How to Publish a Book in 2021: Learning How to Solve the Self-Publishing Puzzle

The puzzle pieces of how to publish a book

Learn How to Publish a Book with Self Publishing Tips, Tools, and Books by Publishing SOLO Magazine

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Book Coach-Speaker

When learning how to publish a book–what is the largest obstacle of all? After being a self-publishing coach for the past decade, my conclusion is that self-publishing’s most serious issue, by far is … lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, both hungry and fat sharks swim about in the ocean of self-publishing. Yet, learning to recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing, and outsmarting the predators–means getting a good education.

Publishing SOLO magazine by Deborah S Nelson

Education is the core of our work at Publishing Solo Magazine. We provide a solid and thorough education for those who want to learn how to publish a book–before you actually attempt it! Obviously, We do not want to leave you to the wolves, or the sharks! So, in this process, we offer many free and paid tools, book coaching, and other resources for those who are learning how to publish a book themselves. Stick around, and learn the truths you need to know to be a successful self-published author!

The Biggest Challenge in Book Publishing: What You Don’t Know is Costly Beyond Words

One of the first questions most writers who want to self-publish ask is–who are the best and worst self-publishing companies? Which self-publishing companies should they avoid? These questions always bring to mind the truism: You don’t know … what you don’t know! To top it off, not knowing adversely affects your self-publishing costs–another popular question in independent publishing! How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

I cannot begin to tell you how much confusion, miscommunications, time, energy, grief, and money writers spend on learning what they don’t know on the way to self-publishing a book. Without realizing it, many have embarked on becoming their own publisher! Indeed, self-publishing a book goes way beyond just printing a book!

How to Publish a Book Kits
by Deborah S. Nelson

“How to Publish a Book” Makes for a Puzzle with a Multitude of Pieces

However, the bigger problem is not which self-publishing company is the best–or the worst, but who is the best match for your book publishing project! But, how can you know that? How do you know which self-publishing company to use in the first place? First, you need to understand the big picture; and you need to know a thing or two.

So, right off you need to understand is that printing a book is only one small piece of self-publishing a book. Many people really do think these are the same–but this could not be further from the truth! Consequently, this one issue causes a lot of untold grief. Indeed, a little education can go a very long way to prevent mistakes and keep from needlessly spending money in the wrong ways.

Tools, courses, books, and coaching for writers who want to publish a book

What is Self-Publishing Anyway? A Few Definitions

This article covers the basic overview of 2021 self-publishing options and possibilities. After a decade of digital book publishing, the dust has settled and systems have prevailed; and stars have begun to shine. Key players, are Amazon Books, Kindle, Amazon Audibles, Ibooks, and IngramSpark. There are many more players in this industry but these are the top ones, for starters.

Image of Publish a Book Kit

Before diving into any one of these venues, you are wise to learn the difference between publishing and printing, self publishing, short run printing, independent publishing and vanity publishing. A lot people companies who print books, refer to themselves and self-publishing companies and they indicate their services are free.

First of all, in reality the “self” publishing is actually produced by the person who has created “the works.” This term has been used loosely or “generically” in the past decade, and it would be wise to get a clear understanding of these terms. You may do so by reading my Dictionary of Self Publishing Terms. This will help you immensely in your quest in learning how to publish a book.

The Chronology of How to Publish a Book

The order of the phases and stages of publishing a book include a lot more steps than just printing a book. This is where a lot of misunderstandings can arise with so-called self-publishing companies. As publisher (self) you are responsible for the design of the cover, the interior layout and design, including front and back matter, and other parts of a book, plus the content editing, copy editing, and proofreading.

As publisher, you are responsible for scheduling, budgeting, hiring freelances; and of course, selecting the printer. Also, you select the distribution options, create author website, social media, and branding and marketing efforts. In summary, for more detail about what a publisher does see the article entitled: Become a Publisher in 7 Strategic Ways.

Frequently Asked Self-Publishing Questions

Frequently Asked Self-Publishing questions

In summary, it is wise to educate yourself in the brave new world of digital publishing. First of all, learn the correct terminology. Secondly, watch a history of printing and /publishing video entitled Once Upon a Book, here. Third, click on the many links within this article which go into specific subject in more depth and detail. Lastly, read my Frequently Asked Self-publishing Questions to build your knowledge and your confidence. I wish you the best and may your dream to publish a book come true!

RELATED PAGE: Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Self-Publishing a Book: 3 Rookie Pitfalls

Self-Publishing a Book Rookie Mistakes

Catch Self-Publishing Rookie Mistakes Before You Make Them

Self-Publishing a Book: Common Rookie Mistakes

By Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of self-publishing a book! Bravo! Publishing a book is an excellent choice for a project that will stretch your imagination, patience, and fortitude. I have self-published 14 books and coached and taught authors to self-publish over 100 books. I can help you avoid the common rookie pitfalls. Self-publishing is similar to taking on the general manager role of building your own home. With that understood, get ready to discover mistakes that could sabotage your book publishing project and make you want to throw in the towel.


Mistake # Three: Hiring a “Self-Publishing Company”

Let’s get your thinking straight right away.  The term,Self-publishing companies” is one of the biggest misnomers of the twenty-first century!  If you truly want to master at the art of self-publishing a book, let me help you with terminology. Also see the Dictionary of Self-Publishing for basic terms. Self-publishing a book as defined in WIKIPEDIA: Definition of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.

What does this mean? It means you do NOT hire someone to “self-publish” your book-this is crazy! The ONLY  one who can SELF publish your book is YOU! I get questions and inquiries daily about “self-publishing companies to avoid,” and I say, “AVOID ALL OF THEM!” Having said that you will need to select a printer, most likely a print of demand printer (which often label themselves as “self-publishing companies”)

The reason for this is, since you are the author, YOU and only YOU are the publisher. You are responsible for the entire project. When you hire one of these so-called “self-publishing companies” you are putting a third-party in the middle, spending more money than necessary, while still needing to oversee all the work. This will not save you much time, if any.  These “self-publishing companies” are, are really print on demand printing companies. Yes, you will need a printer, but that is all you will need from these so-called “self-publishing companies.”

Solution: Subcontract your own workers. Hire a print on demand company for the printing only. Then contract experts in each area. You will need a book cover designer, an interior designer, content editor, proofreader and many other freelancers throughout the process. Many so-called self-publishing companies are happy to overcharge for these services. Read my article on Managing Self-Publishing Services.

Mistake #Two: Manuscript Written Equals Book Completed

Once finished writing your manuscript, you are done, nearly done, or halfway done. WRONG. You are one-third of the way to the finish line of your book project. I tell all my clients right away that you can expect THREE parts to the life cycle of bringing a book into the world:

  1. Write Your Book
  2. Publish Your Book
  3. Market Your Book

Keep in mind that once you have written a book, you are only 1/3 of the way to knowing the complete joy of self-publishing your book! Publishing or self-publishing a book is a marathon, not a sprint.

Solution: Keep this in mind throughout the entire process to build mental and emotional  stamina needed to make it to the finishing line.

Mistake #One: Including Friends, Family & Random “Experts” in the Process

This is the top mistake most people make when self-publishing a book that keeps them from actually finishing. However, if they do persevere through all the conflicting critical eyes, the book is likely to be a mish-mash of styles, looks, proofreading rules, editorial approaches, and your watered-down message.

Let me put it to you straight. Writing a book is about giving your readers a passionate message that only you know… a story that only you can tell. When self-publishing a book get a vision for your book, and stick to it. Everyone is a “so-called” expert, and when it comes down to it, most of the decisions in book publishing are personal and artistic preference. Don’t let everyone’s well mean opinion water down your passionate message to the world.

Solution: If you feel you must get feedback, do not ask for “feedback” to feed your ego–rather for the good of the book. Plan two focus group sessions, and carefully invite your key supporters, along with your book publishing coach to moderate. In the first focus group session, share your original unedited manuscript, and ask people to report back within 7-10 days with their ideas and positive feedback. After that, move on with your book publishing project. Self-publishing a book has a timeline, and you must stay on track to get it done. You may also create a focus group later, for the book cover, and again give people 7-10 days for their reaction, and then move on. This is the biggest mistake that rookies make when self-publishing a book. Looking for support, and complements, and an ego boost, can ultimately sabotage your book project.

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How to Write & Print a Book–What are the Steps to Make a Paperback Book?

Write and Print a book or a paperback book

How to Write and Print a Book from Home!

Write and Print a Book from your Laptop!

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Book Coach-Speaker

Have you ever had an idea to write and print a book? I have. And, I have actually done it. As I dream, I envision a world when one day high school students will write and print a book at school. This project may be for an English class, or even a business course. Although this idea may sound far-fetched, in the 21st Century publishing your own book is now doable!

Write and Print a Book with Digital Publishing

Developments in digital publishing now make writing and printing a book doable on a small-scale. Using print of demand publishing, we now print one book at a time! That is pretty astounding when you consider that in the history of book publishing it was necessary to print 10,000 books at a time just to make one book affordable. Now, writers with a story to tell, inspiration to share, or knowledge to teach can write and print a book on their own.

writing and printing a book at home

How to Write and Print a Book at Home

How to Write and Print a Book–The Writing

Many people believe that writing a book is more difficult than it actually is. Due to the tendency for publishing houses to publish primarily scholarly or popular writers, “ordinary people” may feel unworthy to be writers. This is a sad development, since wise and skilled writers can share wisdom in their fields. Due to the sizable investment publishing houses require to publish a book, their focus on best sellers is understandable. However, not all books need be best sellers. With affordable digital publishing, books need only serve a specific niche. The faster way to write a book is one chapter at a time. Some tips for writing your book super fast:

Step #1 of Self-Publishing ChecklistFREE BLOG

Start a free blog on WORDPRESS. Notably, this a fast way to begin writing for the public. Get used to writing for an audience by writing a daily, weekly or a monthly blog. This way, each blog can become a book chapter.

Step 2 of Self Publishing Checklist with Publishing SOLO-writing & printing a book at homeWRITE AUTHENTICALLY

When writing, write like you speak. First, formulate raw ideas, then later polish with editing, grammar, and proofreading. Resist the temptation to assume how it sounds or looks. At first, say what you need to say!

Self Publishing Checklist--Step 3- learn to write and print a book by yourself.WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE

Write on something you know and love. This is super important! Fuel your passion to write what you love by reading this article entitled: Write the Fire of Your Passion and Stay Inspired to Write!

Steo 4 of the Self Publishing Checklist by Deborah S. Nelson-Write and print a book online.YOUR AUTHOR EGO

Do not worry about what people say. Keep in mind, many people are too busy to read, and those who do read are appreciative of good information. Keep your EGO out of it. Write from your heart and not to impress.

Step five of the Self Publishing Checklist.CONSISTENT WRITING

Write consistently. Find a place, a schedule and  flow. If  you write  daily, a weekly, or a monthly, be consistent and make writing a habit. Surprisingly, this habit will help you complete a book in what seems to be no time!Flash Book Writing Kits by Deborah S. Nelson

Authors, Share Your Book with Millions of Readers

Steps to Write & Print a Book at Home-The Printing

Once you are finished with the writing process, it is time to think about printing your book. This seems complex, but absolutely doable, and once you learn how, you may publish books again and again. The way to print your book at home is to make an account with an online printing company. Many of these refer to themselves as self-publishing companies.

Some of the top print on demand companies are CreateSpace and LuLu, and Blurb. Print on demand companies will accept your completed book file and literally print one book at a time. I have now published or helped writers publish over 100 books and here is a list of the basic steps how to get your paperback printed from you home computer:

Step #1 of Self-Publishing Checklist: How to Write and Print a book YourselfWORD MANUSCRIPT

First, bring your manuscript into Word. Next, run spell and grammar check. Also, if you want your book to come across as professional, send your WORD document to a content editor, who will (if professional) edit using the “track changes” feature. That way, you can see what they changed, and you can accept or reject their editorial changes.

Step 2 of Self Publishing Checklist with Publishing SOLO-write and print a book using print on demandPRINT ON DEMAND

In my experience, CreateSpace offers the easiest and most advanced print on demand structure. Additionally, their customer service is thorough and mostly human. Start a Print on Demand account for free with CreateSpace. Though there are many other print on demand companies, I can only help my clients with the venue that I know.

Self Publishing Checklist--Step 3, Details of writing and printing a book on  your own.ISBN NUMBER

If you select the free ISBN number in the CreateSpace account, CreateSpace will be shown as the publisher. However, if you want a custom ISBN number, you will need to become an independent publisher through Bowker. Then, select the option in CreateSpace to pay extra for your own ISBN number, which will list you as the publisher.

Steo 4 of the Self Publishing Checklist by Deborah S. NelsonFRONT & BACK MATTER

Once you have written the central content of your book,  next you need to create front matter. This includes pages such as title page, copyright page, table of contents, dedication, preface, and other informational pages. For step-by-step help, see my Book Blueprint available for sale on to get a thorough understanding of these options and their chronological order. Complete these and add to your WORD document. You may try to upload your raw WORD document to CreateSpace but I suggest you hire a professional graphic designer to create the book interior and produce a print ready PDF digital file for uploading. Learn the parts of a book with this Publish a Book Blueprint workbook-journal which helps you to plan the structure of your book.

Step five of the Self Publishing Checklist.-How to write and print a book  yourself.CREATE YOUR BOOK COVER

You may use the free CreateSpace book cover template or hire an artist to custom design your own cover. For help with book cover and other publishing services, see theDream to Publish Boutique Publishing Services. Since you can’t do it all, hire a pro where it counts!

The Self-Publishing Checklist by Deborah S Nelson of Publishing SOLOBOOK PROOF

First, upload book  cover and interior. Once approved, order a book proof before publishing to the public. This is a must! Indeed, you will find other issues when with a 3-D copy in your hands.

Step 7 of the Self-Publishing Steps to Self-Publishing a Book--How to write and print a book onlineFINAL PRINTING

Once you make final corrections, submit your files for final review. Next, when the files are approved for print, you may make available for sale on Lastly, select various distribution channels available and write a description, and include an Author Bio.

Step 8 of Self Publishing Check list by Deborah S Nelson of Pubishing SOLOMARKETING

Finally, basic marketing steps include creating an Amazon Central Author Profile and create a Twitter and GoodReads account. These are basics, but necessary to get a good start. Also, building an author website is important as well, in order to sell books, and to prepare for getting interviews to promote your book.

See Articles: CreateSpace Publishing Cost, Become an Author with The Book BluePrint, How to Use the CreateSpace Cover Template, What Are the Steps to Publishing A Book, Steps to Marketing Your Book, Self Publishing Coaching | PublishingSOLO

Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. I do want to write and print a book. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
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