Richie Gerber has had many careers—musician, comedian, organic food businessman, radio host—and now he can add author to the list.

After he self-published Jazz: America’s Gift, Publishers Weekly said the historical survey “scores points with [its] bold commentary about the complicated political and cultural relationships between Jewish and black communities with regard to jazz…Gerber’s deft, energetic examination…only illuminates the enormous Jewish contribution to the great American musical export, jazz.”

Gerber describes himself as “a do-it-yourself guy” and ultimately spent a considerable amount of time learning about self-publishing, joining several groups and reading blogs for indie writers, publishers, and book marketers. As a first-time author, Gerber was worried about the usual things: Who would buy his book? Where would he sell his book? But luckily he found enough information online to guide him through the entire process. Still, he stresses that while the Internet can connect authors to “great people with great advice,” there are also “lots of crazies out there [and] It is up to any indie author to sift through all the information and separate the wheat from the chaff.”

Gerber urges indie authors to think ahead about publicity and marketing. When he attempted to solicit reviews for Jazz: America’s Gift after it was published, he found, “to my astonishment and disappointment, most [review sources] refused. They informed me that they required a minimum of three months prepublication to even consider a book for review…fortunately not all of the review magazines adhered to this prepublication rule, and my book received several complimentary reviews.”

We asked Gerber if he had any tips for his fellow indie authors:

Invest in Your Cover

“Hire an experienced book cover designer, vet his or her past work, and remember: The cover is the last place to scrimp. Scour the universe for covers that move you and show them to your designer. This is a great way to start the ball rolling. I always tell people, ‘Judge my book by its cover, please!’”

Build Your A-Team

“Even if you are a do-it-yourself type of person, it is imperative to hire a team of book-production professionals. Whether they are à-la-carte pros or a one-stop shop, it’s critical that your book presents exactly like the books from the big leagues. This is what your book will ultimately be compared to. You’re A-Team members should include a cover designer, an editor, and a book interior designer, to name just a few. This is the place where you will get back what you put in.”

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

“For those seeking to self-publish, I am advocating the new author take an aspirational view of themselves and their writing. They are now entering the universe of writing as an art form. See yourself as an artist creating something that will stand the test of time. Use your writing skills to make your book a work of art that will withstand the test of time, not an email that ends up in the trash bin once it is read. Remember, always view yourself as the artist you are!”