In a word, yes.

If you already have a copy of Microsoft Word, then you should absolutely use it to self publish your own novels. I have used it to publish all my own books and novels for lots of other people, including picture books and training manuals.

It does require a good knowledge of Microsoft Word, which can easily be learned from online information. Word converts to a PDF file perfectly adequately, using its own export facility – PDF (Portable Document Format) is the required format for uploading to Amazon KDP.

However, I would not suggest it for books with complex and extensive images because Word does start to crash with larger file sizes.

It also works really well for creating a Kindle ebook. You can upload a Word document directly to KDP for conversion, but it is best to save it as a .doc rather than a .docx (Word 97 – 2003 format), especially if you want to upload to Smashwords Meatgrinder.

Covers for paperbacks and Kindle books are best done in a graphics package such as Photoshop.

Some key points to remember when creating a paperback in MS Word

  • Set up your page size to match the trim size you want for your final book. Usually, you will have to choose a Custom size and enter the dimensions yourself -make sure you enter these EXACTLY (you can find these at:
  • Set your margins to be mirrored and allow yourself extra margin space (called the gutter) for the internal margins (where the pages are joined together).
  • Use styles to set the formatting for your headings and for your indentations – do not use the tab button to create indents.


Due a house-move, my lovely office is no more and I now have a really nice lap table that I can use anywhere (even in bed!), and as you can see, the dog doesn’t care – he is still at my feet providing support and aromas.

I haven’t actually written creatively for about 9 months, due to various events;  a housemove and my lovely dad loosing a terrible battle with cancer. It’s not been a good year and I have focussed on working to help other people get their books together – which is incredibly rewarding; there really is nothing like seeing a new author cradling their first book like a newborn baby (I think we all do it).

The only downside to my lap desk, is that once I’m installed under it, it’s very difficult to remove it, so I have to get the kids or the husband to fetch my my tea.


So, the reality of book fairs is that they are often under-attended – depending on the location, the weather, the season and whatever else is doable at the instead. Basically, people don’t flock to book fairs and those who do face the desperate puppy-dog stares of every single author in attendance. 

Sales are rarely significant and in many cases, barely cover the cost of attending. So why the hell do we bother? 

Well, a few sales are better than no sales, because at least people are reading your book (unless they are using them to prop up a bed with a wonky leg), but the main advantage of attending book fairs is the networking opportunity it presents. The chance to chat to other authors and find out what is working for them, to share your woes and to find out about other events and opportunities that might help you become the next JKR.


Receiving a box of freshly printed copies of your book is a thrilling aspect of being a self-published author. Opening the box to reveal your hard work in shiny book form never fails to make you feel proud.

This box of ten is to take to the UK Southern Book Fayre, where I very much hope to sell at least a few of them!

At least it doesn’t cost so much to get them from Amazon anymore, now that they are printed in the UK, it only cost around £4 for delivery – previously, they were delivered from the USA and postage pretty much decimated most of the royalties you might gain from selling them.


Today was the third workshop on self-publishing that I have run and in the few months that I have been running them, CreateSpace; the paperback self-publishing arm of Amazon, has merged into KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and everything is now done from the Amazon platform – including having author copies of books actually printed in the UK. The self-pub world is constantly evolving and progressing – which is both great and also frustrating for those of us who produce our own books.

Writing your book really is just the first stage of quite a complex process! It is, however, absolutely worth it.

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