Dream to Publish a Book Possible with Digital Publishing
So you think you might want to publish a book. But how to publish a book is the big question. For some, a dream to publish a book fulfilled could be the greatest accomplishment of their lives. This article is will explain the beginning steps of how to publish a book. For me, publishing my first book has been one of the most significant events of my life—right up there with having a child, getting married, moving to the Caribbean; and seeing my child graduate from college!
With decades of experience in the publishing, printing, and advertising industries, my passion is to help you get your book to the finish line. Self-publishing is an art and a science. You too, can share in the exhilaration of being a published author. In this website we will answer these questions and more:
What are definitions self-publishing, digital publishing, and print on demand?
Is it possible to publish a book inexpensively using digital publishing?
What are the basic steps needed to self publish my own book?
What will it really cost to publish a book; including hidden extra costs?
What about inventory and shipping and how expensive will that be?
Once I publish my book, what next? How and where do I sell my books?
Why Self Publish a Book?
You might be thinking, “How will this article teach me how to publish my own book?” This article outlines 4 critical beginning steps of how to self publish your own book and will position you to successfully self publish a book. I advocate that you make your own book using the on demand book printing method, and not using short run printing or trying to get published through a traditional publishing company. If you want to know how to publish a book through a traditional publishing house, this article is not for you. I have worked on the inside of a publishing house, and I truly believe the book publishing industry is moving into the digital publishing era, and therefore offering exciting opportunities for self-publishing.
Traditional Book Publishing Versus Self-Publishing
It takes time and dedication to publish a book through a major publishing company; and for this reason alone I recommend printing your book through one of the many self-publishing companies. Since you can publish a book using print on demand with its fast, cheap book printing; it hardly seems worth the long and involved process of submitting your manuscript to a standard publishing company. With digital publishing you can actually publish book in a few weeks, depending on how long and complicated it is; and if you intend to sell it or not.
When you consider that major booksellers only garnered a 19% market share of book sales in 2012 (from Publisher’s Weekly); this leaves a large chunk of books being purchased online. Traditional book publishing houses primarily market books through bookstores,and the bookstore market has become pretty slim. One of the major book store chains (Borders Bookstores) went bankrupt in 2011; and the other major book store chain may soon follow. And traditional publishing companies are struggling and merging and changing in response. Using the print on demand method to publish your own book will save you time, money, and a lot of frustration in dealing with the corporate world of a publishing house—and makes it possible to for you to make your own book! I have outlined 4 basic steps instructing you how to publish your own book successfully.
Basic Steps of How to Publish Your Own Book
Step 1: Write Your Book: First, write your book. It is not advisable to write and publish your book at the same time! I will not spend a lot of time here explaining how to write a book, because as a publishing coach, my specialty is really how to publish a book—how to publish a novel, non-fiction book, a children’s book, or non-fiction, even how to publish a cookbook, but not how to write. I always tell my new clients—there are 3 major stages in the completion of your book—write a book, publish a book and lastly, market the book.
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Stages of Writing and Self-Publishing a Book
I strongly recommend you not to mix these stages with one another. My Publishing Solo Guide will offer three separate volumes for each of those stages. Before embarking on the publishing process I highly recommend you first write your own book. There are many resources that can instruct you how to write a book, including local writer’s groups, and even books about how to write a book! As for preparing the manuscript for digital publishing, write your book in a WORD document. Once you complete the writing, you’ll need to consider editing. Hire a professional or ask a friend with the skill of editing to edit it; or wait a month or two, then pick it up and edit yourself. This depends on your budget and your skill level. There are 3 stages of editing; content edit, copy-edit and proofreading. You may hire three separate specialists for this, or perhaps one can do it all; but be sure to cover all three areas of editing. (See our “Definition of Publishing Terms,” members receive after joining this site). Don’t skimp on this part no matter how tight your budget. Hire a professional proofreader to correct it; because after spending so much time writing it, you will be immune to errors. Once you enter the publishing process, stop the writing! Step 2: Intent to Publish Agreement: When a traditional publisher accepts a manuscript for publication; a signed agreement is required. Therefore once you decide to publish a book, an agreement with yourself is a powerful and mighty step to propel you into the publishing process. Do not miss this step, or take this step lightly. Write and sign an Intent to Publish Agreement. You may get the original Intent to Publish Agreement created by Self Publishing Coach Deborah S.Nelson by clicking on the button here:If you want to succeed in self-publishing your own book, make an agreement with yourself that no matter what, you are going to publish your own book by a certain date. The good thing about self-publishing is that you do not have a corporate publisher breathing down your neck; the bad thing about self-publishing is that you don’t have a corporate publisher breathing down you neck. Two things can easily set in…procrastination or perfectionism. Both result in a failure to launch…and publish. It is very important that you make an agreement with yourself and at least one trusted witness. that you will finish your self-publishing project by a certain (reasonable) date.
Too Many Cooks in the Publishing Kitchen!
Most of us have heard of the expression, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth!” This is even more true with self-publishing. It is easy to make changes when you are self-publishing; and everyone that you are sharing with can tend the think of themselves as an expert. I have seen many a publishing project foiled, unnecessarily delayed, or the creative flow spoiled by the confusion of too many “expert opinions.” This is not a problem in traditional publishing because the publisher is in charge and they make most of the decisions. One advantage to self publishing your own book is that you have much creative control. But there is a flip side to this. Step 3. Focus Groups: If you want to self-publish a successful, cohesive book, resist the temptation to get everyone and anyone’s opinions about the book cover, the synopsis, the font used in the interior design, because “everyone’s an expert,” and very thing has ruined many a book project; even stopped it from being competed. This is tempting because we tend to want verification, support, and ego-stroking while going through the process of publishing a book. This is key to avoid the potential nightmare of super critical friends and family who are “only looking out for your best interest.” You could become very confused and upset by all the differing opinions and proclamations about your book project, and them immobilization and procrastination can set in. This is what you can do. After you have written your raw manuscript, and before you have it edited; call together a carefully selected “focus group” of trusted friends, family, associates. Be sure these people are supportive of you and your growth, and genuinely want you to succeed. A;though this does not appear to have a lot to do with the actual publishing or printing, it is a necessary part of learning how to publish a book.
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Self Publishing Focus Group
Give an official self publishing insider launch party; and pass out copies of your (unedited) manuscript. Explain that you are going to self-publish and you want their support, comments and ideas, and ask them to take their time in reading your manuscript. Let them know you are on a production schedule and need their response within 2-3 weeks. Give them an exact date that is comfortable for you. Let them know, that this is your “raw” manuscript and you would like their response and reactions on the concept of the content, not on proofreading or editing details. Hire someone professional who will proofread according to a designated style manual later on. Thus you avoid debates and nitpicking on punctuation, numbers and formatting interpreted differently according to different publishing style guides. Often there is really no “right way” to do these things; and many things, even punctuation choices, come down to style choices. No sense discussing these at this point, when a lot of these details are deleted in the content edit. If you are working with a Publishing Coach, invite them as for moral support, and to answer questions. Then tell them you will host one more meeting for the cover design. They again have seven to 10 days (you decide on timeline) to give feedback; and after that you will no longer accept comments. This neutralizes the “too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome,” and at the same time you will get thoughtful valuable feedback from friends and family; instead of offhanded thoughtless negative critique which is often devastating coming from friends and family. No one will feel like out, and you can include the names of those in your focus group in the acknowledgements in your book. Consciously and carefully select your focus group to avoid inadvertently soliciting the never-ending critique who just can’t seem to stop advising! You must do this in advance and be very clear to everyone there will be two (or just one) focus groups meetings and then 1 week to give feedback . You will take all their reactions under advisement, and then move forward without guilt, never to look back! Do not let too many cooks in the kitchen telling you how to publish your own book!
Publishing on Kindle, Amazon, Ebooks, and Other Forms
Step 4: Publish a Book in Different Forms: Now that you ready to succeed in publishing your own book, I suggest one more step before you get started. If you make these decisions now, it is much easier, and less expensive to do this during the self-publishing process. Decide on all the book forms you will self-publish before you start. Will you also self-publish your own eBook? If so, then you will want your interior layout person to take one little extra step to make that for you. Are you planning on publishing a Kindle book? Once, I hired someone to do a Kindle layout for my book, and the charge was only $25 extra for my own eBook version! Will you want to publish an audio book version? If so that will affect your choice of print on demand publishers; and you’ll want to publish your own book on Amazon, who also offers audio book and Kindle solutions. Will your book be four-color or black and white? Which versions are best and most inexpensively published in color and/or black and white? Before you get started with your self-publishing project, make an informed decision on what other versions of your book you will self-publish and bring those decisions into your budget right up front. Make a list of all the different publishing mediums you will use and order them noting which versions will be in color, and/or black and white. These are the beginning steps required to publish a book and to insure a successful book publishing experience. They may seem simple and basic, but do not skip them, as you may find yourself failing before you start or finish. Now that you’ve read this entire article, take the most important step: Make an agreement with yourself to get started now on your dream to publish your own book. Deborah S. Nelson
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