Last week we told you about six successful writers in the self-publishing world, both past and present. So this week we’ll tell you how you, too, can publish your own book. There are about a million ways to do this, so to make things a little easier, we’ve broken it down into two bite-sized posts: The print option and the eBook option. Today we’ll focus on print.
So what are the benefits of self-publishing in general? It’s affordable, you make more of the profit, and you have more control. Now that all sounds great, but there is one drawback and it’s a big one: you have to do all of the work in getting it out there.
So if you’re a writer at heart and you’re wondering if self-publishing is the road for you, check out the steps below.
1) Determine your goal. Decide who you want to read your book and how many copies you’ll need. Do you want just enough to hand out to co-workers, family, and friends, or are you going for a larger audience? Of course you’ll have to decide whether you even want printed copies, but that’s coming up…
2) Make sure you’re not repeating something. Take a look around at different books in your genre to make sure A) you haven’t just come up with something that is already on the market, and B) how books similar to yours are selling. If you’ve written the latest and greatest Fiction about a family of cats, for example, but the market is not responding to Fictions about families of cats, well, you might want to re-think your story, or at least how you present it to people.
3) Determine your format. Okay, now you decide: hardcover, softcover, or eBook. Hardcover and softcover are your typical printed books. EBooks are online only and can be downloaded on peoples’ computers, tablets, phones, or eReaders. So here’s the lowdown on your options:
- Printed books are slower to reach the market. It can take weeks or months until they become available to major book resellers
- EBooks books have a huge variety of formats
- Either way, if you’re a self-published author, you’ll need to be ONLINE to promote, promote, promote, and then promote some more, because with self-publishing, you are essentially a one-man team.
1) Check out print-on-demand publishers. If your only concern is getting the book published, vanity presses like Trafford, iUniverse, and Lulu will do the job for a price. According to David Carnoy, a self-published success himself, LuLu is ideal for those wishing to do it themselves with its step-by-step instructions and no upfront fees.
2) Check out the competition. This will help you to determine what size, format, style, etc. you want your book to take. Also, sometimes format sizes can affect which print-on-demand publisher you’ll be able to work with. (Ex: Lulu does not offer a 5.25×8 inch option, the standard for trade paperback novels.)
3) Design your book cover. If you’re not artistically inclined, you might actually consider hiring a graphic designer (even if it is just a friend, family member, or co-worker) to do the job. The expression “you can’t judge a book by its cover” does not apply here, because most people do. If you don’t want your book to look like it was self-published, spend the time and money on the cover. If this is where you are, check out Business Insider’s tips on how to hire a graphic designer. [please give an alternative.. what about proposing your project to an art college or graphic design students?
4) Request an ISBN number. This is just the standard code for identifying your book—it makes it official! You can request one at ISBN.org, but be prepared to pay for going official: $150 plus a processing fee.
5) Distribute your book. Some print-on-demand companies will handle this for you by shipping your books to the stores, people, places that you request or that request them themselves. This will cost a bit more, but your other option is having the books shipped to you and getting them out there yourself.
If you are the one distributing your books, try local bookstores first. Some bookstores will accept a limited number of your books on consignment, where you leave them and if they get sold, you’ll get a majority of the profit. If they don’t sell, you’ll just pick them up at a later date.
Be sure to spread the word through friends, family, co-workers, and take full advantage of social media. Tweet about your book, talk about it on Facebook, and promote, promote, promote! Try WordPress or Weebly to create a website just for your book—these sites are free.
For more on self-publishing, in print or online, check out this great article with 25 things you need to know, and don’t forget to come back next week when we’ll go over your options for publishing your book online.
Have you written a book, or are you interested in doing so? What are your thoughts on self-publishing?