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By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Book Coach-Speaker

Click Here for Your Free Self-Publishing Toolkit by Deborah S. Nelson from Publishing SoloSo, you want to learn how to publish a book yourself? For many, publishing a book is one of the most unforgettable and exhilarating moments of their lives. Indeed, Publishing SOLO Magazine rigorously covers do-it-yourself publishing and offers readers honest, practical self-publishing info! So, if you want to learn how to publish a book yourself, read on!

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Deborah S Nelson, Publishing Coach & Publishing SOLO Magazine Editor

Having worked in a publishing house, and as a publishing coach; I spearheaded quality publishing of more than 100 books. As an Indie Publishing Coach, I teach you (students and clients) how to publish your own books; become your own publisher; and retain 100% of your rights and royalties. I am not a publisher, but I skillfully lead, guide, and coach clients how to publish a book–professionally and independently.

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In addition, you always retain 100% of your rights and royalties. Our self-publishing services and resources start at Free for the Self-Publishing Toolkit and Mini-Book Coaching.

Full VIP service fees start at $5,000+ for ghost writing or ghost publishing with executives and celebs. We offer personalized, professional quality, “done-for-you” self publishing services. Meanwhile, feel free to explore hundreds of “how to” articles about this brave new world of independent book publishing.

Basic Steps of How to Publish a Book

This article gives basic steps of how to publish a book and prevent the costly pitfalls of self-publishing a book. For me, publishing a book is one of the most significant events of my life. Bear in mind, publishing a book is a life event such as raising a child, getting married, and graduating from college!

Publish a Book with Independent Publishing

With decades of experience in the publishing, printing, and advertising industries, I have done the hard work. Moreover, I have made all the mistakes in DIY Publishing (do it yourself publishing) possible! Yet, my passion is to get your book to the finishing line as pain-free as possible! Learning how to publish a book is an art and a science. I outline the basic DIY publishing preliminary steps for how to self-publish a book. That’s why this website magazine offers DIY publishing tools, tips, books, and resources. Now, you too can feel the exhilaration of publishing a book and becoming a published author.


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Intent to Publish Agreement

signing an Intent to Self-Publish agreement

Sign a Self-Publishing Agreement

Are you ready to start? Ideally, you are ready to take a leap of faith and make a commitment to publish your book. If so, sign an Intent to Publish Agreement with yourself. Once you do that, even you aren’t quite ready … continue reading this article to get going; as this website also covers all the frequently asked self-publishing questions and more!

Can Anyone Learn How to Publish a Book?

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Learn How to Self-Publish Your Book with Publishing Solo

You may wonder, “Will this article teach me how to publish my own book?” Yes! By detailing 4 steps of how to self-publish your own book, this article will set you up for self-publishing success. So, as the basis for self your publishing success, I advise that you make your own book using the on-demand book printing method, instead of short-run printing or getting published by 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–it covers DIY publishing basics. I have worked both inside a publishing house and with print on demand. The book publishing industry has moved to digital publishing, and great options are found in self-publishing.


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Self-Publishing vs Traditional Book Publishing

Rightly, it takes time and dedication to publish your own book through a major publishing company. Being financially independent with time on your hands would be best for this method. If you are not in this state, I recommend printing your book through one of the many self-publishing companies who use print on demand. Since publishing a book using print on demand is fast, cheap book printing; it hardly seems worth the long and involved process of submitting your manuscript to a traditional publishing company. Ultimately, with DIY publishing (do-it-yourself publishing) you can publish a book in a few weeks, depending on how long it is; and if you intend to sell it or not.

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How to Self-Publish: Self-Publishing a Book on Amazon

Advantages of Self-Publishing Your Book with Independent Publishing

When considering that major booksellers only garnered a 19% market share of book sales in 2012 (Publisher’s Weekly); this leaves the large chunk of books purchased online. Also, traditional publishing houses primarily market most of their books through bookstores, and the bookstore market segment has become quite small. One of the major bookstore chains (Borders Bookstores) went bankrupt in 2011, and the other major book store chain may soon follow.

Keep in mind, traditional book publishing companies are struggling and merging and making adjustments. Using the print on demand method to publish your own book will save you time, money, and 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 four preliminary steps instructing you how to self-publish a book successfully.

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Steps for How to Publish a Book Yourself

Step 1: Write Your Book

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Obviously, before publishing a book, the first thing to do is to write the book. It does not have to be perfect! Editors and proofreaders will polish it once you enter the publishing process. In this article, I do not teach how to write a book. As a publishing coach, my specialty is teaching writers how to publish a book—how to publish a novel, non-fiction book, or how to publish a children’s book; and how to publish a cookbook. I teach my clients—the 3 stages to the completion of a book. They include writing the book, publishing a book and lastly, marketing the book. In other articles, I teach how to write, as well as how to self-edit your book to save thousands of dollars. Go to 10 Self-Editing Tips for a Smoothly Written Ride to learn this handy skill quickly.

.The Process of Writing and Self-Publishing a Book

Before embarking on learning how to publish a book, I suggest you first write your own book. Indeed, many resources are available to instruct you on how to write a book, including local writer’s groups, and books about how to write a book!  In addition, I personally,  have written many articles and produced many videos on this site with tips and tricks and writing hacks for how to write a book. To prepare the manuscript for digital publishing, write your manuscript in a Word document.

Once you complete the writing, you’ll need to consider editing. Hire a professional or ask a friend with editing skills to edit it, or wait a month or two, then pick it up and edit yourself. Of course, this all depends on your budget and editing skill level. The three stages of editing are 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,” which members receive after joining this site). Notably, do not skimp on this no matter how tight your budget. Hire a professional proofreader to correct your writing; because after spending so much time writing it, you become immune to errors.

Once you enter the publishing process, stop the writing! Next, the second part of the first step of how to publish a book is to create the front and back matter. Notably, this includes the preface, introduction, table of contents, dedication, index, end notes, and many other parts that go into publishing a book. To learn more about what to include in the front and back matter you may refer to the Book Blueprint, by Deborah S. Nelson.

Step 2: How to Publish Your Own Book

Intent to Publish Agreement: Once a traditional publisher accepts your manuscript for publication; a signed agreement is done. Therefore, once you decide to publish a book, an agreement with yourself is a powerful and mighty step to propel you through the self-publishing process. This is DIY publishing at its best! Do not take this step lightly. Write and sign an Intent to Publish Agreement. You may get the original Intent to Publish Agreement created for her clients by Self-Publishing Coach Deborah S. Nelson 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 your neck. As a result, two destructive things can easily set in… procrastination or perfectionism. Both can cause 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 (realistic) date.

Too Many Cooks in the Publishing Kitchen!

Most of us have heard, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth!” This is even more true with self-publishing a book. It is easy to make changes when self-publishing; and everyone that you are sharing with may tend the think of themselves as an expert. I have seen a few DIY publishing projects foiled, unnecessarily delayed, or the creative flow spoiled by the confusion of too many family or friend “expert opinions.” However, this is not a problem in traditional publishing because the publisher makes the publishing decisions. Therefore, one advantage to self-publishing your own book is that you have the greatest creative control. Indeed, there is a flip side to this. In Step 3, we give you the solution to this potential unprofessional situation that too often happens when publishing a book yourself.

Step 3: How to Self-Publish Your Own Book

Focus Groups: If you want to self-publish a successful, professional, cohesive book, resist the temptation to get everyone and anyone’s opinions about the book cover, synopsis, the font for the interior design, or any other isolated detail.

“Everyone’s an expert,” it seems, and this situation has ruined many a book project; and even doomed its completion. While this is tempting because we want verification, support, and ego-stroking when going through the process of publishing a book, resist! Certainly, it is key to avoid the potential nightmare of super critical friends and family who are “only looking out for your best interest.” Truth is, you can become easily confused and upset by contradicting opinions and proclamations about your book. Indeed, immobilization and procrastination can result.

One Major Self Publishing Dilemma Solved

This is what you can do to handle a typical self-publishing dilemma. Once you have written your manuscript, and prior to editing; call together a carefully selected “focus group” of trusted friends, family, associates. In addition, be sure these people are supportive of you and your growth, and genuinely want you to succeed. Although this does not directly impact your publishing or printing, it is a necessary part of learning how to publish a book yourself. Also, let them know that you will take their input and feedback into consideration from this focus group meeting. However, after that, the book will be in the publishing process and cannot be changed until final proofreading time.


Those who have completed Ms. Nelson’s Courses are raving fans. See Videos Reviews & Author Library.
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How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

In reality, the cost to self-publish a book varies. In my last 10 years as a self-publishing coach I have seen many unique approaches. Although it is appreciably less expensive to publish a book yourself than with traditional publishing, the self-publishing budgets is affected by the following factors:

  1. Book physical requirements like color/black & white, # of pages …
  2. How much technical work author/publisher will do themselves.
  3. Cost to hire services like editing, proofreading, book cover design.
  4. Flow & timing of book project in wrong chronological order is costly.
  5. Adding on other publishing venues such as Kindle, and Audible, etc.

A general range is from “free” (hours and hours of time); to $15,000. The lower end includes massive sweat equity. Notably, the upper end includes a Kindle version, paperback version, and audio book, as well. In addition, the upper end includes full service ghost publishing and/or ghost writing.

For more details, read the articles: Self-Publishing Frequently Asked Questions and Real Self-Publish Costs of Self-Publishing a Book

What are Steps Involved in the Self-Publishing Process?

To simplify, see the five basic self-pubishing steps listed below:

  1. Book Structure. Add title pages, dedication, preface, foreword, and more. Decide on the pieces for front and back matter, and order them.
  2. Book Cover: Hire a book cover designer to create your book cover. Sales depend on a well-crafted book cover done by a specialist.
  3. Book Interior: Design to flow with cover, as well as create chapter heads, page numbers, headings, organizing front and back matter.
  4. Create Title: Includes ISBN number, copyright registration, and such legal technicalities. Upload book cover and interior files to print.
  5. Select Distribution Channels: This might include online distribution, or Books in Print inclusion along with creating a Publisher Brand.

For more details, see our article on FAQ Self Publishing Frequently Asked Questions and Becoming a Publisher in 7 Strategic Steps

What are the Benefits of Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing?

There are positives for self-publishing versus traditional publishing. However, the answer to this question depends a few factors listed here:

  1. Avoid Rejection: If you have not published before, avoid the long rejection process with old school publishing. Talented writers are rejected in favor of celeb and famous authors by traditional publishing companies who are hedging their financial bets.
  2. Creative Control. Let your creativity run wild when you self-publish
  3. Get Published Fast. Publish a book in as little as 2-3 months once your manuscript is ready. Of course, this includes content editing, front and back matter.

Finally, for more details see the article Brave New World of Digital Publishing and Frequently Asked Self-Publishing Questions

What is a Self-Publishing Coach?

As an example, picture a self-publishing coach, or book publishing coach much like a general contractor for building a home. Consider that a book project requires a full time effort for many months or years, depending on the scope of the project. Therefore, a good publishing coach will save more money and time than a writer is likely to spend doing it themselves, with costly mistakes.

All in all, your book coach coordinates, schedules, and budgets all services and activities to build a published book. However, most people cannot do these technical tasks, so they turn to specialists. Yet, often they hire novice workers, which can become an overpriced nightmare. Remember, You do no know what you do not know! Lastly, see Self-Publishing Coach–Why I Do it and FAQ Self Publishing Questions.