Over the years, there have been numerous requests at BAIPA events for a description of what is involved in self-publishing a book. So, here it is. Note that this list is based on using KDP and IngramSpark, which are the only two print-on-demand/ distribution companies available, with you managing the project yourself, maybe pulling in some experts for editing, cover design, interior formatting, and eBook conversion. If you choose to hire someone (or a hybrid publisher) to do all this for you, it is still a good idea for you to have a sense of what is involved. Here goes!
Before You Start the Publishing Process
Make sure your manuscript is final, ideally having at least a professional copy edit/proofreading pass.
This includes defining your target market, finalizing your title, subtitle, author name, etc., as well as deciding on your trim size, editions, and more.
Here’s where you pull together the pieces that go in front of your manuscript, such as title pages, advance reviews, copyright page, dedication, etc.
Have you thought about including a list of your other books (if you have at least one), Book Club questions, and maybe a Letter to the Reader, inviting them to review your book?
There are a number of steps that you need to take outside of compiling your “full” manuscript with front and back matter. They include selecting categories and keywords, as well as writing your book description, and maybe a version of that for your Amazon sales page.
Here’s where you do some research on other covers in your genre, as well as figuring out how you are going to get your cover designed, and what you want on your front cover.
Now we get to formatting the interior of your book. Are you going to do it yourself or hire someone? Have you checked any images to make sure they are high enough resolution? Also in this phase, you will go get your Library of Congress number, and maybe your PCIP data block.
Retail/print pricing & royalties
Remember to research comparable books regarding retail pricing for all of the editions you are considering. There is also research to do with both KDP and IngramSpark to find out print costs and royalties.
Publish your book through KDP
Now you are ready to set your book up on KDP and then publish! I recommend you do KDP first, before you tackle IngramSpark. There are a number of steps, including ordering printed proofs so you can review an actual, “hold in your hands” book. You will be amazed at the things that pop out during that process that you just did not see looking at files on your computer screen, or even printing out the pages on your printer.
Publish your book through IngramSpark
If you want bookstores and libraries to be able to find and order your book, you need to set your book up in IngramSpark, so that you get into the Ingram catalog.
Create your Hardback Edition (optional)
Perhaps you want to have a hardcover (or hardback) edition. Do this AFTER your paperback is final, at least on KDP. Note that KDP is now offering hardback editions, but with limited specifications.
Create your eBook edition
It is best to wait until at least your paperback edition is final before you generate the ePub files needed for your ebook editions (Kindle and others).
Last Amazon Steps
Amazon has some great marketing features, including your Amazon Author Page, being able to add additional Amazon categories, and even add some graphics and other content to your Amazon sales page (A+ Content).
Final Business Items
Don’t forget to compile your list of accounts with logins, so you have an easy reference for all of the sites you used during this self-publishing process. And don’t forget to file your copyright with copyright.gov.
I bet that seemed like a lot! It can be. However, if you take your time and methodically go step by step, you can turn out a great book. If you would like a more detailed version of the above, you can get a complete checklist of ALL the STEPS you need to self-publish your book here.