The basic process for self-publishing a book is as follows:
Click to biggify the infographic.
Okay, done. I WISH it was that easy, don’t you? It is easier than you think but you need to understand each step of the process and how to maximize your time/resources at each step to truly succeed. I will outline the process from my own experiences and hopefully shed some light for those of you considering this route for publishing your book:
Step 1: Book Idea
You’ve got an awesome idea for a book. Great! Write down your idea and expand on it as much as possible. A very cool tool I’ve started using for my ideas is Evernote.
Step 2: Write Your Book
Duh. If you are going to publish a book, you’ve got to write it (unless you are Snooki). You must write, write, write, and write some more. Try to do it every day, if possible. The sooner you get your shitty first draft done, the sooner you can get to the good part: editing. WHAT? I hate that part!!
Step 3: Edit and Revise
Every writer hates this part with a passion but unfortunately, this is where your book gets good. It’s VERY SMART to hire an editor that not only knows grammar but also can give you an editorial evaluation. What the heck is that? Well, how good is your book? If you are writing fiction, are your characters believable? What is the plot pacing like: too fast, too slow, too confusing? If you are writing non-fiction, is your writing interesting or more like a lecture given by John Kerry? You need an objective, professional editor to review it, especially if you are hoping to sell it to complete strangers (not just your mom).
Step 4: Identify Your Ideal Reader
If you in fact want to make some money off all your blood, sweat, and tears, you are going to need to know the answer to this question: who is going to read your book? Imagine the actual person, is it a woman, aged 40-50 who lives in the United States and is a Democrat? The more detailed picture you have, the easier it will be to find your ideal reader(s) because you’ll have a good idea where they hang out based on who they are as a person. Then make sure your edits and revision reflect what that ideal reader wants. If the ideal reader is you (many authors write the stuff they want to read), would you want to read your book? If not, you’ve got a lot of work to do. If yes, then Yay for You!
Step 5: Decide What Format to Use When You Publish Your Book
Do you just want to see and hold your book in your hands? Do you want to load your book on a Kindle or Nook? Or do you want your book published in every form known to mankind? Once you decide, there are literally hundreds of options. Most people go with CreateSpace from Amazon for print books because…well, it’s Amazon. If you want to sell your printed book, that’s the place to be right now. You could also get your printed book published at Lulu.com, Blurb, and others. There are tons of ways to publish an eBook but you want to be aware of all the devices people will use to read your book: Kindle, Nook, iPad, phone, computer, and so on. There’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, BookBaby, Scribd, Booktango, and others.
Step 6: Create a Book Cover (Hire Someone!)
People DO judge a book based on it’s cover, especially these days. Don’t try to do it yourself unless you have a background in art or design, even then you should be focused on writing the best book you can NOT on designing a cover. You can find a book cover designer just by Googling. It’s better if you know someone but if you don’t, here’s some great resources: The Book Designer, How to Find a Good Book Cover Designer, or How Self-Published Authors Get Their Covers Right.
Step 7: Format the Book Interior
Most of the publishing sites like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing will have templates you can use to format your book interior. It can be a PAIN however if you cut and paste your manuscript from a word processing program (with its own formatting) into a template. You’ll have to do all kinds of adjusting to get it to work. This may be where you decide to hire someone to format the book for you. I did it myself and now I wish I had hired someone. Again, stick to your area of expertise (writing!) and let other people help you. This is where budget comes in but that’s a whole other blog post (coming soon). Here are a few book formatting professionals to check out: Go Published, Fast Fingers, 4 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid.
Step 8: Get a Website
You will need to buy a domain name. Period. You can either use the name of your book or your name. I used my name but others writers (especially those with sequels or triologies) insist on using the name of the their books. Then there’s the website hosting service, design, and content. I use WordPress.com and it was very quick for me to set up a site using a standard template. If you want something super fancy, HIRE SOMEONE! Do NOT do it yourself. You’ll waste countless hours trying to figure out the right HTML code for the color green. I’ve done it!! Here are a few website designers for authors to check out: Author Media, BookBaby, Bizango.
Step 9: Promote Your Book
You actually should start doing this as early as possible. This includes building your audience on every available Social Network there is…it’s NEVER too early to connect with potential readers. I am going to write a series of blog posts on promotion but just a few basic things to think about here: Guest Blogs, Blog Book Tours, Submitting portions of your book to magazines and ezines, Writing/book Conferences, Creating Promotional Materials (book marks, business cards, sell sheets, media kits, etc.). You must use every tool to your advantage and promote your book whenever possible…without making people sick of you talking about your book. No problem, right?
Step 10: Publish Your Book
NOW you can publish and launch your book! All the work you have done up until now WILL pay off. Tell the world that YOU HAVE WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED A BOOK! More to come…