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Self-Publishing - A Step-by-Step Guide

Before getting into self-publishing, you first analyze your options – will you DIY (Do It Yourself) or hire a company? Do you know the difference between self-publishing, hybrid, or vanity publishing?

Another crucial question is: what do I want at the end of it all? Full royalties or shared? How much do I want to pay per print?

Additionally, since there are so many companies to choose from, you must do due diligence. Do you know that whether or not you traditionally publish, you are still primarily responsible for marketing? I will be wary if the company is making a marketing promise. Any company that promises to do the marketing for you might renege on that promise subsequently.

Whatever direction you take, you need proper guidance, as going into self-publishing without direction is like going into a new area without GPS. Eventually, you might lose your way.

For this not to be your story, use the self-publishing step-by-step guide provided in this article as your GPS. Let’s begin.

If you are DIYing , go A-La-Cart

If one company does everything, you may have to share royalties. But if you use sites like Upwork or Fiverr and hire people individually, no one will ask you to split royalties. You also keep full control and outcome of your book and further cut costs.

Get the most out of editing

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many self-published authors have had to learn the hard way.

First, decide why you need an editor and the role you want them to play. If your book will need a lot of work, create time after your first draft for the editor to work on it. This allows the editor to make any suggestive edits.

After implementing the suggestions, send the book back to the editor for feedback. Then get a proofreader to proofread the entire text. Avoid skipping a step unless you want to repeat the process, which wastes time and costs money.

Finally, form a connection with the editor before hiring them. Don’t pay for their services upfront unless you’ve worked with them before and have established trust.

Make your cover pop

The first introduction to your book will be through the cover design. So, create a memorable cover. But how do you do this?

Start with a vision. What do you hope for your book to achieve? What message do you want to send to anyone who sees the book for the first time?

Study the covers of books similar to yours. Amazon is a great place to start, and you can also want to visit your local bookstores or libraries to find books similar to yours.

You can either design your cover yourself or work with a professional. For the former option, sites like 99 design and fiver will be beneficial. But try them out and choose the one that best meets your needs.

Format like a pro – Font Matters

After editing and proofreading your books, the next step is to format them. You do not want to make mistakes like inconsistent line spacing and font size. They can influence consumer behavior.

You can format yourself by googling everything you need to know about formatting a book. Also, model after successful books. For example, Ingram Spark is one of the biggest distributors of self-published books. You could review its blog’s content to find helpful resources.

Lastly, look at Kindle’s formatting guide; it has a template and software for formatting. While all these are helpful, hiring an expert to format the book is a better choice.

Print your e-Book and obtain proofs

Once you have your book formatted, the next step will be to go to print. You will need to get to know the exact number of pages you want to go with. You also need to figure out a template and stick with it.

After this, you should be looking for your book's proof. Again, it is important to be thorough because things look different in print. So, when the prints come in, go through them with a fine-tooth comb. If you notice any changes, then correct them. There may also be last-minute edits and corrections. Effect those also.

Just to be on the safe side, also have your editor double-check your print book.

After you have effected any changes, you can then re-upload on Amazon.

Think about distribution networks

Learn the difference between platforms like Ingram Spark and Amazon. Both have different advantages. Amazon is free to use, has a low cost per book, and offers print-on-demand with the extended distribution. Ingram charges a fee for review, costs a tad more per book, but allows bookstores to purchase your book and return it. Using Ingram, you are more likely to get your book into bookstores.

Learn about KDP Select and decide on whether to enroll

The Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select Program is an important program for every self-published author who utilizes Kindle Direct Publishing.

When you put your book in KDP Select, you give Amazon the exclusive right to sell your book for 90 days. On the flip side, you cannot sell your digital file on any other site, including yours, during the 90-day window.

The bottom line

Self-publishing is doable and more manageable when you follow this step-by-step guide. But don’t stop at reading and learning these steps. Instead, get to work, write, and let the world enjoy your creation.

Self-Publishing - A Step-by-Step Guide

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