Publishing a Book: 15 Steps For Success
Many people with dreams of getting published believe that writing the book is the easy part. Once they type “The End” the awakening will begin. Writing is the easy part, get published and building a fanbase is the hard part.
Knowing the steps to publishing a book will save a writer a lot of time and heartache.
Many successful writers today gave-up on their dreams of signing with a big literary agency and negotiating a publishing deal. With the popularity of print-on-demand services, writers tossed their rejection letters and become independent book publishers.
Are you ready to write a book and want to know how to do-it-yourself? Keep reading for 15 steps you’ll need to take.
It’s Important to Know What’s Expected When Publishing a Book
There are many steps from writing a book to getting it published. Even then the work isn’t done. There is setting up sales channels, marketing, and getting the book into the hands of readers.
When you decide to self-publish, you become the author, editor, designer, publisher, and distributor. That’s a lot of hats to wear but it shows just how in-depth the process is to become a successful writer.
1. Write a Great Story
The start of the journey to getting published is to come up with a great story. For some people it can take a few weeks to write a book, others may take a few years. There is no perfect recipe so work at your own pace to develop a story you can be proud of.
2. Edit, Rewrite, Edit Again
Writing the book is more than sitting down and putting pumping out words. Your story has to be well-written if you want people to buy it, read it, and recommend it to others.
Part of the writing process if editing. There are different phases to this process including copy and line editing. With a publishing house backing you, there will be teams of editors to perfect your book. Sometimes the self-published writer has to do their own editing if they can’t afford to hire someone.
There are several editing apps to invest in. You can also contact your local universities and get the help of an English major. To edit your book, have a couple of people read it and make suggestions. Do a rewrite and start the process over again until you eliminate the errors and work out the kinks.
3. Format the Book
Once you are satisfied with the story it is time to format the book. Formatting includes determining the size of the book based on industry standards. The number of pages, line-spacing, margins, page numbering, and chapter breaks.
You will need a program such as Adobe Acrobat to get the manuscript print-ready. The book will need to be saved in a PDF file that matches how the printed book will appear.
4. Create the Cover Design
Next up is your book cover. There are many apps available that will assist you in creating a nice high-resolution cover. You’ll want to stay away from uploading template images. If you do not have your own images look into using a stock photo service and license the rights to a professional photo.
You’ll want a vibrant image that reflects what the book is about. Make sure you use fonts in size and color that stand out on the page. Include an author photo, book description, and the price on the back.
5. Buy an ISBN
International Standard Book Number is a 10 or 13-digit number used in the publishing industry to identify your book. The ISBN also identifies the owner of the ISBN as the person to contact regarding the work.
Authors own the copyright to their books regardless of who the ISBN is assigned to. It is always best to purchase your own. Most print-on-demand services will offer free ISBN’s to clients. If you go this route be sure to read the fine print of the contract.
6. Decide How the Book Will be Published
The self-publishing author doesn’t have many choices when it comes to self-publishing their book. One option to stay away from at all cost is vanity presses. These are publishers that charge writers to publish books under their brand. They require a contract and pay the author royalties.
The other options include printing the book yourself, creating an eBook, or an audiobook. Yes, you can do all three and it is highly recommended that you do. This way you’ll reach a wider audience.
7. Choose a Print on Demand Service
Deciding on book printing services comes down to personal preferences. If you go this route expect to have minimums you must reach. Buying in bulk will give you great rates, but it also means needing a place to store books.
For the self-publisher, print-on-demand (POD) means you send your book file to a company and they print your books as needs. There are several PODs that also offer other services such as book placement and listing with book distributors.
Like a vanity press, the writer is paid a royalty from POD generated sales. However, the terms are much better.
8. Price the Book
When it comes to pricing your book, you will need to consider costs. A hardcover book will cost much more to print than a softcover book. An eBook is the least expensive because there are no printing costs.
Having your books printed on your own gives you the freedom of pricing your book at any amount you want and taking the majority of the profits. When you go with a POD, they will give you a base price based on their cost of printing each book, their fee for placement on their platform and the royalty you will be paid.
An eBook can be priced at any amount you believe the market can bear. Most providers like Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, or B & N, pay royalties based on a set percentage that is always favorable to the author.
9. Make it Available for Purchase
Making your book available on a large platform is easier when going with a POD. Getting your book on the shelves of a large bookseller or independent bookstore will take a little more work.
You can sign with a distributor and pay them a portion of sales, or you can contact stores individually and negotiate terms with each store.
10. Build an eCommerce Website
Every small business should have an eCommerce website to direct traffic to. Authors are small business owners and you need your own website to market and sell your books directly to the consumer.
The downside to being paid royalties is it can take up to 90 days to get paid. By selling your own merchandise you not only boost your brand, but you also get paid immediately.
11. Create Your Social Platforms
Social media is a great way to connect with readers. Gone are the days of only knowing writers by the bio inside their book and the random book signing miles away. Today authors are more accessible and are building their own relationships.
Take advantage of what social media business pages have to offer. Also, look for book festivals to sell your books and meet readers in person.
12. Market Your Book
When it comes to marketing your books social media is a surefire technique. Add to this door-to-door direct mail, digital advertising, and connecting with online book promoters.
Look for opportunities to be featured in digital magazines for book lovers. Do online podcast interviews. Connect with booktubers on YouTube. These are people that share videos about books they have read.
Any chance you get to put your book in front of readers need to be explored.
13. Design Your Logo and Packaging
Steps to publishing a book and marketing include creating an author brand. Your brand can be expanded by including it in the packaging of your books.
Create a logo and tagline that you can put on t-shirts, bags, mailing envelopes, and vending equipment like table coverings and tents. The more people see your brand the more they will see you as a legitimate author who is in it for the long haul.
14. Host a Book Release Party
Now that you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to celebrate. Every great book deserves a proper book release party. This can be an intimate affair or a large community event.
The centerpiece of the party is your new book. It’s not the best idea to charge people to attend a book release party. However, you can ask people to register for the event by buying a copy of the book via a presale.
15. Look for Book Signing Opportunities
Now that the word is out about your book, it’s time to start exploring opportunities for book signings. These can take place at bookstores, libraries, or book club meetings.
The Time is Now!
Now that you have these 15 steps to publishing a book it’s time to get writing. Seeing your first book in print is a huge accomplishment. Having people purchase it is a feeling you will never forget.