Could Self-Publishing be Your Next Side Hustle?

March 27, 2024



As much as this might be one of those broken records we’d like to rip off the player and toss in the trash, sometimes we have to recognize it: we’re still living in uncertain times. The job market is tumultuous, housing prices are still rising, and inflation is, well, inflating. And we’re all either zapped of creative energy, numb to it, or we’re looking for ways to build a better path forward and, hopefully, out. Because if ‘times’ are going to be ‘uncertain’, we might as well do things that excite, challenge, and rejuvenate us, right?

So it’s no wonder 39% of working Americans have a side hustle and 17% plan to start one in the future. In case you need a refresher, a side hustle can be any flow of additional income for you—delivering flowers, monetizing a social media channel, or even self-publishing books. Yep, a side hustle for some people is writing their very own book. And honestly, it’s brilliant for so many reasons!

Is Self-Publishing Your Perfect Side Hustle?

Learning how to self publish is a lot easier than you might imagine. While ‘DIY book publishing’ might elicit a little bit of worry that it’s too much work, you’ve landed on the right resource because we’re about to simplify.

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, are passionate about a specific topic or genre, want to amplify your brand’s credibility in a specific industry, or are a writer at heart and have a message to share with the world, then it might be time to lean into that idea and launch an author side hustle!

Listen, if this side hustle is already calling to you, I believe it! Want your own self-publishing roadmap?

Dive into this free, virtual class hosted by my friend and self-publishing EXPERT, Chandler Bolt: How to Launch Your Book to Bestseller Status in 3 Easy Steps!

What Does it Mean to Be an Author?

As an author myself, my knee-jerk-reaction is “constantly looking for the spine of your own book in every single bookstore you enter.” Ha! But becoming an author essentially means you’ve created and produced a written work in the form of a book or novel, short story, poem, essay, etc. It’s not just about the big books or accolades! And with that definition, you might already be an author.

While modern technology makes it a lot easier to self-publish, learning how to become an author takes determination, hard work, and a specific set of skills. For most people, creating a consistent writing routine and actually getting the words written is the hardest part. Then comes finding an audience for your book and getting it into THEIR hands!

How to Become an Author in 7 Simple Steps

So if you’re ready to try your hand at self-publishing as a side hustle, follow this road map.

1. Invest in Education.

Writing a book doesn’t have formal educational requirements, and that’s evident in so many of the books we know and love. Our favorite authors have a variety of backgrounds and levels of ‘education’, so that means there’s room for you at the table. As long as you’re confident in your own reading and writing skills, you’re ready.

A quick caveat to this: If you want to publish a book on a very specific topic, you should be an expert in that field or industry through higher education, specialized training, or years of experience. We should aim to maintain integrity with the work we put out in the world.

2. Learn the Skills to Become a Successful Author.

Publishing your own book can be a much easier journey if you’re willing to invest time in amping up these skills that many writers have in common and utilize when they’re writing their next work. Consider these kind of like prerequisites– try to work on and improve these skills if you want to sharpen your confidence and know-how as an author (even if you haven’t published anything yet!)

  • Exceptional Writing Development Skills: Being an excellent writer who can communicate effectively through words is the premise of learning how to become an author successfully. If there’s anything that you feel holds you back in your writing process, take a course or download a supporting app, like Grammarly, to help you.

  • Creative Storytelling that Engages: This is an art in and of itself! No matter what genre your book falls in, being able to craft an engaging story that pulls readers in can help your book essentially sell itself. Think about books you’ve read and wanted to re-read over and over again. What sets those apart from the others?

  • The Ability to Research Well: Ask any successful author and they will tell you that a major factor in successfully writing a book is to conduct thorough research. Even if you’re hoping to writing a fantasy or YA novel, research can still be a powerful skill to gain!

  • The Tendency to Naturally Observe People and Places: In order to make your story come alive in people’s minds, you need to possess the power of observation. If you’re not one to naturally sit back and watch from the sidelines, try improving your observation skills.

  • Vulnerability and Grit: Authors put everything they possess into their writing. It takes vulnerability to put your words out there, and resilience to keep at it when the going gets tough. Writing isn’t all flow. Sometimes it’s rough, bumpy, and needs a little bit of perseverance to push through and find the words you really want to say.

3. Master the Fundamentals of Book Writing.

Many people can write, but not many people can write well. And if you can’t write well, the good news is there are a number of ways to improve your writing. The best way? Start writing more frequently!

Writing is a craft. It can be cultivated. It can be strengthened. And with a growth mindset and willingness to practice consistently, you can improve your writing skills by mastering the fundamentals.

4. Create a Positive Author Mindset.

Many writers experience feelings of insecurity. Feeling inadequate is expected and totally normal. But the ability to pursue your goal to learn how to become an author (despite your fear) is what will set you apart from all the other aspiring book writers out there. Here are a few tips to building a positive author mindset:

  • Accept that you’re a work in progress. Don’t strive for perfection in writing. Remember: progress > perfection. Maintain a growth mindset, and understand that there is always room for improvement. You are constantly learning, and improving, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

  • Set a writing habit. Making writing part of your daily lifestyle is super important. If you tend to wait for inspiration as a writer, you’ll be left high and dry more often than not.

  • Think courageously. Try not to get too bogged down in the negative “what-ifs.” Learn to shake off the fear and be fiercely loyal to your writing deadlines and publishing goal even if the path there looks hazy.

  • Define your own success. I am a biiiiig fan of this! Success means something different for everyone. Whatever your reason is, get clarity around your definition of success and let that guide you — especially when the comparison trap begins to rear its ugly head.

5. Treat Your First Book as a Learning Experience.

The world is full of great storytellers. However, most people never get around to actually finishing their book. I’m convinced that many great almost-books never saw the light of day because the writer let the project stay on the shelf and get dusty with time.

With your first book, don’t worry too much about getting everything right. Do your best and learn from your mistakes. You can apply everything you learned to your next book! And I’ll tell you this from the inside of the author world: the people who are judging you are likely never going to be fellow authors. We know the work that goes into getting a book out into the world, especially a self-published one!

6. Publish Your Book.

Finishing your book is awesome, and as you know, already an accomplishment to be proud of. So, now it’s time to take the next step: publishing your own book! If you are weighing the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, let’s break it down simply.

To traditionally publish your book, a publishing company will take your manuscript and publish your book for you. However, landing a book contract with a traditional publisher is extremely competitive, and the chances of this happening are slim for most authors.

If you decide to self-publish, you will be in charge of the publishing process — and likely every step of the way after that! There are a ton of benefits in going this route, but you’ll need to make sure you are self-publishing the right way to ensure book quality and success.

7. Market Your Book.

If you want to become a bestselling self-published author, then you need to market your book. Unfortunately, finishing your book isn’t the end of your journey. You dedicated time, effort, and–at times–your sanity, to get your book out. Now it’s time to let the world know about it. You need readers. And readers likely don’t know about you yet!

You’ll need a strategic book launch and marketing plan in place, which should include a number of techniques to gain readership and sell your book. In fact, much like taking your own creative license to write your book, you can approach marketing it with that same creativity and curiosity! And the good news is, you don’t need to be an expert marketer (or even a very confident one) to have an AMAZING book launch.

You just need a plan and some support!

You Need a Self-Publishing Roadmap

The best way to learn isn’t to piecemeal your own plan together. Instead, snatch up a self-publishing roadmap from a mentor or expert in self-publishing that you can follow easily so you can confidently add your own flair as you go (rather than stressing about the important parts!)

Grab a seat next to mine in this free, virtual class with 7-time bestselling author Chandler Bolt (CEO of!) called How to Launch Your Book to Bestseller Status in 3 Easy Steps!

Whether you’ve started and paused a dozen different writing projects or have yet to write a single word of the book you want to publish, this FREE class can help you go from your own starting line and create a step-by-step plan for yourself!

Self-publishing as a side hustle means it’s not only there to support your income but to support your life goals, too. When you’re learning how to become an author, amplify your writing skills, and building your roadmap to self-publishing, remember to enjoy the process!

Want to learn how to self-publish your book?

Learn all the details about self-publishing made easy right HERE!

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life).  One of my favorite places to be is here, sharing what I'm learning with you. I'm glad you're here!



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