A decade or so ago, if you wanted to be published, you would look for a literary agent who could sell your manuscript to potential publishers. You would submit your manuscript, and the publisher would do everything, from editing your work, to designing it, printing, and then marketing and promotion.
The biggest challenge then (aside from the writing itself) was to find that publisher who would buy your book.
Nowadays, publishing a book has become (just) a bit easier. You no longer need an agent, and if no established publisher buys your work, you can find a lot of independent ones that will publish your work for a fee or a percentage of your book’s sales. There is one catch though: in most cases (especially in publishing eBooks), you have to do everything yourself, from editing and designing, to printing and marketing.
Assuming that you have finished your manuscript, let it sleep for a while so you can have a fresh look and revise it as needed. Once you’re fairly confident of the final version, you may be ready to publish it. Here are some things you need to know about self-publishing your book.
Hire Professionals to Help You with Your Work
Sure, you’re a good writer. However, even the most established ones always have their work edited and proofread by someone else. Why? It’s because you become so familiar with your manuscript already that there is a tendency for you to miss even the most obvious errors (obvious to others, at least). Hiring an editor is a must if you want to be seen as a professional writer.
In the same manner, you would need to hire someone to do your book cover, too. Covers are extremely important; after all, it’s the face your book presents to the world. If you’re not confident as well about doing the layout, find a professional who can do it for you.
Partner with a Good Self-Publishing Company
If you want to have your book printed on demand, you will really have to use a self-publishing company. Make sure to come up with a list and compare them first to get the best option possible. Some of the questions you may need to ask: Do they provide assistance with pre-publication tasks like editing, cover design, and book layout? How will they market your work? How much royalty are they asking for? Are you free to sell them elsewhere, or only through them?
If they charge for pre-publication tasks, it may be better for you to just hand over the print-ready version. You can always hire freelancers to do all that needs to be done on your book.
If you’re publishing an eBook, you can partner with some ePublishers like Smashwords, CreateSpace, Lulu, or BookBaby. Just make sure, again, to review each one so that you can choose the best fit for your needs.
Don’t Forget to Promote!
Once your book is published, don’t think that your work is done. Given the ease of self-publishing nowadays, there are hundreds of books and eBooks being published every month, so if you want your book to sell, you need to promote and market it, otherwise it will (virtually) gather dust.
All these seem a lot of work. However, once the sales come in (with 100% of the royalties given to you), you will find self-publishing to be really fulfilling. Now, there’s no excuse for you anymore not to become the published author that you’ve always dreamed of being!
We'll delve into this topic in more detail in coming posts, talking about how to get your eBook edited and how to promote it online.