Ask me anything about publishing (please!)

book publishingThis weekend I’m attending the Willamette Writer’s conference in Portland, Oregon. There are a whole bunch of great writers who are beginning to think about publishing, and they are asking a lot of questions. I know a lot about publishing but I don’t often address the more common or basic stuff (how to set up a Twitter account, how to use Facebook, etc).

So today I decided to write a mega post called “100 common publishing questions answered.” I’ve been writing down questions I hear repeated, and brainstorming some of my own, but it would really help me out with you could tell me the biggest questions you have, or confusingly nebulous areas that you find challenging, about publishing or self-publishing.

I’ll wait about a week and then start writing in-depth answers for every question. Thanks for your help!

Here’s what I have so far:


Do I have to do it?

How do people find my content?

How do links work?

Why should I write about other people?

How often should I post?

What should I write about?

Do I have to talk to people?

How can I sell books from my website?

How do I link my blog with social media?

How do I know how much traffic I’m getting?

How do I know how many people are clicking on and buying my book?




What kind of book should I write?

How do I find/pitch an agent?

How do I write a query?

How do I write a book proposal?

How do I self-publish?

How do I make a book cover (cheaply?)

How much does it cost to self-publish?

Do I need to hire an expensive book designer?

How do I find cover art?

How do I format the interior of my book (for print/for ebooks)

Where do I upload/put my files?

How do people buy my book and who ships it to them?

How do I get more book reviews?

How do I get book blurbs?

What should I put on the back of my book cover?

How do I get an ISBN / Barcode?

Do I need a publishing imprint?

Should I register as a company?

Should I file a copyright or trademark?



What do I need an email list for?

How do I grow my email list?

How do I use Mailchimp/Aweber?

How do I become a bestseller?

Do I have to use Twitter / How do I use Twitter?

Do I have to use Facebook / How do I use Facebook?

I’m a writer, why should I use Pinterest or Instagram?

How do I get on TV/radio?

How do I get my book reviewed in newspapers?

How do I get bookstores to carry my books?

Should I buy a Kirkus (or other expensive) review?

Should I enter book award contests?

Should I do book tours?

Should I do book signings?

How do I do a book launch?

How do I get support from celebrities/organizations?

Should I write a press release?



How do I format/upload my files?

What categories should I choose?

What keywords should I choose?

How should I decide on my title and subtitle?

How do I  check my sales ranking?

How do I handle rejection/ fear

How do I hit the bestseller lists?

Why not sell from my website for more profit?


This is just a start! Please help out by sharing concerns/questions you have in the comments so I can write answers for you.

Edit: I put all the answers together and published them as an ebook, which you can get free by joining my email list. If you have more questions, post them here and I can update the book.



About Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.