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So You Want to Publish a Book?

Updated: 2 days ago

Are you thinking about publishing your own book? Self-publishing has become popular for authors who want to maintain creative control over their work and reach a broader audience. But where do you start? Here are the 15 steps you can follow to publish a self-published book.


I recently had a book consultation with a young woman (yes, on top of everything else, I do those too). After repeating myself for the 100th time, It dawned on me that I should probably blog about this topic to share this information more efficiently.



But not only for those reasons. When I decided to publish my first book, I had no idea what I was doing. If it weren't for the few folks I met along the way willing to share their tips and tricks on what they learned to publish a book successfully, I would have made many mistakes. So here I am, paying it forward.


Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

To be clear, this blog post will only cover the roadmap to self-publishing. When seeking to get traditionally published, it's a whole other ballgame! The good news is that if you're an "average Joe" like me, becoming traditionally published is not impossible—especially if you self-publish well (I hope to have some great news to share on this point in a future blog).


So what is the secret sauce to self-publishing? Here are my Cliffs Notes. Use them wisely.


1. Research your target audience


Before writing your book, you need to identify your target audience. Who are you writing for? What age group or demographic do you want to appeal to? Researching your audience will help you determine your book's tone, style, and content.


2. Research industry standards


Books have different industry standards for word count, page length, and formatting. For example, a children's book has less word count and more illustrations than a memoir. Researching industry standards will help ensure your book meets expectations and stands out in your genre.


3. Consider costs


Self-publishing can be expensive, so it's important to consider costs before you start. You should budget for editing, cover design, printing, and marketing. You may also need to invest in tools like a website or social media advertising. Make a budget and research the costs associated with self-publishing your book. Remember that costs can vary depending on the length of your book, the number of copies you want to print, and the quality of services you need.


Consider crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe to help cover some of these costs. Crowdfunding allows you to take pre-orders and raise funds from supporters who believe in your project. It can be a great way to finance your self-publishing venture and build a community of supporters around your book.


4. Research online resources for self-publishing


There are many online resources available to help self-publishing authors. Websites like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, IngramSpark, and Draft2Digital offer formatting, distribution, and marketing tools. Do some research to find the best platform for your book. The Reedsy website is also a great tool for first-time authors. Remember, Google is your friend.


5. Start to establish an online presence


In today's digital age, having a social presence is crucial for authors. Start building your online author brand by creating a website and social media accounts for your book. This way, when you're ready to promote your upcoming book, you have a platform to share your progress, updates, and teasers. You wouldn't wait until the baby is born to introduce him to the world. Start announcing your upcoming "book baby" earlier in the process.


6. Start your outline and draft


Before you start writing, it's essential to outline your book clearly. Begin with the end in mind and create a roadmap for your story. Once you have a solid outline, start writing your draft. Remember, your first draft doesn't have to be perfect - getting your ideas down on paper is more important.


7. Go through your rounds of editing


After you've finished your first draft, it's time to edit. Go through your rounds of editing to refine your manuscript and eliminate any typos or errors. Consider using software like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, or Hemingway to help you write.


8. Get feedback on your manuscript


Once you've gone through your rounds of self-editing, consider hiring a professional editor and enlisting beta readers to help you refine your manuscript. A fresh set of eyes will help catch any mistakes you may have missed and provide valuable feedback on your writing style and overall story. Editing is a crucial step in the publishing process. You should consider different types of editing, including developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Be sure to read the fine print before signing any contract for professional services.


9. Legalize your business and protect your work


Legalizing your business by registering as a corporation or sole proprietorship is important if you plan to sell your self-published book. This will help protect your personal assets and provide liability protection for your business. Additionally, registering your business can make filing your taxes easier and help you to get hired for author visits within the public school system once your book is published.


10. Find an illustrator or book designer


If your book requires illustrations or formatting, you'll need to find an illustrator or designer. Consider hiring a professional or working with an art student or hobbyist. Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want your illustrations to look like before you start the search, and get recommendations on anyone you plan to hire. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Painted Words, Advocate Art, MB Artists, The Bright Agency, and 99designs are great places to begin your search.


11. Choose your printing method


You have two main options for printing your book: print on demand (POD) or offset printing. POD allows you to print books as they are ordered, while offset printing requires a more significant upfront investment but can be more cost-effective for larger print runs. Research the pros and cons of each method to decide which one is right for you.


12. Avoid common mistakes


There are many common mistakes that first-time self-publishing authors make. These include rushing the editing process, neglecting marketing, and not having a clear vision for the book. Please do your research and learn from others' mistakes to avoid making them yourself. Remember, "haste makes waste," so don't force yourself into completing your project under unrealistic expectations. Take the time needed to publish your book.


13. Connect with other authors


Making friends with other authors in your genre can be a valuable resource on your publishing journey. They can offer tips, tricks, events, conferences, and other resources that may help you along the way. Consider joining author groups on social media platforms or attending local writing groups or conferences to connect with like-minded individuals. Building a network of peers can be both rewarding and beneficial in the long run.


14. Invest in book coaching


Despite all your research, self-publishing can be a daunting task. If you're struggling with the process, consider investing in a course, program, or 1:1 coaching to help you reach your goals. Book coaching can provide valuable insights, support, and guidance to ensure you publish the book you want with the quality you desire.


15. Enjoy the process!


Self-publishing can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Remember to enjoy the process and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. You've worked hard to bring your book to life and should be proud of your achievement.


In Summary

1. Research your target audience

2. Research industry standards

3. Consider costs

4. Research online resources for self-publishing

5. Start to establish an online presence

6. Start your outline and draft

7. Go through your rounds of editing

8. Get feedback on your manuscript

9. Legalize your business and protect your work

10. Find an illustrator or book designer

11. Choose your printing method

12. Avoid common mistakes

13. Connect with other authors

14. Invest in book coaching

15. Enjoy the process!


There you have it! These steps should help you navigate self-publishing and bring your book to a broader audience. Best of luck with your publishing journey!


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With Love,

Dominique


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1 Comment


Donald Everett Gay
Donald Everett Gay
Jun 27, 2023

A fantastic website. Gives me the ideas and pointers I need to start a self publishing adventure. I will come back to your site as I go along.

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