How much will you do on your own?
Who is your audience?
What is your format?
- Trade Paper
- Mass Market
How many books do you need to sell to break even on expenses?
Steps in Self-Publishing
- Layout for print and eBooks
- Cover Design
Book fulfillment- most popular sites
- Create Space (Amazon)
- Kindle Direct Amazon)
- Ingram Spark
Ingram Spark makes distribution available to multiple retailers and libraries, but this is in practice only fulfillment. Distribution is available through major publishing houses and companies that distribute for small publishers with a sizable roster of books.
Without self-promotion, there will be no sales. The job of making your book discoverable requires daily attention, perhaps an hour a day. Here are some ways:
- Develop a platform including a website that you change on a regular basis and appropriate social media.
- Publish a blog.
- Make personal appearances.
- Pay attention to discoverability by using metadata to optimize your efforts.
Ways to Self-Publish
Do it Yourself
- Join the Independent Book Publisher’s Association. The minimal dues more than compensates for the wealth of support and information you will get for your publishing and marketing endeavors.
- Make certain that your finished manuscript is the very best that it can be before you employ a professional editor. In addition to your own edits and rewrites, send your book out to beta readers and follow their advice as long it makes good sense. Know when enough is enough. I had twenty beta readers and changed my manuscript for each one before I was confident enough to spend serious money on an editor. By that time my friends were saying, “Enough is enough. You’re done.”
- Work with your editor to revise your manuscript. Depending on the amount of content editing, the back and forth could take several months.
- At the same time, work on finding a graphic artist to design your cover and interior book in several formats depending on your projected sales channels. Because the quality of your cover translates to sales, examine your prospective artist’s website and be certain that the artist is experienced in book design. Some designers will provide you with formats for print and eBooks.
- Take care of business.
- File a Library of Congress Control Number, https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/
- register with the Copyright Office. http://www.copyright.gov/eco/
- copyright FAQ’s http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html
- Purchase ISBN’s from Bowker https://www.myidentifiers.com/get-your-isbn-now Complete your metadata on their website (title, cover, contributors, format, size, sales, pricing) and make sure that your book appears in Books in Print as a result of your filing. Print books and eBooks require separate ISBN numbers. These numbers must be on your copyright page so that your book is indistinguishable from a quality book published by any of the traditional publishing houses.
- Create your own imprint and list it as the publisher on all your dealings with every agency. My imprint is Dameliam Books. That is my publisher, not Create Space or some other agency’s name. When asked who published my book, I say, “Dameliam Books.”
- Use Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data if you have a publishing company and prior published work. http://www.loc.gov/publish/cip/ When the book is published, put the CIP data on the copyright page, thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers. As in #5 above, the data must appear on your copyright page.
- Upload your PDF/ePub/Mobi to all the vendors for your book. I used Ingram Spark for libraries and bookstores, Amazon for paper and eBook, Kobo, Nook, and iBook.
The Big Players
There are numerous options for self-publishing if you want to entrust your work to a major player for production and fulfillment. Here are a few.
- Create Space/Kindle
- Ingram Spark
- Bowker for self-help packages
- Lulu for self-help packages
- Smashwords for self-help packages and fulfillment
Complete Package Production Companies
There is no dearth of companies who will edit and design your book. Some will also upload to fulfillment sites. I make no recommendations for these companies, because of the range of integrity, quality, and legitimacy. Suggestions:
- Ask each company a set list of questions.
- Compare costs and return on investment.
- Ask others. On-line forums often discuss this issue.
- Read about self-publishing scams or deals that are too good to be true. Here are sites to begin.
Alliance of Independent Authors https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org
$99 per year for self-published authors and $75 per year for aspiring self publishers
Independent Book Publishers Association https://www.ibpa-online.org
$129 per year
Books, Periodicals, and Guidance
It’s wise to study and learn from others. Here are a few suggestions:
- Green-Light Your Book by Brooke Warner
- Self-Publishers Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick
- Writer’s Digest magazine
- IBPA Independent magazine
- The Book Designerhttps://www.thebookdesigner.com
- On-line Groups for sharing, learning: Join on-line forums under Facebook and Linked In