If you choose to self-publish, be prepared to wear many hats, and to learn many new skills. One suggestion I’d offer is to practice, even with work you’re not going to publish.
Why? Like the title says… Practice.
Practice making a layout, adding your front matter, back matter and a cover. Try to come up with cover ideas that are both eye-catching and that you haven’t seen elsewhere. Let’s be honest, do you look into books that have boring, boilerplate covers or do you scroll past until you see one that catches your eye and makes you pause and read about it?
That’s what I played with this morning. I took three new stories that I cannot release (one will be in an anthology, another has been submitted to an upcoming publication, and the third is evolving into either a novella or a book), designed a cover for them, and made a 6 x 9 inch trade paperback manuscript in Word. I did up a cover for it in Photoshop,
just as I would do for an actual release, added some graphic elements to the manuscript to dress it up and finally cooked it all together into a PDF.
It works, and it has a good flow, at least in my opinion. Were it not for the status of the three stories it contains, this would be a good, albeit short, release to add to my Amazon collection. No, this will remain in the vault, a successful exercise in assembling a print ready manuscript just to keep my process sharp.
Whatever you do… writing, submitting, DIY publishing, cover design, whatever it is, practice whenever time permits and you have a clear mind, free of distractions.
It will pay off in time, you can count on that.