How’d They Do That? Self-Publishing on a Budget

Welcome to a new occasional series called “How’d They Do That?” It’s all about people who have successfully done amazing, hard things. The things you might want to do. I’m sharing their best tips with you!

Bethany BoringWe are kicking the series off with Bethany Boring, who recently self-published her book Unmasked: The Journey from Surviving to Thriving. Bethany is a certified life coach, award-winning speaker, cancer-survivor, wife and mom of three adorable little boys. Their family motto is “The Borings are not boring!” and no truer words have been spoken!

UnMasked BookGod has taken Bethany on an amazing journey and she wanted to share that journey to inspire and encourage others. She looked at several routes to publishing her book. She didn’t have the giant platform that traditional publishers were looking for. She didn’t have thousands of dollars to purchase a self-publishing package from one of the do-it-all self-publishing companies.

What she DID have was the assurance that God gave her a message to share, and a willingness to learn. With some patience, research and time, she embraced the learning process and successfully published a high-quality book without breaking the bank.

Bethany’s top tips for self-publishing on a budget

1.  Pray about your goals

Let’s face it. It’s unlikely you are going to make a million dollars from a self-published book. It happens, but it’s rare. For Bethany, it was important to get her story down on paper for her boys (read her book and you’ll understand why!). She also wanted a resource for her friends and coaching clients. She was realistic about her goals from the beginning and the results have far surpassed her expectations.

2.  Do Your Research

Pretty much everything you need to know is available for free online. Facebook groups are full of people who know how to do this and are anxious to help. The Christian Indie Authors Network offers several Facebook groups on different aspects of self-publishing that contain a wealth of information. You can choose how much or how little you participate, but just reading the old posts is a great education.

Another great source of information is your audience. You already have an audience, even if you don’t know it! Every friend, family member or acquaintance who has ever said, “Hey! You should write a book about that!” (like you’ve never thought of that yourself, bless their hearts) is part of your audience. Ask them whether they prefer e-books or paperbacks, narrative or workbook style, etc. Their input will influence some of the decisions you make along the way.

3.  Build Your Network

Bethany suggests starting early to build relationships with other authors and bloggers. While it seems like there are millions of them, the Christian writing and blogging community is actually a very close-knit group. They want to help others be successful and will be your biggest cheerleaders and sources of information.

But don’t just be a taker … be a giver also! Promote their work, serve on their launch teams, buy their books. You will help them out and also learn what might work when it is your turn to promote and launch.

4.   Accept Help

People want to help you. Really. They do. Bethany has a friend who believed in what she was doing and did all of the graphic design for free!

You can also barter services. Bethany swapped some coaching sessions in exchange for professional editing. So look at what you have to offer someone else and try to work a WIN-WIN deal.

5.  Buy Carefully

When it comes down to it, you may have to pay for some services. Check with the network you have built to get recommendations. For editing, formatting and printing, you will hand them your heart and soul in your manuscript, so be sure you choose reputable people.

Bethany found a reasonably-priced formatter in Australia who was recommended in one of the Facebook groups. Unfortunately, their price did not include a trip to Australia for a face-to-face approval meeting :).

It wasn’t an option for Bethany to hand over the manuscript and have someone else do the rest, and it may not be one for you. But with a lot of research, a supportive network to help and reputable services for what she couldn’t get done herself, Bethany was able to get her precious words in print.

If she can do it, you can, too. You may not get it all right the first time, but you will learn a lot and grow in the process.

UnMasked BookConnect With Bethany

Order your signed copy of Unmasked at Bethany’s website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Periscope (her scopes are so much fun!)


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Download this list of resources Bethany and others have used to self-publish their books.

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Thanks to Bethany, Rachel Britton and Jeff Goins for contributing to this list.



Do you have other tips for self-publishing on a budget?  How about ideas for other things you’d like to see covered in the “How’d They Do That?” series?  Share them in the comments!

Linking up with Crystal Storms at #IntentionalTuesday, Rachel at Garay Treasures  and Mssional Women at #FaithFilledFriday

33 thoughts on “How’d They Do That? Self-Publishing on a Budget”

  1. Congratulations on your book! You are right. There is a lot of information available about how to self-publish a book. Most of it is good and some of it is just not that helpful. It’s important to keep in mind that publishing is just part of the process. Pre-writing (figuring out your why, your who and your what) is just as important as writing. Figuring out how you will deliver it to the people that really need to read your book before you start is really important, too. It’s terrific that you did it!

    • Oh yes – I LOVE talking about how to setermibe your why, how and who! So incredibly vital to a good foundation. One of the best starting points I had was writing a letter to myself, representing a reader that had just completed my book. I wrote the goals I wanted the reader to have long after the book was put down. Great thoughts!

  2. I do like these tips, especially number one. Even if you don’t pray, per se (as it happens, I do) you need to know why you’re doing this work – and it is massively hard work. But it’s a lot of fun when you see the result.

    • Laura –
      What a GREAT source of encouragement! Seriously, start by asking him more about what type of book he wants you to write – start dreaming! If you need any help, I’m here to encourage you as well!

    • Karen – I remember the second I held my book in my hands for the first time…it was exciting and so very vulnerable at the same time! When we decide to put our words out there, I think it’s normal to have a level of fear. It’s new territory and increases our faith! You can do this!

    • Asking for help is so hard. But people really do want to help! Be sure to share your post with me so I can see how you put the tips into action!

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips as I myself (and a few other poeple I know) would love to publish books one day but don’t know the cheapest routes so this was VERY helpful.
    Thank you for linking up to “Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me”
    Rachel xo
    Garay Treasures

  4. Christa and Bethany — Thank you so much for sharing about your journey and pouring your insight into others! May God bless each of your ministries as you continue to walk His path!



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