More and more people are publishing their own work – and not just digital products, people are publishing their own hardback and paperback print books. Gone are the days when, in order to get a book published, you needed to get your work accepted by a traditional publishing house. This would often involve employing the services of a literary agent to help persuade a publisher to get you into print.
Self-publishing is the publication of any book by the work’s author without the involvement of an established third party publisher. It used to be looked down on as the last resort of desperate authors who hadn’t a hope of getting published in the normal way – but not any longer. Self-publishing is now a perfectly respectable way to get your work into print.The One Minute Managerstarted out in life as a self-published book and is now a best-selling paperback.
Self-publishing is not rocket science, but there are a few different ways of going about it and some basics that you need to be aware of if you want to publish your own book.
A Guide to Publishing Your Own Book
Step 1: Get Your Format Right (using a book template is a really good idea)
You need to make sure that your book is correctly formatted. Like it or not, there are many formatting ‘rules’ that youMUST follow in order to get your book published. We recommends using Smashwords, which provides a free ‘Style Guide’ with simple instructions on how to format your book. This is just one of many free resources available online to help you out with this aspect of the process, including formatting tutorials and book templates.
Step 2: Get your book finished, edited and double-checked (maybe triple-checked)!
Finish your book! You need to be absolutely sure that your manuscript is complete. Make sure it’s been thoroughly edited and proof read it. I’d strongly advise you to get someone else to proof read it for you, as well as checking it over yourself.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get it published before it’s completely ready – it could cost you a lot of time and money down the line if you find mistakes or changes that you need to make once you’ve started the publishing process.
Making changes after the publishing process begins can be complicated and create a bunch of unnecessary work. For example, you could end up having to keep track of several different versions, which is a recipe for confusion. You’re bound to have to make some small changes once the publishing process has begun, but should keep this to a minimum by checking your final draft VERY thoroughly!
Step 3: Decision Time – How Do You Want To Distribute Your Book?
You need to decide where and how you want your book to be published and distributed. Do you just want to publish an eBook? Do you want to produce a ‘Print on Demand’ book that can be bought online or in retail stores? Maybe you want to make your book available across a range of distribution channels – the choice is yours!
eBook Distribution Channels include:
- Sony Reader
- Palm Doc
- Barnes and Noble Nook
- Smart Phones
- Amazon Hardback or Paperback Internet Sales
- Retail Bookstores (Paperback or Hardback)
Step 4: Preparing For Print on Demand (if you intend to publish a book in print)
If you’re wondering how to publish a book for distribution as a physical product, ‘Print on Demand’ (POD) could be the way to go. Print on Demand is a publishing process whereby new copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received. This means that books can be printed in very low volume, literally one at a time.
Two leading POD publishers are CreateSpaceor Lightning Source. Lightning Source have a powerful global distribution network. CreateSpace, by comparison, has some limitations. However, the benefit of CreateSpace is that it makes some aspects of the process, such as formatting your manuscript, much easier. Lightning Source is apparently more difficult to use until you master their formatting and uploading rules. You might want to do your own research about this before making a choice!
Step 5: Creating a Cover
Creating a compelling cover for your book is crucial – first impressions really matter and the quality of the cover could make or break your book’s success.
Before you create or commission the cover for your book you need to decide on a ‘colour standard’. The choice is between RGB (which stands for Red Green Blue) or CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black).
Some publishers, including Lightning Source, will insist on CMYK – this is a printer standard used by products such as Photoshop. It can be more difficult – and sometimes more expensive – for writers to use, but produces more professional and consistent results.
RGB is a less sophisticated colour standard used in less expensive products such as Adobe Elements. You can use RGB for your cover if you’re publishing via CreateSpace or Amazon. It tends to be easier and cheaper to use than CMYK.
Many authors choose to out-source this part of the process to a graphic artist unless they have the skills and desire to create their own cover. There are plenty of graphic artists working online who will be only too happy to take a commission to create your book – they can be accessed via sites such a Upwork or Guru. If you have very limited resources, you can get some great graphics produced atFiverr for as little as $5.
Step 6: Adding the Cover to the Book
Once you’ve created your cover, you need to make it a part of the finished book for each distribution channel you intend to use. The process will be slightly different depending on which publishing format you are using. In some cases the cover is embedded in the manuscript, but whichever format you are using the cover is also always a separate upload.
Step 7: Submitting Your Book to Chosen Distributors
This will vary depending on how you intend to distribute your book. You will need to check out the correct procedure for each of your chosen distribution channels. Be prepared for the fact that this is likely to be slightly different in each case.
If you’re planning to distribute your book on Kindle, it’s advisable to format it first using Amazon DTP(Digital Text Publishing). This is an additional formatting step that will make your book easier for people to download onto their Kindle device. Amazon provides a step-by-stepQuick Start Guide to this process, which is very simple to follow.
Consult your chosen distributors for precise guidelines on the exact steps you need to take to get your book out into the marketplace.
Step 8: Marketing Your Book
Once your book’s published you need to market it like gangbusters! When you’re a self-publishing author this bit is entirely down to you. There are a number of ways to do this, including:
- Promoting your book on your own blog or website – for example, you could feature your book in blog posts, publish some ‘taster’ extracts etc.
- Promoting your book via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Promoting your book on relevant forums and discussions boards.
- Setting up an affiliate program to get other marketers to promote your book – for example, through Clickbank.
I hope this inspires you to have a go at publishing your own work. And remember – if you’re interested in finding out more about self-publishing, there are many self-publishing companiesout there that give you a helping hand.