Many of the authors we work with are new to self-publishing, so we came up with a seven-step system that outlines every step in the self-publishing process. If you’re thinking about self-publishing a book for your small business but find the prospect a bit daunting, this overview may help set your mind at ease.

THE SEVEN STEPS.

Whether you’re managing the process yourself or using a self-publishing company, you can follow these steps:

1. PLANNING

This step looks at working out a schedule and planning your budget, and who you need to help you with your book if you are managing the process yourself. At this stage, you should be asking questions such as who is going to help put my book together? What is the schedule for my book? And what is my budget?

Now is the time to start looking for an editor, a proofreader, a book designer both for the interior and the cover, a printer, and someone to help with the formatting and distribution of an eBook and print on demand version. You should also think about whether you want to try bookshop distribution. Or of course, you can use a self-publishing company to manage all of this for you.

2. EDITING

It is my experience that while by the end of the editing process authors realise their book has been greatly improved, at the beginning first-time authors are often a bit daunted. An editor will fix up spelling mistakes, inconsistencies, incorrect grammar and other errors. But a good editor will also suggest additions where more information is required, will suggest deletions where you’ve included something unnecessary or repeated something, will alert you to any possible copyright concerns, and will discuss with you changes that will improve your writing.

3. COVER AND INTERIOR DESIGN

Creating a book cover that looks good, and is inviting and easy to read, is very important. If the book doesn’t look appealing to your target market, they’re less likely to pick it up. When looking for a designer, make sure they have experience doing book covers. It is an expensive exercise if your book gets to the printer and they tell you that the spine is not the right size or that the file formatting isn’t correct.

When briefing a designer, give them a synopsis of your book so that they can get a feel for it. Tell them who your target market is, let them know if you have a preference for certain colours or images and tell them the size of the book, the title and your name. And don’t forget about the spine and back cover!

The interior design of your book is often based on the look of the cover, but often it is not done by the same designer. Interior layout is a specialised area, and you should make sure the person you choose understands how a book is meant to be set out.

4. PROOFREADING AND INDEXING

Once the design and edit are wrapped up, the book is proofread. This is the final quality-control step in the production of your book. Even the best editors can miss things, and a fresh set of eyes is important. An index is not always necessary; if you’re not sure whether your book should have one or not, ask your editor to give you some guidance.

At this step, you should consider the different printing options available, how many copies to print, digital versus offset printing, printing in Australia versus offshore, unit cost and more.

5. PRINTING

It’s very helpful for self-publishers to know a little about the printing processes. There are many things to consider when looking at printing; how many copies to print, digital versus offset printing, printing in Australia verses offshore, unit cost just to name a few things.

6. THE EBOOK

You’ll need expert help to produce a professional-standard eBook. EBooks come in a couple of different formats. Amazon, for instance, has a different file format to Apple’s iBooks. It is important to ensure that your eBook is properly formatted, and there are a number of companies that can help you do this.

7. DISTRIBUTION

You need to think about how you’re going to get your book out there. You can sell it on your website, but if you want it available to the wider public, then you’re probably going to need to think about eBook and print on demand distribution. This kind of distribution will get your book on Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository, Kobo, iBooks and others. If you’re hoping to get your book into the bricks and mortar bookstores then again you will need a distributor or self-publishing company to handle this for you. You can also think about bookshop distribution, keep in mind that many bookshops don’t like dealing with self-publishers only have one book, so you will need to look into bookshop distributors or get a self-publishing company to handle this for you.

Publishing a book, especially for the first time, is a great achievement, and well worth the hard work. If you remember to plan and carefully select your self-publishing team or company, you will find the process not only rewarding but good fun too.

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