Self-Publishing Your Book, Part I

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You’ve written or writing your masterpiece. How are you going to get it to the world? In our high-tech society, self-publishing has become easy and is the preferred choice of many, but what, exactly, is involved? Your focus needs to be on that world, self. You have to do everything to edit, publish and market it. It is on your shoulders. Also, if you pay someone to do a lot of that for you, you are still self-publishing because you are paying someone, not being paid.

In dreamland, you can write and publish a book with little or no money. Amazon and Smashwords among others have made it simplistic and very cheap if not free to do….but will it sell? YOU are your own publisher, so you have much to think about before you hit that “publish” button.

Things you need to do as a self-publisher:

  1. Is your book any good? It’s your baby, of course it is….but maybe not. Pass your book idea to others starting with friends and family and moving outward. Join writer’s groups or circles. Never mind what YOU think….what do they think? It is very important to get honest opinions, and it’s something many don’t do. Your baby may not appeal to anyone but you. This is something you should do regardless of publishing method.
  2. If you get stuck while writing, hire a developmental editor to work out glitches and develop your story and characters. It is much easier and cheaper to work out problems as they develop than in a “completed” manuscript.
  3. Once your manuscript is complete, hire an editor. This is a step many don’t feel they need, but believe me, you do. Even best-selling authors need editors. Depending on the length and extent of errors in your book, you can pay anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars for an editor. Suggestion: self-edit your book at least once and get a trusted person in your circle of friends and family to edit it as well before you send it to an professional. The fewer the edits, the less expensive it will often be. If your book has lots of errors, it may require several read-throughs, which can be expensive. An editor will not only look for mistakes in grammar and punctuation, but will also tell you whether things make sense or if anything needs to be changed or explained. Suggestion: if you used Microsoft Word to write, have your editor use “track changes”. It will allow them to make corrections directly in the text as well as write comments in the side margin. Then, you can go back and accept or reject the corrections as you see fit. What ultimately goes in your book is your decision. If you didn’t use Word, you can also use Google docs. It has a very similar editing option built in.
  4. The first thing that attracts many people to your book is your cover, so it’s important to make it appealing. This is a part which some people often spend thousands of dollars. If you have a finesse with drawing, photography or design, maybe you can handle your own cover. If not, you need to hire someone. One important suggestion: not everything you see on the web is free to take. If you see something you like, make very certain that it is okay to use. Google and Bing DO NOT equal free to take, though they do have a way within the search to look up things that are supposedly okay. If you are looking for a good image to use, the best way to get it is to join one or two sites in which you pay for an image. They are generally not that expensive, and with the rights to the image sold to you, you will be in the clear for sure.

Stay tuned for Self-Publishing Your Book, Part II, to be published soon, and thanks for reading.