If I wanted to sum up how to self-publish in an article, it would likely be a very long article to read. However, in this case, I’m going to strip the information down to the bare essentials and most important aspects of the process.
To shorten our process, let’s say you’ve already written a book. It’s been revised a couple of times, you’ve gotten feedback on it, and you hired an editor or had a friend or professor proofread it for you. Let’s say that you feel that your manuscript is excellent and others have agreed, that you don’t think you could improve upon it any more.
Your first step would be to figure out how to publish in print and eBook formats. Three web sites: CreateSpace.com, Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon, and PubIt through Barnes and Noble. If you have never published an eBook before, you can also go through Smashwords, but that all depends on you.
Now, for a printed book, you don’t have to do much except for make sure that your pages are the right size and that you have enough of a margin to account for any bleed that might occur during the printing process. Once you’ve resized your document, you can go through and pretty much make it look the way you want it to look. I would take an example book from your shelves and look at it as a guide. See how the layout was done, the copyright page, the headers and footers, and the table of contents. All of this is easy to replicate in Word – just apply it to your work, no plagiarism, ok? Just kidding.
Once you have your document layout the way you want it to look, all you have to do is upload it to CreateSpace. If you don’t have an account, then create one, not a big deal. All you need is an e-mail address and a password.
Once you’re on the site, you can follow the steps to publish a new title. Even if you don’t create your own PDF file, you can upload your Word document and the site will convert it into a print-ready PDF for you. Easy, right?
The next part is the book cover. Let’s say you don’t have an image editor, so you decide to use the CreateSpace online cover creator. It’s really simple and all you have to do is what the creator tells you to. You can add your own text, images, and more. After that, you choose your distribution channels which are all explained if you click on the question mark beside the instructional step. If you choose expanded distribution channels, you’ll be charged a one-time fee of $25. This will make your printed book available on Amazon, other retailers, and a CreateSpace storefront.
Once you click the publish button, it will inform you that your files have been submitted for review. You’ll get an e-mail 24-48 hours later stating that the review process is complete and your proof is ready to be ordered or viewed online. Different people have different preferences for how to view their proof copies, but if it’s your first time publishing a book, I recommend ordering a printed proof copy to see how you did.
Now that your print book is ready, it’s time to get your eBook out there. This can be a little tricky if you don’t know html, but a basic eBook shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re an amateur and have no idea how to create an eBook, I recommend creating an account with Smashwords.com and reading the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. It’s free and highly informational.
When you go through Smashwords, you won’t need to go through the other two web sites. Your eBook will be made available in virtually all eReader formats including PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats, which are the most common for eReading devices.
If you know how to convert and format eBooks into their various file formats and know how to work through the html code for getting your book’s content to look a certain way, it might be better for you to go through Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon and PubIt by Barnes and Noble. This allows for higher royalty rates, no formatting issues that you can’t fix yourself, and other opportunities for marketing and distribution like the KDP Select program.
Once you have your book out there in print and eBook formats – congratulations! You’re officially self-published!
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