We live in an age where technology and its advancements have helped make our lives so much more easier and simpler. Printing or getting your book published used to be such a hassle back in the old days. But now thanks to technology and the easy access to it by the general public, one does not need to go through the ordeals of the past. Technology has brought up a whole new breed of publishing; Self-Publishing.
If you have a great idea for a book and good writing skills, you can have a book professionally published and made available to the general public. The process is called self-publishing and it’s an involved project. The following are the major steps involved with the self-publishing process. The type of book, your time and financial commitment, and the publishing process used will affect the order and time it takes for to you complete these main steps.
- Start by developing an idea, an idea that will run the main story line of your book. Remember just because you know English doesn’t mean you can write a story spanning 1000-40,000 words. You have to be creative and must have knowledge about the matters associated with your idea. Half knowledge about anything can be dangerous, thus research is a full proof method that always helps get proper information if conducted mindfully from reliable sources. Do a lot of research to make sure that your idea is viable on a full length book.
- Define your target audience.
- Create a detailed outline for the book’s content.
- Write the manuscript.
- Get the manuscript proofread by professional proofreaders. It is next to impossible for us to proofread our own work because when we read we tend to read what we think we wrote, which makes it difficult to find our own mistakes. Thus it helps to have professionals proofread your work as they have trained in finding those common mistakes that we would otherwise overlook. If hiring a professional is not an option for you due to budgetary constraints, then you can ask some of your writer friends to have a look at your work. Hiring a professional maybe expensive but if you want your book to survive in the market out there amongst so many others then getting it proofread by a professional is totally worth the price.
- Seeking blurbs: A blurb is a short summary or promotional piece accompanying a creative work. You can get one from a well known author or a public figure who works in a literary field. You will have to request two or more authors to read your manuscript and provide their feed-back. It is these feed-backs that will make up the blurbs for your book.
- Choose a self-publishing option, such as offset printing or Print-On-Demand (POD), and then hire a printer and/or a publisher.
- Apply for an ISBN: An ISBN is the unique identifier for your book. It’s possible to buy one ISBN number, and even possible to obtain a free ISBN number. But unless you’ve only got one book in you, or you want to only publish through Amazon, it makes much more sense to buy your own ISBNs and to buy them in blocks. Your ISBN number holds the title of your book and the required information about your book.
- Obtain copyright and other book-specific information if necessary. (This step may be handled for you, depending on the publishing process you choose and the company you work with).
- Set the cover price for your book.
- Select a publication date.
- Have the manuscript’s interior pages designed and laid out.
- Hire a graphic designer to create your book’s front and back covers. If you’re not a designer or artistically inclined, I recommend working with a designer to create your cover. No matter how many times you say it, ‘Never Judge a Book by its Cover’ that’s exactly what readers do while purchasing books. It’s also a good idea to study the sub-genre you’re writing in to make sure you’re creating a cover in the style that will signal to your potential readers that this is a book they’ll like.
Writing the book’s jacket copy:
- Designing the rear part of your book’s jacket is never easy. You have to a write a short description of your book, which is not so easy because you have to keep in mind the space available for the summary and the extra blurbs that you might sometimes receive. Remember the rear portion of your books jacket has to hold minimal valuable information about your book that will help the reader decide whether or not to buy your book. Minimal information because, while purchasing the reader will not have much time to go through a long description and will easily toss your book aside out of annoyance. This is why a short description helps. Believe me, this is the place where less is more.
- Develop press materials for your book.
- Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign.
- Develop a Web site to promote your book. This can be done by creating press kits. A Press Kit is a single page that has a description of the book, a small image of the book cover, selected blurbs and reviews, the author’s picture and biography, purchase details, and contact information.
- Begin pre-selling your book (pre-selling includes sending out press materials, promoting the book to distributors, lining up booksellers to sell the book, taking out ads, and so on).
- Have your book listed with online retailers.
- Publish the book and ship it to consumers, booksellers, retailers, and distributors (as appropriate).
- Continue promoting and marketing your book as you take orders
It may seem like a daunting task when you start, but taking all these steps will give you a much better chance of making yourself successful in the new world of self-publishing. There are tons of great writers out there who have made quite a lot of money by taking the self-publishing route, but it won’t happen to everybody! So set yourself up for success and it’s a lot more likely to come your way.
Percy Parry interns with CinnamonTeal Publishing.