as well-written and free of errors as you can.

After you are happy with your manuscript, hiring a professional editor to go over your work is an excellent way to ensure that your book is ready for readers. We offer manuscript assessments and full editing of your manuscript.

1.2 Design a book cover

A well-designed book cover can make your book stand out and attract potential readers. On the other hand, a poorly-designed book cover sill undoubtedly hurt your sales and limit your audience. Consider hiring a professional book cover designer to ensure that your book cover meets market standards and can compete with traditionally published books. Green Hill Publishing has a team of experienced in-house book designers. Enquire with us today.

1.3 Typeset your interior for style and readability

The interior of your book is very important. It needs to be designed to be aesthetically pleasing for your readers yet not compromise on functionality and readability. To typeset your book, you’ll also need to purchase and use proper typesetting software, like InDesign. It’s always best to hire a professional if you’re unsure about the process. Thankfully, Green Hill has a team of experienced in-house book designers who are knowledgeable in typesetting and can make your book come to life while adhering to the rules of readability. Enquire with us today.

1.4 Convert your book to an appropriate file format

Before you send your book to a printer, it must be in a format that is compatible with their software. Usually, this means a print-ready PDF file for you interior, and print-ready file of your book cover that gives the proper allowance for your spine width, bleed, etc. Each printer has their own guidelines for this, so make sure that you contact them. When Green Hill designs a book, we do so ensure that we meet all of our printers’ criteria.

1.5 Choose a self-publishing platform and upload your book

There are many self-publishing platforms available, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Kobo Writing Life, and Barnes and Noble Press. Do some research and make sure that you choose one that suits your needs and preferences. When you publish with Green Hill, you’re not limited to just one platform; we make your book available for online distribution with the major online book distributors, Amazon, Book Depository, Booktopia, and more.

1.6 Set an RRP (Recommended Retail Price)

To accurately decide on a price for your book, take into account the cost of your printing and distribution as these are your main overheads. Usually, we recommend setting your RRP at three-times the print-per-unit price of your book.

1.7 Promote your book

Once your book is available for purchase, you must market your book to reach your target audience and generate sales. You can do this through social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more), your author website, and other channels.

Back to Contents

2. Are there self-publishing companies in Australia?

Yes, there are Australian-based self-publishing companies out there who can offer you a range of services to assist with self-publishing your book. These companies can help authors navigate the self-publishing process.

Australian self-publishing companies usually offer services such as editing, design, typesetting, print-ready files, and distribution. However, it’s important to carefully research and compare the different self-publishing options to ensure you find the best fit for your needs and goals as an author. Green Hill Publishing is Australia’s trusted self-publishing company who offers a range of publishing packages that are likely to fit your project’s needs.

Back to Contents

3. Can I self-publish my fiction novel?

Yes! Self-publishing a fiction novel is a common and viable way to get your book out into the market. Self-publishing allows writers of any genre or form of fiction to express their ideas without having to wait for traditional publishers to pick them. Common genres of self-published fiction books include:

  1. Romance
  2. Science Fiction (Sci-fi)
  3. Mystery
  4. Horror
  5. Fantasy

Back to Contents

4. Can I self-publish my non-fiction novel?

Yes! Many authors self-publish non-fiction books in all kinds of genres. In fact, non-fiction is one of the most common self-publishing genres. Many authors use self-publishing as a way to get the following genres and more out into the hands of readers:

  1. Auto-biography/Biography
  2. Family History
  3. Memoir
  4. Business book
  5. History book
  6. Reference book

Back to Contents

5. Can I self-publish a cookbook?

Yes! You can self-publish any kind of book, including a cookbook. Self-publishing is a flexible option that allows you to retain control over the content and design of your cookbook, and to reach your target audience directly. With self-publishing, you can write, edit, design, and distribute your cookbook in both physical and digital formats, and reach home cooks, food lovers, and culinary professionals around the world. There are many self-publishing platforms that can help you make your cookbook available to readers. Keep in mind that the specific requirements for self-publishing a cookbook—such as formatting and image quality—may vary depending on the platform you choose. Consider hiring professionals, like food photographers and professional book designers—to ensure that your cookbook can compete with traditionally published cookbooks.

Back to Contents

6. What other kinds of books can I self-publish?

In essence, you can self-publishing really any kind of book, including:

  1. Fiction books: Romance, science fiction, mystery, horror, fantasy, etc.
  2. Non-fiction books: Memoirs, self-help, how-to guides, business, biography, history, etc.
  3. Childrens books: Picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade books, etc.
  4. Christian books: Any genre of book (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, reference, etc.) with Christian themes and overtones.
  5. Poetry books: Collections of poems and other poetry-related publications.
  6. Graphic novels: Manga, comic books, etc.
  7. Cookbooks: Books about food and cooking with recipes, photos, and tips.
  8. Art books: Artwork, photography, and other visual media.
  9. Educational books: Textbooks, workbooks, etc.
  10. Family histories: Family tree publications and documentation of the lives of family members, etc.

In general, as long as your book is your original work and doesn’t cross copyright boundaries, you can self-publish it.

Back to Contents

7. Do I need to pay for self-publishing?

There are some options for both “free” self-publishing and paid self-publishing, depending on the approach you take.

7.1 “Free” self-publishing options

Some free self-publishing platforms include Amazon KDP and Smashwords, allow you to publish your book for free and earn royalties on book sales. However, even free self-publishing includes certain costs if you cannot do everything yourself.

    1. Editing and proofreading: Hiring a professional editor will help to ensure that your book is error-free and ready for readers.
    2. Book cover design: Commissioning a professional book cover designed by an experienced book cover designer will help to make your book market-ready, stand out, and attract readers.
    3. Professional typesetting: The interior of your book is just as important as the cover. Hiring a professional typesetter will help ensure that your interior is readable, looks attractive, and can measure up to the competition.
    4. ISBN purchasing: Some self-publishing companies do not purchase your ISBN for you, meaning that you will have to buy it yourself. It is required for every book in the market to have an ISBN, so this isn’t something that you can cut when considering your budget.
    5. Book formatting: Depending on where and how you self-publish your book, you will likely need to format your book in a specific way so that your book meets the requirements of your self-publishing platform.
    6. Marketing and promotion: Investing in marketing and promotion will be instrumental in reaching a wider audience and increasing your book sales.
    7. Printing: While some self-publishing platforms function solely on digital books, if you want to print physical copies of your book—whether paperback or hardcover—you will have to pay for it. This includes shipping fees along with the book printing costs.

While it is up to you to choose what you’re willing to spend money on to self-publish your book, keep in mind that these services can greatly enhance the marketability of your book.

7.2 Paid self-publishing

When working with a self-publishing company, the author usually pays for the services provided by the company. This includes either some or all of the following:

    1. Editing and proofreading: Some self-publishing companies either have in-house editors, or are partnered with a freelance editing company they trust. Editing will likely be a separate cost, determined by the editor upon assessing the manuscript. Green Hill is partnered with Bookmark Edits, an Australian-based and owned freelance editing company.
    2. Book cover design: Usually, self-publishing companies offer bespoke book cover design and work to the author’s design brief. Make sure to look at a self-publishing company’s portfolio of designs and decide if they are for you. Green Hill have in-house designers who are available for direct contact while your book cover design is being created.
    3. Professional typesetting: Like book cover design, professional typesetting can be offered bespoke to authors to align with the author’s design brief. Green Hill have in-house book interior designers and typesetters who will ensure your book is typeset correctly and effectively.
    4. ISBN purchasing: Some self-publishing companies do not purchase your ISBN for you, meaning that you will have to buy it yourself. Green Hill handles all ISBN purchasing and registration for our authors, ensuring the information is filled correctly for distribution and marketing.
    5. Book formatting: Self-publishing companies handle the book formatting for their clients, ensuring that the files are ready for print. Green Hill’s book designers are skilled in book formatting for multiple printers internationally and local.
    6. Marketing and promotion: To market and promote your book, you may need to pay extra. Some self-publishing companies do not offer this service. Green Hill, on the other hand, do! Have a look at our marketing services.
    7. Printing: Some self-publishing companies do not broker print for their clients, so if you are wanting a company to do this for you, make sure to do your research. Green Hill can connect you with both international and Australian printers and get you high-quality print that won’t blow your budget.

Back to Contents

8. How to tell if a self-publishing company is a scam

Unfortunately, there are quite a few self-publishing scams out there. These scams can be costly, time-consuming, and disheartening for authors, so it’s important to do your research and be aware of common red-flags. Some things to look our for are:

    1. Payment upfront: Be wary of self-publishing services that require payment upfront before they will begin the production of your book. It is likely they will disappear once the money has hit their account. Instead, look for self-publishing platforms that have payment plans, have a part-payment model, or have no up-front fees and instead pay royalties.
    2. Promises of bestseller status: No self-publishing service—or traditional publishing service, at that—can guarantee that your book will become a bestseller. This is dependent on many factors and is determined by marketing, book quality, writing, current reader trends, and much more. If a company promises you fame and fortune, they cannot deliver and are likely a scam.
    3. Poor design: Look at a self-publisher’s design portfolio. If it is nothing but low-quality and poorly-designed covers, they will supply you with the same. Some self-publishers, however, will have a mix of poor- and high-quality design work. This can sometimes be attributed to authors who’ve had too much sway over their book covers, making it look unprofessional. Be sure to research the quality of the services provided by any self-publishing company before you sign up and ask about their design capabilities.
    4. Limited distribution channels: Some self-publishing scams may limit the routes that you can take to distribute and sell your book. This makes it harder for readers to find and purchase your book, leading to lessened sales. Look for self-publishing who enable your book for global distribution through multiple different online retailers.
    5. Lack of transparency: Be cautious of any self-publishing company that is hesitant about revealing their services and fees, or ones who do not to provide you with a detailed contract outlining their terms and conditions.

Do your research and being vigilant. You can often find self-publishing scams easily by doing a simple Google search and reading reviews on unaffiliated reviewing platforms.
Back to Contents

9. Do self-publishers market my book?

Self-publishers typically do not sell your books directly to customers. Instead, they use distribution channels to make your book available for purchase on online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. There are some self-publishing platforms, such as Amazon KDP, which both self-publish and distribute your book, but these are the exceptions.

The way this works is, when you self-publish through a company or platform, your book is uploaded to their servers and made available for sale on popular online bookstores. When a customer orders your book, the platform will handle the printing and shipping, and you will receive a royalty for each sale as the retail platform and the printer will take a cut of the profit.

In some cases, self-publishing companies may also offer additional services, such as marketing and promotion, to help you reach a wider audience and increase sales. However, the main role of self-publishing companies is to provide authors with the tools and resources they need to publish their books, rather than sell their books directly to customers.

Green Hill offers marketing services to self-published authors. We can give book marketing advice, help you set up and create content for your social platforms, and assist with library and traditional distribution channels for your book.

Back to Contents

Most popular blog posts:

Interested in publishing your book but unsure where to start or what is even involved? Tell us about your project and we will post you a copy of our:


The Little Book of
Big Publishing Tips.


In just a quick 8,000 words, this little book will equip you with the knowledge you need to successfully publish your book.

The Little Book of Big Publishing tips goes into the essentials of self-publishing a book, outlining the business and financial side of publishing, legal issues, design, editing, sales and marketing. There's even a section on how to identify a vanity-publishing scam.