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Effective Habits of a Self-Publishing Author

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

We all have to start somewhere, but it's the habits, discipline and routines that set apart the good from the great. Thanks to the authors who wrote about their failures, lessons, and successes, we have resources guiding us to fine tune our daily lives to achieve the dreams we desire. Read along as we discuss a few ways that have helped authors achieve success when self-publishing.

Are you ready to level up from good to great?

Quality over quantity

Successful self-published authors focus on quality rather than quantity. They take their time to edit, receive feedback, revise, and repeat for as long as necessary. The beauty of self-publishing is being able to hit publish at your expense. You are able to hit publish as quickly as possible if that is your goal. However, the discipline of editing, re-writing, receiving feedback, re-writing, reviewing, and then publishing can make a huge difference.

Beyond the quality of the writing, successful self-published authors place a great deal of importance on the creative aspects of their work. They ensure the cover art, formatting, and intriguing descriptions harmonize with the written content before hitting publish.

Treat your work as a business

Being persistent, learning and improving your writing skills, and creating systems to gain more eyes are key elements any successful author takes advantage of. Below are a few habits to help turn your work into a business.

Set a schedule:

  • Set aside a specific time each day to focus on your business.

  • Create a list of priorities each day to focus your energy on the most important tasks propelling you forward


  • Keep track of your expenses and allocate funds to areas that show the highest return on investment.

  • Outsource work to professionals. According to Forbes, authors who outsourced the designs of their books and hired freelance editors, paid or unpaid, earned 34% more than average for a self-published book.


  • Marketing is an important aspect of getting eyes on your book and incurring more sales; however, the most successful authors do not let marketing compromise their writing.

  • When the main focus of a writer is the writing, many successful and seasoned authors outsource the marketing to an expert. However, according to Writers Edit, successful self-published authors do thorough research to ensure the quality of marketing and return on investment is up to their standards. This is another example of investing in your work to get a greater return, as long as you outsource wisely.

Set goals to inspire action

Goal setting is a useful tool to help guide you in the right direction and set you up for success toward publishing your first (or fifth) piece of work! Roads in life are never linear, and at times it can be overwhelming to decide which route to take. Goal setting can help you as a writer to maintain motivation, improve your skills, and achieve levels of success and performance you are proud of.


  • You may be familiar with the acronym SMART goals, but I want to revisit the concept here as it can be very useful on your self-publishing journey.

  • SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

  • Here is an example to get your own ideas flowing:

    • By December 1st of 2023, I will self-publish my first children’s novel, with at least 75 pages, on Amazon, and sell a minimum of 500 copies.

  • The more detail you add, the more specific the goal becomes. This allows you to develop a clear vision for the final product, and lead you down productive paths to getting there.

Beat burnout before it beats you

As the deadline for your SMART goal quickly approaches and external and internal pressures to hit publish build up, it is imperative to remind yourself to breathe! You are a beautiful human embarking on a journey to becoming a self-published author. We need to remind ourselves of that after long hours of writing and creating.

Allow yourself the mini breaks, the get-up-and-stretch breaks, the coffee and snack breaks, and any break that fuels your mind and body to become a better author. Check out the Headspace app. This app has all things relating to mental health, mindfulness, meditation, and movement. Headspace produces daily meditations to connect your mind to your breath, short yoga practices to add movement to your day, and motivational pick-me-ups for when you are losing connection with your work.

If you are interested in learning more about habits and how you can apply daily habits to propel your writing, check out more from The Habitized Life Blog!

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