What is the Definition of Self-Publishing?
Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible and in control of the entire process including design (cover/interior), formats, price, distribution, marketing & PR. Further reading: What is the Real Definition of Self-Publishing?
Table of Contents
- What is the Definition of Self-Publishing?
- What is the Cost for Self-Publishing a Book?
- How Hard is it to Self-Publish a Book?
- Quick Quiz to Access Your Ability to Self-Publish a Book
- Is Self-Publishing Easy?
- What are the Steps to Self-Publish a Book?
- How Do I Sell My Self-Published Books?
What is the Cost for Self-Publishing a Book?
What is the real cost of self-publishing a book; with hidden extra costs? The rough cost of self-publishing a book can realistically be from “free” to $15,000. The free path requires massive “sweat equity.”
The five following aspects will affect the cost of self-publishing a book.
1. How much work the self-publisher will do themselves. Will they design and prepare the book cover to the exact specifications required by the printer selected? Will the self-publisher do their own content editing and proofreading?
2. Price of Publishing Services. If publishing services are hired, and you overpay for someone inexperienced, the cost of the published book will increase dramatically.
3. Publishing tasks Done out of Order. This will increase the cost significantly. Certain tasks must be redone if chronological order is not followed. A good book publishing coach will save you more money and time than the cost of the coach.
4. Physical Requirements of Book. These include the length and size of the book, type of paper, type of book cover, as well as whether the book is printed in four-color, or black and white.
5. Additional Publishing Venues. Will you be publishing an e-book, Kindle, or audiobook? Will you need promotional sample chapters. If these are done in the proper order they will be inexpensive. When done out of order, the costs can be significant. Further Reading: Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book.
How Hard is it to Self-Publish a Book?
This is a good question; but not easy to answer. The best answer lies in evaluating the following areas of your abilities. Rank on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the most proficient in that area. Then, for each question, then add up and divide by 5 to get a score of difficulty for you to publish a book yourself.
Quick Quiz to Access Your Ability to Self-Publish a Book
1. Online Technical Ability. Can you write, edit, cut and paste, using a word processing program? Do you know your way around online services such as Dropbox, Fiverr, email, graphic arts programs, creating accounts, buying services online? Give yourself a 5 if proficient—between a 1 and a 4 if less than proficient.
2. Good Eye. How is your eye? Do you have a good eye for design and layout? Are you artsy-fartsy? Can you see if something is centered? Rate yourself with a 1 if you have no design talent—up to a 5 if you are experienced in, and love to design.
3. Big Picture. Are you good with organizing, scheduling, budgeting, and project management? Do you easily stay on budget, on time, and plan ahead? Can you see the big picture? Rank yourself with a 5 for highly proficient with managing a big picture, down to a 1 for no proficiency.
4. Extreme Detail. If you are able to see a speck of dust at 10 feet away, for example, or are bothered by crooked pictures, you will be able to handle the level of detail necessary to publish a book. Give yourself a 5 if you see detail, or a 4, 3, 2, or 1, to the extent you are less detailed.
5. Faith & Patience: If you are an impatient person in general, get easily frustrated, and are not open to learning new skills, give yourself a 1. If you are generally calm, collected, patient when things do not go according to plan, able to find new solutions, then give yourself a 5. if you are somewhere in between give yourself a 2, 3, or 4.
Is Self-Publishing Easy?
In summary, how hard is it to self-publish a book? If most of your answers were 4 or 5; self-publishing will be quite doable for you. If your answers were in the 2 or 3 areas it would be wise to hire a self-publishing coach. A good publishing coach will save you hundreds and thousands of dollars and hours of time as well as untold frustration. If you are in the 1 area, consider either take some self-publishing courses, and basic computer courses, or consider traditional publishing instead.
What are the Steps to Self-Publish a Book?
1. Structure Your Book. Complete the book with front matter and back matter. This includes items such as title page, copyright page, preface, Table of Contents, acknowledgments, foreword, index, credits for images, resources, etc. A great workbook resource to learn about and plan book structure is Publish Your Book Blueprint, by Deborah S. Nelson.
2. Create Book Cover. Hire a good book cover designer. Keep in mind, a regular graphic arts person is not good enough. Find a specialist in book cover design. Go to Dream to Publish to find all publishing services by those who are fast and specialize in these services. Then, write a compelling synopsis for the back cover.
3. Create Book Interior. Book interior needs designing, with a file made according to detailed specifications by the printer. Hire the wrong person for this and you could face “endless rounds” of corrections before the printer accepts. Need I say more?
4. Create Title for Printing. Once you have the book cover and interior design files you will create the title with ISBN number and upload or send them to the printer.
5. Select a Distribution Outlet. Since 80% of books are purchased online it is critical to select an online outlet. Local bookstores buy books from Books in Print primarily.
How Do I Sell My Self-Published Books?
Selling self-published books include:
1. Distribution. Make your books available at Amazon Books, or other online distribution networks as well as local bookstores. Additionally, if you initiate your own publishing label and ISBN number Bowker Books, your books will be listed in Books in Print and made available at schools and libraries. Presently, there are only some 1700 brick and mortar bookstores in the USA.
2. Marketing: Once you have selected a distribution outlet, identify your target market and let interested readers know the books exist. This includes doing podcasts, interviews, YouTubes, and whatever you can do to connect with fans. Since over 80% of books are sold online, this using social media is a great approach.
3. Book Reviews: Work hard to get book reviews by sending out an advance PDF copy to key reviewers. Ask people to review on Amazon Books, if your book is listed with them. Reviews help sell books.
4. Advertising: Create an ad campaign to reach potential readers in certain niche magazines, TV, radio, or online venues.
5. In-Person: Schedule book readings in your local books stores, as well as book speaking engagements to sell your books at various events. Volunteering for speaking events usually will net in quite a few books sales.
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