7 Step Self-Publishing Guide
Obviously you will need to be a good writer to have any chance of success. Fiction writers need to be talented at what they do, but writing skills will matter less for non-fiction writers.
Some authors use ghost writers to write the book for them which is definitely a possibility, but most will be writing on their own. Get a interesting back cover blurb / book description as well.
Every book needs an editor. At least hire someone to get your grammar, spelling and punctuation right. This is usually the most expensive aspect of self-publishing.
Cost between editors vary greatly and is depending on level of editing needed – a quick proofreading will be cheaper than full development editing. Don’t skip this step.
#3 Layout / Formatting
The printed book however, will have the layout exactly as you formatted – you decide on margins, text flow, blank pages, etc. Use professional software or hire a pro to get this done.
#4 Book Files (eBook/Print) & ISBN
ISBN: you need a separate ISBN for the eBook, paperback and hardback. You can either buy your own ISBN with your own imprint (publisher) name or use your publisher’s name and ISBN or let the retailers assign the ISBN automatically to your book (not all retailers offer this service). See our blog about it here.
#5 Cover Design
Design a stunning and attractive cover. Let a professional book designer do this for you and get front, back and spine designed for your eBook as well as printed book.
Again, many take a short cut here and use free templates to have this done quickly, or find cheap options. But I often see very dissapointing results. If you truly believe in your book, get a pro designer done.
#6 Uploading & Selling
You can do this on your own. All major retailers (Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, kobo, etc.) make it easy to create an account, upload your book files and sell on their platform. You will get paid monthly to your bank account and can make any changes to your book listing (price, description, files and so on).
Amazon and Barnes & Noble also cater to POD (print-on-demand), which basically means that your book is printed and shipped out to the customer’s address once they hit the ‘order’ button.
You can also extend distribution to even more retailers, libraries and third party sellers with book distributors/aggregators but you can handle the major retailers on your own.
#7 Marketing & Promotion
- Build an audience using Facebook and Instagram (and optimize your profile with an image and link to your book)
- Build an email list and send them weekly emails they find interesting/useful. At the bottom of each email place a link to your book.
- Participate in Facebook groups that are relevant to your book (e.g. if your book is science fiction, join a science fiction group). Share your book whenever the time is right.
- List your book in low competition categories and sub-categories relevant to your book genre. Amazon allows up to 10 different categories per book. With initial publishing you will only be allowed to select two main categories but you can contact Amazon’s Help after releasing your book to add additional categories.
- Optimize your search keywords. Choose keywords which have acceptable search volume but low competition (and are of course relevant to your book). You can have seven keywords for your book.