Step Two – What do you need to self-publish?
So, you’ve decided to self publish, or are curious about what is involved.
Remember self-publishing means you are in charge of every step of the process.
As with all things, research is key. There are many books out there that will instruct you on how to go about self publishing and they will go into way more detail than I will.
(Please note I purchased these books myself and I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning them here on the blog.)
Two of the books I picked up are:
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing – Tom & Marilyn Ross
The Self Publishing Manual – Dan Poynter
These are both in-depth and take you step by step through the process of putting a book together.
But, since we don’t have time to read 1k plus pages of material, here is a short list of the key things you will need to do as a self-publisher.
1) Write the book.
That’s pretty obvious, but hey, if you aren’t finished with this step, you aren’t ready to self publish. Actually, your book should have been through multiple revisions and rounds through a critiquing group before you even consider self-publishing.
Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more editing or revisions, but, like with querying for the traditional route, you want to start with something you feel is 100% ready.
2) Have a Pro, edit the book.
Your book may have been several rounds with a critique group and you may have a masters in English, but don’t send out a book that hasn’t had a pro look at it. Self-Publishing is already looked down on, don’t give reviewers another reason to put a nail in your coffin.
3) Printing and Distribution.
Unless you plan on going door to door with a stack of books, you want a printer who can distribute to the big guys like Amazon.com
(Oh, I should mention I am working with the assumption you are using a POD model. That is where your printer is printing a copy for each order processed. This means no worries about warehousing.)
I chose Lightening Source.
Now, lightening source is a major POD printer, but they don’t like to work directly with authors. They prefer companies. Here is a spot you might want to think about. Do you set yourself up as a company and deal directly with them? Or do you find other POD services out there?
That is something only you can answer.
If you do choose the company route, I would suggest creating a LLC (better liability protection) or you can do a Sole-Proprietorship or DBA.
You can also use Amazon’s Create Space/Book Surge to have your books put together and distributed. Check with them on what services they offer too.
No matter what you choose, you want to have your printer selected before you move on to further steps in the book process. Each printer will require things to be formatted specifically for them. They will also tell you what trim sizes and paper selections you can use. This information will be extremely helpful when moving on to Cover design and book layout.
4) Book Layout.
This can be done in word, but it is quite a frustrating process. The layout is how you book will look when printed; all of those fun little details like: headers and footers, font, page breaks, page size, margins, etc…
You can hire out for this, or you can look for programs that help you do it yourself. I found one on Self-pub.net that was quite helpful.
Now, remember that each different format you decide to put your work into will have different layout requirements (see your printers FAQ’s for specifics). Before you finish this step and move on to the next, you will want to know and have a layout for each respective format.
As a cost saving tip, I’d suggest dropping the Hardbound version for your first attempt. Ebook and Paperback are plenty.
5) Book Cover Design.
Finding a reasonably priced designer can be a fun venture. Do your research and ask around to find your designers. Social networking sites like Facebook are wonderful for this, there are lots of groups out there with aspiring novelist, they are a wealth of information and leads.
One note to remember here, your designer will want to know some things before they make your cover. I learned this the hard way. Know what your book dimensions will be before this step. Know the page count, know the size of the book, paper or Hb. Do your book layout first.
Every book has one so you will have to purchase these.
7) PCN or LCCN.
If you want your book able to be on library shelves, you will need one of these numbers.
Please note, you will have to send them a copy of the final product after publication.
File online! Yay!
Next, on to step 3 – Putting it together.