No matter how you decide to self-publish your book, you go through a similar publishing process. That means you take certain steps, or complete certain tasks at particular points, as you—the publisher—usher your idea into its new, final status as “published book.”
As you blogged your book, you published it once already—in post-sized bits. However, as a print or ebook, your book takes on a new publishing status. So, let’s look at how it gets there.
The Self-Publishing Process (From Blogged book to Print Book)
Here are the basic steps you will take to produce a printed book:
- Evaluate the marketability of your idea: To do this I suggest you use my Author Training Process, which uses a book proposal as a tool to evaluate your idea for viability. (It also helps you create a business plan and writing plan for your book, two important steps in the process. Since they aren’t imperative, I haven’t included them, but they will help you produce a successful book.) You can read my forthcoming book, The Author’s Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books , February 2014) or take my Author Training 101 class to find out more about how to evaluate yourself and your idea or how to create a business plan and writing guide for a successful and marketable book.
- Write your book: In this case, you are blogging your book. So you will create a writing plan that includes chunking your content into post-sized bits, creating a manuscript and publishing your book on your blog as you write it. You could just create a manuscript. In either case, you want your manuscript to target your market and be unique and necessary in your category (even if it is fiction).
- Revise your book: It’s always a good idea to reread and edit your own work. You might even have beta readers or a critique group give you feedback before you move on.
- Have your manuscript professionally edited: No matter how good a writer you are, you need an editor. Hiring one ensures that your book meets the same quality standards as traditionally published books. You may need developmental, line, copy, or substantive editor—or all of them, as well as a proofreader. Don’t skimp here even though this step can be costly.
- Have your book’s cover professionally designed: Just like editing, you need your cover to meet traditional publishing standards. Some readers purchase books based only on the cover. Don’t skimp here.
- Have your book’s interior professionally designed: The interior of a book may look simple, but it still must appear professional and legible. You want something nice. These days you can purchase professional templates based on Word, such as those at BookDesignTemplates.com, but you should consider hiring a designer.
- Create an account with a printer: Once you decide how to print your book, you will probably have to set up an account with that printer. This may not be true with some printers, but with the Amazon and Lightening Source, for instance, you will need to do so. You will then work with the printer to order you book; this involves letting them know what size your want your book, how many books you want to purchase, what type of paper you want to print on, etc. If you are selling on Amazon, you’ll set up an Author Central account.
- Purchase ISBN numbers and barcodes: Your book will need an ISBN and barcode. These are easily purchased at Bowker.com. It’s cheapest to buy a set of 10 ISBNs if you plan to produce more than one book or a book and an ebook. Barcodes are cheaper from other providers.
- Upload or send artwork to your printer: When you are ready to print, you will upload your cover art and interior art for your printer. They take it from there.
- Proof and print your book: You will receive a final proof of your book. Then it is time to print.
The Self-Publishing Process (From Blogged Book to Ebook)
The self-publishing process does not change much if you produce an ebook rather than a print book. You might not need a professional designer to produce an interior book design, but you will need to have your manuscript converted. So, the basic steps to produce an ebook are:
- Evaluate the marketability of your idea.
- Write your book.
- Revise your book.
- Have your manuscript professionally edited.
- Have your book’s cover professionally designed.
- (Optional: Have your book’s interior professionally designed.)
- Create an account with an ebook distributor/producer.
- Have your manuscript converted—either by the ebook distribution/production company or by some other company or with some other tool.
- Purchase ISBN numbers (no need for barcodes).
- Upload or send artwork to ebook distributor/producer.
- Proof and produce your book.
Do you think there are more steps involved? If so, leave me a comment and tell me what should be added.
Image credit: kharlamova / 123RF Stock Photo