This week’s question is from Florian Meyer: “Hi George, what steps should I take after I’ve completely written the manuscript for my book? I’ve already proof-read and I’m planning on uploading the file on Amazon and publish it using a cover I made on Canva. Then just print 20+ copies to share with my friends and family.”
Well Florian, it sure is an immense gratifying feeling to receive a printed copy of your book fresh from the press after spending so much time, but this is seriously suppressed if your finished product is full of errors with terrible typesetting and a self-made cover nobody finds attractive (sorry if I sounded harsh). You have to make sure that this is not the case.
My advice is always to follow up on the following after writing is completed:
- Have an editor look over your work (do not hire a friend of a friend who reads a lots of books…). The least you should do is to get your manuscript checked for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. EVERY book needs an editor – period.
- Hire an expert in typesetting/formatting to get your book the polished layout it deserves. Do NOT upload your MS Word document somewhere online and have it software/automatically formatted. It’s a bit like with Google Translate – sometimes it works fine but sometimes it is laughable.
- Get a professional cover designer to handle your book cover. Do NOT use any templates. To weed out hobby designers from professional ones, simply give your designer the book title and synopsis and let him/her come up with the cover idea. Stay clear from ‘designers’ who want to know from you which picture to use and what font type you prefer – then you can almost do it yourself!
- Buy your own ISBN (own imprint). You could compromise here and use the ISBN from a reputable publishing company but use the SAME ISBN across ALL retailers. (This cuts out using Amazon’s free ISBN as you can use it only with Amazon).
- Upload YOURSELF with ALL major retailers and not through third parties – you need to have full control with your book and get paid directly from the retailer to your account.
- Have some copies printed (maybe 20-100) – it is great to share your book with friends and family, and it is an extraordinary feeling holding your completed book in your hand.
Follow those guidelines and count yourself to be a professional self-published author and not a hobby writer. You can have the same professional book self-published as one of the bestselling hotshot authors with a big publishing house. Good luck!