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

Is Self Publishing a Book Really Free?

self publishing a book seems to be free and magical, but not necessarily the case.

Self Publishing a Book Seems Magical & Free–but, Truthfully, it is Hard Work & Costs Some Bucks

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

Now that digital publishing has spawed the concept of self publishing a book–the book publishing industry has entered the field of the World Wide Web. Therefore, the obvious question rises on the horizon of online book publishing. Is it possible to make money when self publishing a book? In this article we address the question for those considering entering the ring of digital book publishing.

Self-Publishing a book is more doable with this Free Self-Publishing Toolkit by Deborah S. Nelson from Publishing Solo

History of Book Publishing

Book Publishing reaches back into history; and traditionally was an pricey venture. The printing press was an expensive piece of equipment in the first place, as well as the set-up for printing just one book. Consequently, this required an up-front investment for printing at least 10,000 books to make one book affordable. See the video below which explains in more detail the difference between digital publishing and traditional publishing.

Now that digital publishing allows any of us to print just one book affordably, that makes self-publishing doable for a one-person or small enterprise.

Money Required for Self Publishing a Book

Before we can talk about making money in publishing a book, we need to talk about the costs involved to get started. Since expensive printing equipment or set-ups are not required, anyone with a simple computer and an idea for a book can enter the field of book publishing. With no large investment required, the potential profit obviously skyrockets.

However, expect to put in some sweat equity, or pay labor costs to prepare the digital file for publication. For more details about costs involved in publishing a book read, Real Self-Publishing Costs to Publish a Book.

Millions Made by Publishing a Book with Digital Publishing

Book Publishing Coaching by Deborah S Nelson who saves your hundreds and thousands of dollars

How Much Does Self-Publishing Success Cost?

Digital publishing equipment has made a new self publisher era possible. No longer considered ‘vanity publishing,” many successful traditionally published authors are getting excited about the size of their royalties made by publishing a book themselves. Take Barbara Freethy, for instance, author of 34 novels including the Wish series and first author on Kindle and Nook to sell one million books. She has been writing for 20 years and was published through four different publishing houses. Freethly is now self-publishing. “Once I saw how well my self-publishing books were doing and how much more attention and focus I could put on my own books, it was a pretty easy decision [to continue self-publishing] because those books have been doing so much better,” Freethy comments.

Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
Hmmm … I am not quite ready—just send me the Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing Toolkit


Amanda Hocking has made millions with her romance series on e-book platforms as well. Considering now, that the self-publishing industry is estimated as a 52 million dollar industry in 2012, there is big money to be made in publishing a book. Self-publishing figures appear to be eclipsing traditional book publishing numbers many times over.

Amanda Hocking and Barbara Freethy are just two of the most well-known millionaire authors. Indeed, this article just barely scratches the surface. Huffington Post Live has a comprehensive video interview with some of today’s most successful self-published authors. Therefore, with the publishing playing field leveled, they interview Hugh Howey, Darcy Chan, Bella Andre, Jasinda Wilder, all New York Times Best Selling authors, and all approaching 1 million or more in book sales. So, with royalties what they are in self-publishing, you can bet those sales numbers has brought each of these authors millionaire status.

Publishing SOLO Print on Demand Tool kit for learning how to publish a book yourselfJoin Publishing SOLO
for Support, Structure & Accountability

For All Your Writing & Publishing Dreams

Self-Publishing Success–Love or Money?

By Deborah S. Nelson

Self-publishing success equals money?

Is Self-Publishing Success Just About the Money?

Does self-publishing success equal money? Many think that success shows up in the form of money–true to a certain extent. However, before the money flows, we must build momentum with committment, passion, and focus.

So putting the money issue aside for, Consistent, Committed, Focused Passion towards a dream does pay off.  Just when you think no one is seeing your work…Bam! Someone notices.

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing ToolkitI jofully announce that is selected for an award as a Top Self-Publishing Site for 2014~ Woo Hoo! My Thanks go out to all the authors who have published through Publishing SOLO, for without them there is no PublishingSOLO!

The short list is Emily Yurcheshen, Suzanne Landry, Julia Loggins, Cindy White, Maya Shaw Gale, Audrey Addison Williams Robert Munster, Karen Maryum Morse  Eve Morong-Briere, and dozens more. In fact, if you would like to see all the first time Publishing SOLO authors you can visit the Author Library page on our site.

Save Money by Learning Secrets of Self-Publishing Success

I cordially invite you to take a leisurely stroll around this now award-winning site to learn how you can also experience self-publishing success. Join Publishing SOLO and get a free self-publishing toolkit right off the bat. Read the comprehensive articles to get the real inside truth of what self-publishing really involves. Get informed before you jump into a project which could be more expensive than you anticipated with a higher learning curve that you expected. We offer enough free information on this site to save you hundreds of dollars in wrong turns, or in learning how to publish a book on your own. Additionally, if you want even more help, we offer DIY Books, Courses, and private coaching. Ms. Nelson even offers half hour free publishing consultations on Mondays with no obligation. She only wants writers to bring their passion to the world and to experience the self-publishing success that is so exhilarating.

Other Related Self-Publishing Articles:

Millionaire Amanda Hocking Tells Her Story

Is it possible to make money in self-publishing? How much money can you make? In this YouTube video self-publishing success Amanda Hocking tells how she did it.

How to Publish a Book

Ever wanted to learn how to publish a children’s book, a novel,  or business book? Friends, family, and peers see you in a whole new light once you become a published author.

My Five Secrets for Writing a Quality Book Fast

Deborah S. Nelson, author/publisher of 14 books gives away the store on how to write a book. Just like eating an elephant one bite a time gets it done, Ms. Nelson teaches how to write a book one word at a time!

Five Benefits for Self-Publishing a Book

Is it digital publishing really worth it? The cost, the time,  the learning curve? Why should you self-publish a book? Are you ready to self-publish a book? Publishing SOLO tells all. 

The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book

Are Authorhouse, CreateSpace, LuLu, and the other print on demand companies really free? Yes, and No. Get the real scoop on the costs to self-publish a book, and what it takes to achieve self-publishing success.

Publish your Book Blueprint by Deborah S Nelson

Have a Dream to Publish a Book—
But Lack the Time or Know-How?

Look no further. This potent detailed DIY publishing guide grants you the time and know-how. Learn how to self-publish a book by doing it! Once you become a published author, friends, family, and peers see you in a whole new light! This unique system propels both aspiring and seasoned authors through digital publishing step-by-step. You won’t even need your completed manuscript to start!

Includes downloadable template
Free ISBN number & POD account
10 steps to print on demand publishing
Displays book parts in chronological order
Publish your book blueprint proof in a week

Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
Hmmm … I am not quite ready—just send me the Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing Toolkit


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.
Hmmm … I am not quite ready—just send me the Free Self-Publishing Toolkit

Click Here for Your Self-Publishing Toolkit