Technology has made it easy for authors wondering how to self-publish a book. Self-publishing offers a cost-effective way to share your book with the masses and make a bit of money off of your writing. Whether you are hoping to self-publish a print book or electronic version, here are eight tips on how to self-publish a book.
8 Tips for Self-Publishing a Book
- Get Your Book Edited
- Consider Your Book Cover Design Carefully
- Look Out for Overly Expensive Services
- Purchase an ISBN
- Find a Good Book Distributor
- Market Your Book
- Be Realistic
- Make Friends
1. Get Your Book Edited
Professional editing is a must. No book is perfect, but editorial assistance can help you get a lot closer. There are a lot of different kinds of edits, so be sure you know which you need before you hire an editor. Developmental editors check your book for flow and consistency. They suggest revisions when something about the language doesn’t seem right. Copyeditors correct spelling mistakes and adjust grammar. Editors are necessary in the self-publishing process.
2. Consider Your Book Cover Design Carefully
Your book cover design is an important tool for marketing your book to readers. With great print quality and a good cover design, no one will be able to tell your self-published book from one that’s published by a major traditional publisher. It’s good to educate yourself on what makes a good book cover design, but if you aren’t a designer by trade, it’s also best to hire a professional.
3. Look Out for Overly Expensive Services
There are a lot of self-publishing scams out there that will "publish" your book and never do a thing with it. There are also a lot of publishers that offer "turn-key" services. Be sure you do your research and utilize recommendations from trusted industry publications, self-publishing associations, and your fellow authors.
4. Purchase an ISBN
An ISBN provides important data about your book to booksellers and labels you as the publisher. You need an ISBN if you want to sell your book. Also, be weary of self-publishing platforms that offer “free” ISBNs. Purchasing your own ISBN ensures that you have full control over it.
5. Find a Good Book Distributor
Distributors vary widely in price and services. Print-on-demand services like IngramSpark are some of the most cost-effective methods of distribution for self-publishing a book. Instead of paying to have hundreds of copies printed at once, your book is only printed when it’s ordered. In addition, IngramSpark’s distribution reach to online retailers and physical retailers is unmatched.
6. Market Your Book
If you aren’t a major public figure, it’s unrealistic to think you can publish your book and the world will just stumble upon it. Making sure your book metadata is as good as it can be is one way for people to discover your book organically online, but you still have to promote your book in order for it to succeed. You can do this via guerrilla marketing efforts, book reviews, book publicity, social media advertising, and so much more. Be sure to plan your book promotion and get a handle on your book marketing strategy before you publish your book for the best results.
7. Be Realistic
The self-publishing revolution has made it so that anyone with a story can publish a book, which resulted in a flood of content on top of all of the books published by traditional publishers each year, which is to say, you most likely won’t sell millions of copies or be a New York Times bestseller, but there are plenty of realistic author goals you can achieve, so be thoughtful about what goals you set for yourself and your book and then put steps in place to achieve them. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and business savvy.
8. Make Friends
Yes, writing tends to be a solitary activity, but rubbing elbows with other authors and professionals in the writing community can have some big perks. They may be willing to give you endorsements for your book or help get the word out. You’ll also want to make friends with the booksellers at your local independent bookstore and the librarians in your local library. These people are very influential when it comes to recommending your book to readers and helping you grow your audience. Book people are the best people, and it never hurts to know as many as possible.