This is a quick guide on how to truly self publish your book. There are many self-publishing services available on the net that will help you publish your book, but your book will be published under their name, not your own. You will also have limited options on how and where to sell your book, and at what price. If you have confidence in your writing skills and want to sell to a market other than your friends and family, you will be interested in the steps towards truly self-publishing your book.
Write Your Book
This is the obvious first step to self publishing your own book. Will it be fiction (a story) or non-fiction (factual)? A self-help book or a biography? A photography book or mostly text? Also, will it be an ebook or printed and physically distributed? It is a good idea to start deciding now what genre you are looking to write in, and if that genre is selling books right now. If your main purpose is selling books, you cannot write for yourself–you have to write for your target audience.
Popular genres are self-help books, how-to books, fantasy, mystery/suspense, urban fiction romance, and biographies. Make a realistic estimate of how many books you can sell in the genre you are looking to write so that you will not be disappointed with the results. Remember, everybody in the world thinks they can write a book that will be a best seller. Self-published books are considered a success if they can sell about 5,000 copies in their lifetime.
While you are writing your book (and if you are absolutely serious about self-publishing it) you should be deciding on a title, buying a block of ISBNs in your company’s name, and listing your book in Books in Print.
Have Your Book Edited
Once you have the guts of your book written, you are only at the beginning of the editing process. No matter how many times you go over your manuscript yourself, there are going to be some errors. So hire a professional to edit your book; don’t go cheap here. According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, a good, professional editor will charge you anywhere from $20-$50 per hour (which can be translated to about $2 – $10 per page), depending on whether you need light or heavy editing work done to your manuscript. You, of course, have the final say about your manuscript, but a good editor will give you good advice on how to better your book, so listen and don’t be too difficult!
While your book is being edited, you should be thinking of what you want your book cover to look like.
Cover Design and Book Layout
Once your manuscript is through the editing process, your next step is hiring a cover design artist, and a book layout artist. It is best to hire a design layout specialist, rather than a straight graphic designer in this case to be sure they have experience in book layout, including back covers, copyright pages, and back matter. Again, this is not a service you want to skimp on–the cover and readability of your book are the main selling points. Most people make a design on a book by looking at the cover, flipping it to read the back cover, and then skimming through the pages to see what the layout looks like.
While your files are being prepared, you should be doing a comprehensive search of book printers. You should also be researching wholesalers and distributors that would be willing to take on your book for large scale distribution.
Choosing a Printer
By now you should have decided on a printer. Your main concerns when looking for a printer are listed in order: quality, price, and turnaround time. There are other issues, but they are minor compared to these three. Don’t ever look at the price over the quality. If you do, you may receive boxes and boxes of books that can’t even be sold because they are of inferior selling quality. Now how worthwhile was that “low” price?
Your hired design layout specialist will send you two main files once he or she is finished with your project: an image file, usually a .tif file, of your book cover, and a PDF file containing your book. Both of these files are what is called “print ready.” Now the rest is up to you. Call your printer so that you can discuss the best way to send them your print-ready files.
Marketing and Promoting Your Book
While your book is being printed, you should be working hard on telling everyone you know about it. Try to get pre-orders for your book to help offset the cost of printing.
You should also be sending manuscripts out for review by publications that are interested in your type of book. Reviews are a great selling vehicle for books. Some of these companies will want you to send them an actual bound book once it is printed, so keep a list of who you will ship a book to as soon as your print order arrives.
Send your book out to as many people as possible. The more free books you put into the right hands, the better. But be wary of so-called “reviewers” asking you to send them a copy to review–some are only looking for a free book to sell on amazon.com.
Your Books are Here
Once your books arrive, now is the time to send a copy out to all of your saved lists, fill pre-orders, and give copies out to your family and friends. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to generate new orders. You may also want to grab a stack of books and give them out to all of the bookstores in your area–some will be able to order them based on the ISBN alone.
Once you feel that you have done everything you can possibly do to get the word out about your book, now is the time to get started on your next one! If you bought a block of ten ISBN numbers in your company’s name, you have nine more left.
You need to keep in mind that self-publishing will probably not make you rich due to the oversupply of authors in the book industry. Even some authors published by major companies do not make much money.
But if you do it right, you may be able to pay some bills. If you have a book that gets great reviews, has decent distribution, and that you actively attempt to keep in the spotlight, you can do big things in the self-publishing world.