Congratulations! You’ve finished your book and made the decision to self-publish it. You’ve done the hard work.
If you're ready to go, start building your basic publishing package now.
1. Prepare your manuscript for publication – the most important and overlooked step!
If you were Dan Brown, would your manuscript be edited? Absolutely!
Yet the editing process is perhaps the most misunderstood step in book production.
When a major publisher accepts a manuscript from an author, they do not rush it to print. Instead the manuscript goes through a rigorous editing and proofing to ensure that the finished book is polished and professional. That’s why reading is such a pleasure for most of us – we aren’t reading the raw text, but a professionally edited and formatted book.
There are three basic types of editing to consider for a manuscript. None are services that you must pay for – plenty of authors work with trusted friends or family to polish their work. But NO author will be able to look at his or her own work and prepare it for printing. By the time a manuscript is complete, writers are so familiar with it that their eyes will pass over even obvious grammatical mistakes and their brains will supply any missing information. And this means you!
A second (and sometimes third and fourth) set of eyes on your writing will spot errors you may have glazed over. And making those changes now will save you the embarrassment of printing books having mistaken “there” for “their.”
So take another look at your finished manuscript with a printed book copy in mind.
Your book deserves no less. During the process of writing the book, you’ve probably gotten feedback from friends or family about the book's content, and you’ve probably done some rewriting. If you are close to print, it would be a good time to give it to a few trusted friends or a professional editor for review. Ask them to look for consistency in character and plot, and to highlight redundancies as well as grammatical questions. Ask them where they might stumble or where they were left hanging. Listen to their comments with an open mind, and pay particular attention to those that are consistent from different readers. Revise if necessary BEFORE you have the manuscript copy-edited.
2. Decide on a self-publishing method
There are lots of options for self-publishing these days, and many services that offer assistance. The important thing is that you find a choice that fits your needs and budget. If you are technically savvy, comfortable handling design files and PDFs, it’s possible to publish without employing a service, but most authors find that paying upfront costs for services leaves them more time to focus on the important things: final edits, design and marketing.
If you decide to publish on your own, some services offer free templates and walk you through the steps to upload your content. But be advised, most word-processing programs do not make beautiful books, and unless you have access to a design program, you risk all your hard work being overlooked because of amateurish type and layout.
3. Invest in professional book design, including cover and interior formatting.
Cover design and interior layout are critical for the success of your book. After all, you’re competing for market space, whether it’s online or on shelves. An original cover that matches your interior layout and formatting will make your book stand out.
4. Determine how you will print and distribute your book.
Your book needs to reach readers. If you are counting on delivering hard copies to stores, be prepared for a lot of phone time, as well as shipping and packing expenses. If your book will be available by special order, plan to spend your time generating publicity and excitement.
5. Develop a marketing strategy
After all this hard work, you need readers! Spend some time now determining how you will market your book. Most authors will want some type of an online presence; a website, a blog or a facebook presence. The options are limitless and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so spend some time now coming up with an affordable and reasonable marketing strategy.