While both self-publishing and traditional publishing are legitimate forms of book publishing, they are very different.
Throughout the self-publishing process, you—the author—organize all phases, including but not limited to outlining and writing, editing, pre-launch and continued marketing, cover design, and book formatting. Researching cover designers and professional editors, uploading and distributing your manuscript. All this relies on you.
You don’t have an agent to nudge you along the path. You don’t have an editor to polish your writing, to make it better. And you don’t have a publisher breathing down your neck to ensure you stick to your deadlines.
In the traditional publishing realm, you will have an agent (after you’ve queried one, that is) and eventually an editor (after you’ve gone on submission and came out victorious) to keep you on track. These people are your team, your support crew. Your pit bosses.
But you won’t have them in the indie publishing route. Everything you do will be of your own volition. For some writers, staying organized and on track is no problem; but others have issues with motivation and procrastination.
Deciding your own goals and your definition of success is key to determine which route is best for you.
The rest of this article will cover the self-publishing route. If you’re interested in traditional publishing, check out these books about the
5-Step Guide to Learn How to Publish Your Book
Hire a Professional Editor
When navigating the indie author route, hiring a professional editor is not only necessary but your obligation to your readers. It can mean the difference between someone DNF-ing your book or savoring every word and leaving a review.
But I understand finding an editor can be difficult and knowing how to choose an editor can prove harder yet. There’s no right or wrong way to go about hiring an editor. The only wrong way is to not hire an editor at all and upload your unedited manuscript to sell.
Don’t skimp on this step. A properly edited book takes time and patience. It’s always the most grueling, but don’t give up.
Prices vary depending on where you book, but most range from $500-$1,500.
Hire a Cover Designer
The second item not to skimp on, the cover design will often be a reader’s first impression of your book. Make sure your cover is simplistic with a clear title and subtitle but also highlights your genre and the overall atmosphere of your book.
The hard truth about your cover is that it will be judged by everyone who peruses your book. If your book cover doesn’t intrigue your reader, they likely won’t click in to read your description.
Though prices vary, you can find good covers between $99 and $399 for both eBook and paperback. You could try 17 Studio Cover Designs or Mandi Lynn Book Cover Designs for beautiful yet affordable book covers.
Format For eBook and Paperback
There are usually fairly easy ways to format your own book, but many book cover designers offer formatting services, so touch base with your designer and ask if they offer these services.
However, many writers format their own books, which is entirely something you can do if you’re familiar with best practices, the software, and have the time and patience to get it right. Like everything else, it’s a learning process.
Upload Your Book
Once you have all the pieces together, upload your book onto Amazon’s KDP, IngramSpark or whatever other publishing platforms you’ve chosen to publish through. When preparing your book for publishing, there are three main things to cover:
Create a Compelling Book Description
Writing a 200-500-word book description is a good way to entice readers and book your Amazon SEO. Improperly filled-out books are often overlooked or brought down by the algorithm, so completely filling out the book description is vital.
Make sure to make the first 50 words POP because that’s what people are going to see “above the fold”. Or above the read more button. Those words—whatever they are—should entice your targeted audience.
Price Your Book
The price of your book will directly contribute to your sales. If you price too low, people will think your book is of low quality. But if you price too high, people will be deterred from buying. It’s a game of experimentation and finding the perfect price for your book. And that goes for both eBook and paperback.
My general rule of thumb is to price eBooks between $2.99 and $5.99. paperbacks are trickier, but general consumption books should be price between a 10%-25% return.
Keywords and Categories
Keywords and categories are something you will need to research before publishing. Publisher Rocket—formerly known as KDP Rocket—will take the frustration and guess out of it. They offer specific and active statistics you can use to boost your book to the top of the bestsellers list.
Create Your Book Marketing Calendar
The last portion about publishing your book is to create your marketing plan. While you can look at a previous article titled How to Market Your Book, you should also check out our book marketing checklist. This article and our marketing checklist build on each other to help you create a successful indie author career.
Learning how to publish a book is a very lengthy process because you’re learning a ton of new tricks in an industry you likely haven’t delved into before. But all that legwork shouldn’t deter you from succeeding in your dreams of being a successful author.