Self-Publishing a Book: 3 Rookie Pitfalls

Self-Publishing a Book Rookie Mistakes

Catch Self-Publishing Rookie Mistakes Before You Make Them

Self-Publishing a Book: Common Rookie Mistakes

By Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of self-publishing a book! Bravo! Publishing a book is an excellent choice for a project that will stretch your imagination, patience, and fortitude. I have self-published 14 books and coached and taught authors to self-publish over 100 books. I can help you avoid the common rookie pitfalls. Self-publishing is similar to taking on the general manager role of building your own home. With that understood, get ready to discover mistakes that could sabotage your book publishing project and make you want to throw in the towel.


Self-Publishing

Mistake # Three: Hiring a “Self-Publishing Company”

Let’s get your thinking straight right away.  The term,Self-publishing companies” is one of the biggest misnomers of the twenty-first century!  If you truly want to master at the art of self-publishing a book, let me help you with terminology. Also see the Dictionary of Self-Publishing for basic terms. Self-publishing a book as defined in WIKIPEDIA: Definition of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.

What does this mean? It means you do NOT hire someone to “self-publish” your book-this is crazy! The ONLY  one who can SELF publish your book is YOU! I get questions and inquiries daily about “self-publishing companies to avoid,” and I say, “AVOID ALL OF THEM!” Having said that you will need to select a printer, most likely a print of demand printer (which often label themselves as “self-publishing companies”)

The reason for this is, since you are the author, YOU and only YOU are the publisher. You are responsible for the entire project. When you hire one of these so-called “self-publishing companies” you are putting a third-party in the middle, spending more money than necessary, while still needing to oversee all the work. This will not save you much time, if any.  These “self-publishing companies” are, are really print on demand printing companies. Yes, you will need a printer, but that is all you will need from these so-called “self-publishing companies.”

Solution: Subcontract your own workers. Hire a print on demand company for the printing only. Then contract experts in each area. You will need a book cover designer, an interior designer, content editor, proofreader and many other freelancers throughout the process. Many so-called self-publishing companies are happy to overcharge for these services. Read my article on Managing Self-Publishing Services.

Mistake #Two: Manuscript Written Equals Book Completed

Once finished writing your manuscript, you are done, nearly done, or halfway done. WRONG. You are one-third of the way to the finish line of your book project. I tell all my clients right away that you can expect THREE parts to the life cycle of bringing a book into the world:

  1. Write Your Book
  2. Publish Your Book
  3. Market Your Book

Keep in mind that once you have written a book, you are only 1/3 of the way to knowing the complete joy of self-publishing your book! Publishing or self-publishing a book is a marathon, not a sprint.

Solution: Keep this in mind throughout the entire process to build mental and emotional  stamina needed to make it to the finishing line.

Mistake #One: Including Friends, Family & Random “Experts” in the Process

This is the top mistake most people make when self-publishing a book that keeps them from actually finishing. However, if they do persevere through all the conflicting critical eyes, the book is likely to be a mish-mash of styles, looks, proofreading rules, editorial approaches, and your watered-down message.

Let me put it to you straight. Writing a book is about giving your readers a passionate message that only you know… a story that only you can tell. When self-publishing a book get a vision for your book, and stick to it. Everyone is a “so-called” expert, and when it comes down to it, most of the decisions in book publishing are personal and artistic preference. Don’t let everyone’s well mean opinion water down your passionate message to the world.

Solution: If you feel you must get feedback, do not ask for “feedback” to feed your ego–rather for the good of the book. Plan two focus group sessions, and carefully invite your key supporters, along with your book publishing coach to moderate. In the first focus group session, share your original unedited manuscript, and ask people to report back within 7-10 days with their ideas and positive feedback. After that, move on with your book publishing project. Self-publishing a book has a timeline, and you must stay on track to get it done. You may also create a focus group later, for the book cover, and again give people 7-10 days for their reaction, and then move on. This is the biggest mistake that rookies make when self-publishing a book. Looking for support, and complements, and an ego boost, can ultimately sabotage your book project.


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Steps to Publishing a Book Yourself-Part II

Publishing a Book Yourself

By Deborah S. Nelson

Thinking of publishing a book yourself?  Bravo! I urge you to do it. There is nothing like being a published book author–especially if this has been a dream of yours. But before you begin, get a clue. Publishing a book yourself isn’t that hard! But, publishing a book yourself isn’t that easy either. Get the facts. As a publishing coach I have led a multitude of writers through the self-publishing process to publish a 100+ books. I found this basic  list to make it easy to conceptualize the big picture with specific steps to publishing a book yourself.

Step 6 of Publishing a Book Yourselfpublishing a book yourself toolkit from PUBLISHING SOLO

BOOK COVER: Create a concept which is a  compelling graphic representation of the overall idea of your book. Provide cover art or a photo to a graphic designer to design your cover. Hire a book cover designer using freelance.com or Elance.com. Be prepared with your concept, your cover photo, graphic, or image. Also, supply an author headshot for the back of the book. Supply a sales copy synopsis of the book, and a short author bio. You will need to offer the book cover template for the size of your book along with the estimated number of pages (to figure spine width), and the ISBN number assigned when you initiated your title in Step Five. Consider that your book cover may be an important piece and best done professionally when publishing a book yourself.

Publishing a book Yourself, Step 7 INTERIOR DESIGN: Like building a home, your architect creates an outer design with components such as a front porch, entryway, terraces, patios, driveway, landscaping and the overall exterior of the home; which is compared to your cover design. Once you enter the home or open the book, an interior design is clear. Selection of colors, floors, finishes, woodwork, windows are interior design components of a custom built home. For the interior of your book, select the overall look and feel using fonts, font sizes, illustrations, images, headers, and subheads, dividers, photos, and footers, page numbers, and other graphic elements. Is your book scholastic, non-fiction, playful, serious, fiction, dramatic, informative, professional, technical or fantasy-like? Create the look, feel and tone that you want to convey in the interior of the book. Supply the interior book designer (choose a specialist to avoid nightmares), with the ISBN for the copyright page, all the front and back matter, the body of the book in chronological order.The Once Upon a Book Video Series outlines the ten basic steps of how to self-publish a book.

Publishing a book Yourself, Step 8SUBMIT FILES:  Submit your interior and cover file for approval.

Once you upload these completed files,  submit for approval by the print on demand company. These files most often are required to be in the form of a “print ready PDF.” Files in this format are widely accepted by most print on demand companies and will result in a high quality output. Be sure and insist to the cover and interior designer that all components be at least 300 dpi and that all be exported to a print quality PDF. This is the technical part of publishing a book yourself. Get help from professionals to be sure your files are built to specifications, or they may be rejected by the printing company.

Step 9 of Publishing a Book YourselfPROOFREADING: Once your files are approved for printing, order a physical proof. Do not skip this step. So far you have been looking at digital files. A physical proof will show you things undetected on the computer screen. Be sure to hire a professional proofreader make a last check for typos, spacing, punctuation, missing words and duplicate words. Hire someone from E-lance.com or Freelance.com. If you know someone who does proofreading for a living you want to hire them instead. Be sure to choose a style manual for them to use as the basic of their corrections, as there are many ways to proofread and make corrections on a book, and they are not all in agreement. This is as much an art as it is a science. Consistency is the name of the game, and using a style manual for proofreading and editing will get you the most accurate corrections and consistency possible. Professional proofreading is of the most important steps in publishing a book yourself in terms of getting a professional look and feel.

Step 10 of Publishing a Book Yourself Step 10 of Publishing a Book YourselfPUBLISH: Once your final proofread is completed, make your corrections to your interior file and upload the corrected interior file to your print on demand account. Submit “publish.” With a print on demand account, you won’t need to buy an inventory of books. Just order 1 or more books at a time and your POD company prints them as ordered. Congratulations! You are a published author! BRAVO!

See the following articles:

How to Market a Self-Published Book

Top 7 Self-Publishing Questions Answered

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid


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10 Steps to Self-Publishing a Book-Part I

Video thumbnail for youtube video Book Blueprint | Publishing a Book Steps | Print on DemandPublishing a Book Yourself

So you are thinking of publishing a book yourself. Bravo! There is nothing like being a published author of a professional book–especially if this has been a long-held dream of yours. I urge you to forge ahead, but before you dive in, get a clue. Publishing a book yourself isn’t that hard! And…publishing a book yourself isn’t that easy either. Get the facts. C


Self-Publishing

heck out these 10 steps and prepare yourself for the journey. And yes, it is a journey. After leading a multitude of writers through the self-publishing process to publish a 100+ books, I found this basic  list to make it easy to conceptualize the big picture and also including the specific steps to publishing a book yourself. The video below is a quick overview of the steps required for publishing a book yourself. The steps below are much more detailed and precise. Either way consider the process and “look before you leap.”

ORGANIZE: Write the front matter including your table of contents along with the back matter you have selected to include in your book. These are such pieces as the preface, foreword, introduction, table of contents, dedication, acknowledgements, end notes, and a lot of other front and back matter which you can find out about in detail in the Publish Your Book Blueprint in 3 Days by Deborah S. Nelson. Gather and Include these pieces with the body of your manuscript in chronological order. I suggest starting a file folder names with the title of your book in your computer or in your office which will include 2 folders: Interior, and Cover. In the Interior file, include  folders entitled: Front Matter, Back Matter, Body of the Book, Interior Images. In the Cover file, include files entitled, Front Cover, Back Cover, and Cover Copy.

CONSOLIDATE: Bring your book manuscript along with the front and back matter in chronological order into a WORD document in double-spaced format. If you have trouble typing into Word, or do not have Word software hand write it and hire someone for a good rate at www.elance.com or www.freelance.com to transfer your manuscript into a Word document. These are inexpensive options for contract specialists.You simply hire and pay online using your PayPal account or credit card. Keep in mind that bringing a book into the world included 3 phases: writing the book, publishing the book and marketing the book. This phase is the publishing phase, where we bring the manuscript into publishable form.

CONTENT EDIT: Select and hire a good content editor to edit your manuscript before publishing your book. A good content editor will correct your manuscript for consistency, organization, flow and clarity. Sometimes when you write, you assume a level of understanding that your readers will not know. A good content editor will create clarity in areas which could be ambiguous, difficult to decipher and out-of-order. organization of the material chapter by chapter and even paragraph by paragraph can help to deliver the information in a clear and consistent way. Input the corrections into the document, or hire a data entry person on elance.com or freelance.com to make the corrections in the original document. The editor will use the “track changes” option in Word, and you can select the corrections you will keep, or you may “select all.”

 IMAGES: Select images to include photos, author headshot, front cover art, back cover art, illustrations, clip art, graphic elements, and chapter headers or dividers to enhance the interior design of your book. Be sure all photos are purchased, or you have written permission from the photographer, artist, or graphic designer to use and publish their materials. This is their intellectual property and if you do not get proper permissions and usage rights, you could be sued for damages. This means if your book became a best-selling author and any images or other design work was not purchased by you, you could stand to lose all for which you have worked. All images, graphics, illustration needs to be high resolution for printing–at least 300 dpi.

INITIATE YOUR TITLE:  One of the key pieces you will need for publishing a book is an ISBN number. Sign up for a print on demand account. One of the most reliable POD services is CreateSpace which is also owned by Amazon Books, and is a very convenient distributor of online books as the Earth’s Largest Bookstore. (sign up here for a free CreateSpace Account). You will need to decide upon the exact title of your book, subtitle, size, shape, and configuration (color or black and white) of your book to initiate your title. Once you have initiated your title, you will get an ISBN number assigned by CreateSpace (free) to your title and you’ll be able to give the ISBN number to your cover designer and interior designer to include in the right spots of both the cover and the interior.

 For Step 6-10 and Part II, click here.


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