Once you’ve completed writing your manuscript, the next step in the process is publishing. If you’ve decided to self-publish, but are not sure how to self-publish, then this article is for you. Self-publishing is far easier and cheaper today than ever before. You don’t need to order books in bulk and store them at a warehouse. Most self-publishing is print-on-demand (POD), which means books are printed only when someone orders the book.
The self-publishing process is explained below:
Step 1: Editing
Most self-published authors think they can publish a book without editing. Remember, even the best authors use an editor to edit their work. You want your book (read product) to be the best possible version of your work. It has to be an enjoyable experience for the reader.
If you are self-editing, tools like ProWritngAid and Grammarly can help you but they can only take you so far. They are not a replacement for a professional editor.
Step 2: Book Cover
People judge a book by its cover. That is why it is an important part of the publishing process. Many people are not well versed in photoshop. Even if you are a photoshop wizard, covers must follow the rules of the genre to generate sales. If you don’t want to learn these rules, hiring a good cover artist is the way to go.
Do-It-Yourself tools for designing book covers include:
Step 3: Format the Interior Pages of Your Paperback and eBook
Once the cover is ready, it’s time to design the interior pages of your book. You want your interior pages to have uniformity and consistency. The design needs to be simple and functional.
You have two options:
You can do it yourself or get a service provider to do it for you.
If you are doing it yourself, you can typeset your book with either of the following software:
- MS Word
Many authors have designed their paperbacks in word and converted them into pdf. Most publishing platforms expect print books to be in pdf format. For eBooks, the best file format is EPUB, which should work on almost all eBook platforms.
If you choose to format your paperback and eBook yourself, then check out these articles below:
If you plan on hiring a service provider to do it for you, then try our turnkey done-for-you solution at publishedge.com, which is a one-stop solution for formatting, editing, publishing, and distribution. It will take the load off you and ensure your book is a professional production.
Step 4: Buy an ISBN
ISBN stands for International Standards Book Number. If you plan to sell your books in bookstores and online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, you will need an ISBN. Bowker is the agency in the US that sells ISBNs. You can buy one for $125 at Bowker.
Step 5: Distribution
The old system was: you get books printed in bulk, store them, and ship it to the buyer when they purchase your book. Print-on-demand (POD) has changed the game. Today, you no longer need to print books in bulk and store them. Books are printed only when someone purchases your book. The cost of distribution for an author is almost zero.
The best places to distribute your books are Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is suitable for both paperback and eBooks, KDP’s expanded distribution distributes to other online stores like Nook, Barnes & Noble, and several other retailers.
Amazon offers a program called KDP Select, where a reader can download your book for free and read it, and the author gets paid based on the number of pages the reader reads. This can lead to higher earnings, as many readers will give unknown authors a try. However, going into KDP Select gives Amazon exclusive rights to your eBook (you can still publish your paperback anywhere you’d like). KDP Select is run on a 3-month contract, so maybe you can give it a test run for three months and decide if you want to stay exclusive to Amazon or spread your distribution wide.
To publish on Amazon KDP, check out the article here. To distribute through IngramSpark, check out the article here.
Self-publishing is a great option for authors who do not want to go the traditional publishing route. If you are a first-time author, maybe you can use professional help and do it right. If you are on a limited budget, you can read the articles on this site and do it yourself.
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