My first self-publishing experience was a disaster. I did everything in the wrong order. I made the mistake of formatting the manuscript before completing my final draft, and I had to re-paginate the whole document every time I made a small change! It took me 10 or 12 tries to get the cover art just right (and I was printing a hardback, so it cost $20 every time I ordered a new copy). When I was finally ready to make it available to the public, the minimum price I could charge was $33. Not exactly a competitive price range for a novel.
To help you avoid a similar experience with your first self-published book, I present the following step-by-step guide to self-publishing:
1) Brainstorm ideas.
2) Choose a topic/idea and working title.
3) Create an outline.
4) Write the first draft.
5) Rewrite the first draft.
6) Edit the manuscript yourself.
7) Hire a copy editor.
8) Download a template from the selected self-publisher's site and format the final manuscript.
9) Write back cover text and create/purchase/commission cover art.
10) Write Amazon description.
11) Upload final book to self-publisher's site. Select distribution channels and price.
12) Order proof copy or approve digital proof.
13) Announce book launch.