Self publishing a book is popular for many reasons. Securing a traditional publishing contract may not work for you Äī they're hard to get, and you give up a lot of rights when you finally do get one. Self-publishing should allow you to retain more rights over the final product, offer the product at a substantially lower cost, and give you an outlet to do traditional marketing and advertising yourself. No matter what your reason, self publishing is a great way to make your book available to anybody interested. Read on for a discussion of the different ways that you can self-publish a book.
Part 1 of 4: Writing, Proofing, Designing, and Copywriting
Know that writing a book takes lots of hard work and time. You could spend anywhere from 4 to 12 hours a day writing, for a period of a several months to a year. If you're serious about writing, allocate a significant portion of the day in order to brainstorm, write, and revise.
- Many writers find that they are most productive and imaginative right when they get up in the morning. Find out what time of the day works for you and set aside time during that period to write.
- Don't forget to read while you write. Reading is the superfood that keeps writers nourished. Set aside time during your day, if you haven't already, to seriously engage with books and the ideas in them.
- Be prepared. Self publishing takes a lot of initiative and drive. Remember that it is your passion for getting the book out to the public that will carry you through the frustrations you will most certainly encounter along the way. That being said, self-publishing can be an exciting and profitable venture.
- Explore your options. Decide if self publishing is the right choice for you. Talk to a few publishing companies and compare cost to benefit ratio. List the reasons why you want to self-publish your book, and get an estimate on how much it will cost; cover art, editing and formatting can all be quite expensive. Determine whether the reason you're publishing is strong enough to outweigh the cost, and providing that it does, keep going.
- A breakdown of the rough costs of self-publishing may look like this:
- Formatting: $0 (DIY) - $150 and beyond, although you shouldn't be spending lots of money here.
- Cover art design: $0 (DIY) - $3,000+. Know that if you opt for an e-book creation business, they'll likely just use stock photos.
- Editing: $0 (DIY) - $3,000 for "developmental" (substantive) editing. Many first-time publishers expect to pay around $500 for a combination of proofreading and copyediting.
- Proof your book. Make sure that it is complete, well-edited, and thoroughly proofread. You might give a manuscript out to a few trusted friends who will give you valuable feedback, and talk with you about facts, or motivations for the characters, or other minutiae about your book.
- If you're part of a writing community or a frequent participant on a forum, consider using that forum as a source of free (or relatively free) advice. Forums feature dedicated fans who are inspired to help other people along the way, and for whom proofing might be a huge source of pride.
- Proofing often takes several go-arounds until all the errors, formatting mistakes, and stylistic boo-boos are wrinkled out. Especially if you are relying on someone's free services, it could take two or three read-throughs to get the book proofed. Even then, don't expect it to be flawless.
- Hire an editor. Hire a good one that will give you the best feedback and improve your work relative to how much they cost. Decide on whether you need developmental editing or copyediting. Developmental editing is where large swaths of the book are changed, new themes are introduced, and characters are smoothed out, in addition to humdrum mistake-finding. Copyediting is largely the humdrum mistake-finding; is more about toying with what's already there instead of creating something entirely new.
- Create a good title. If you haven't done so already, create a title that will pull people in. The title of your book can sway people to buy your book Äī or not. For example, "The Guided Consumption of Bacterium-injected Milk Byproducts and Apidaen Excretions" does not sound nearly as appealing as "The Delicious Delight of Gorgonzola and Honey."
- Get a designer to do a professional cover design. Unless you are an artist and can do it yourself, hire a professional. They will be quick, and will help your book have visual appeal.
- This is especially important if it's on a shelf at the book store. Expect to pay not just for the cover art, but also for the spine and back cover as well, which will cost extra. If you're going through all this, however, it makes sense to have the very best presentation you can have.
- Add copyright language. Though submitting your work to the copyright office is the safest and best way, you can claim copyright by stating it explicitly, in a prominent location. Most self-publishing sites will provide the copyright language. For example, in the credits page, or back cover, adding ¬©2012, Ima Nauther, all rights reserved to declare the work your own, is sufficient. Follow up by visiting the government's copyright page and filling out the requisite forms.
- Get an ISBN number. An ISBN number is a 13 digit code used to easily identify and track your book. Many self-publishing sites will provide one for you, but if you plan on publishing entirely by your own, you should acquire one for yourself. You will need this so that your books can be listed in the Bowker database where bookstores pick up latest books for retailing.
- You can buy an ISBN direct from ISBN but beware, a single ISBN is $125. ISBNs also come in bundles if you're trying to be economical. 10 ISBNs cost $250, 100 cost $575 and 1000 cost $1000.
- You will need an ISBN for each format the book will be in: .prc (kindle), .epub (Kobo and others), etc.
- Find a printer. Shop around and get quotes. Prices will vary depending on the quality of the paper, the binding, and colors. Your price per book will be lower the more copies you print. Consider about 500 to 2000 copies.
- Instead of doing a print run, you can opt for print on demand books through such places as Create Space and Blurb.