Are you ready to improve your writing skills? Writing a book is one of the ultimate forms of validation–especially if you can make your way to a bestsellers list or two.
Many writers feel intimidated by the many hoops they must jump through in order to work for a publishing company. It can be difficult to manage everything, from negotiating terms to compromise your work to managing the middle man.
Good news! You have many opportunities to be a self-published author. This path is not without its challenges. This path will require you to be thorough, prepared, and willing to work hard.
This article will provide a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know if you plan to self-publish your book.
Step 1: Market research for your book
Self-publishing a book is like most things. You need to do market research. This involves looking at the work of others, evaluating their strengths, identifying untapped areas and establishing their ideal reader. Although you might be apprehensive about the idea of conducting research, it is important to understand your audience in order to make your book more profitable.
Market research is essential for your book.
Identify your genre. Genre is more than the book’s category. The genre can affect aspects such as story structure, writing style and verbiage. A children’s book might call a beautiful outfit “beautiful, charming” while a murder mystery might call it “glitzy and glamorous.” Knowing the details of your genre will help you to better understand how to write for your audience.
Find your niche. When researching your genre, be sure to look for areas that are not covered by other writers. You can get insight from readers by reading comments on review sites and discussion boards.
Examine your competitors. Analyzing the strategies of others doing the same job as you is called competitive analysis. You can learn from the success stories of other authors by looking at bestseller lists and book clubs. You can see the values they represent or the way they stand out from others.
Step 2: Edit the manuscript
Budding authors often find editing a manuscript to be the most difficult part of their work. It is possible to never see your work finished and can easily lose yourself in endless rewrites or additions. Self-publishing doesn’t give you the same access to professional proofreaders as you would get through an agency. Your main editor will be you.
These steps will ensure that your book looks as polished and professional as it would from a major publisher.
Check out your manuscript
Before you share your first draft with anyone else, make sure that you read it aloud, just as if your audience is reading it. Although it may seem overwhelming to go through the entire document again, it will allow you to see everything from start-to-finish and give you a new perspective. Based on your findings, you can polish your work or make changes to it.
Your intended audience should read your manuscript
Look online for review sites or message boards that will allow you to post your manuscript. These people are known as “beta-readers” and often hang out on forums such as Absolute Write Water Cooler and My Writers Circle. You can find someone who loves the same genre as you and ask them for feedback. This step doesn’t aim to correct typos or fix mechanical errors, but rather to gain an overall impression of the book’s useability.
Hiring a freelance editor
You should make this your final step, since you don’t want someone else to fix the small mistakes you made. After you have completed your work and at least one other beta reader has checked it, you can give it to an editor for a professional review. Reedsy offers great editing talent that specializes in different genres. Upwork allows you to hire editors within your budget. You can hire a freelance editor to professionally edit your manuscript.
Step 3: Make a book cover that is eye-catching
While the old saying says not to judge books by their covers, many people do. Your book’s cover will influence how people perceive you. This will happen in brick-and mortar shops, online stores, marketplaces, and any other places where they will find it.
You can either design the cover yourself, or hire someone to do it for you.
Is the text clearly visible?
The front image is important because it draws attention to the book. However, other important elements such as the title of the book and your name are not overlooked. You should make the title clear and easily visible without using any color or graphics. A simple font with solid letters will always prevail over a complicated and difficult to read script.
Does the design look cohesive?
Design coherence is a key component of the spine and back cover of your book. These may not be apparent in thumbnails but the physical incantation will reveal the design of the back cover. Many readers care about how the spine looks on their bookshelf. To ensure consistency, the spine design should be the same as the front cover.
Is the cover image clear?
Use a simple graphic, such a photograph or piece of art. A cover that features a confusing or too colorful image can make it difficult for potential buyers to buy. You should also consider how the image will appear when rendered. The cover image should be able to be rendered to a thumbnail size if you plan to sell your book online.
You can hire a designer using freelance resources such as Upwork and Reedsy. To help you choose the best artist to capture your vision, make sure you review all portfolios. Do you prefer to do it yourself? You have many options to bring your cover ideas to life with tools like Visme, Fotor and Fotor.
Step 4: Select a platform for self-publishing
Now you are ready to turn your entire book into a physical product that you can sell to wholesalers and retailers. You need to think about the self-publishing platform that you will use to go from draft to final enactment. There are several ways to do this.
Self-publishing with print on Demand
Print-on-demand is a great option if you don’t have enough space for several copies of your book. This allows you to use a third-party publisher for printing and shipping your books at the point they are sold.
Print on Demand is a great option for self-publishers. It saves time and money as you can outsource production and distribution to a third-party.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to self-publish on Amazon
Amazon’s self-publishing platform Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows users to print their books at the point of sale. KDP’s interface makes it easy to use. Amazon also suggests books for readers whose interests match those of the published genres.
What is the cost of using KDP?
KDP prints-on-demand fulfillment means that you don’t pay any charges until you have sold a book. Paperbacks that are sold through KDP on Amazon will be subject to a 60% royalty rate. This means you’ll only earn 40% of the book’s list price. Your earnings will also include printing costs, which can vary depending on how many pages you have and the paper type. Amazon offers a royalty and printing cost calculator that you can use to calculate the final amount of royalties you will receive.
KDP has an ebook exclusivity clause. This is one of the disadvantages to KDP. KDP means that ebooks you sell on Amazon through KDP can’t be sold elsewhere.
Shopify and Lulu allow you to sell in-store
Lulu, a self-publishing platform, allows you to print and distribute your ebooks and paperbacks. Lulu offers many page types, bindings and sizes, giving you many options to make your cover or manuscript a physical item.
Lulu is a great tool for Shopify entrepreneurs who want to self-publish books. Shopify’s Lulu Direct app allows you to have books printed at the point-of-sale and shipped. This automates the core elements of your supply chain.
Step 5: Format your book
The format of a book is the way that text, pages, and chapters are laid out before printing begins. Your manuscript can be edited to perfection but format is important.
- The trim is the height and width of your pages.
- The font, font size and line spacing for the text
The book’s cover (everything before the story begins such as the title, author, and table of contents).
The back matter is everything that follows the story (such as appendices and indexes).
Your book must have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) in addition to these elements. This 13-digit code serves as an international reference number that can be used across all platforms. Self-publishers should also have an ISBN to prove ownership of the book’s contents.
Kindle Direct Publishing offers a free ISBN. You can request a universal ISBN if you are using another self-publishing platform.