A Crash Course on Self-Publishing

Previously, we discussed the basic processes involved in having a manuscript published. However, that’s for traditional publishing. Another way to get your book published is via self-publishing. The process is pretty similar to traditional publishing, with a few steps removed and tweaked. To help you make a decision whether to go the traditional or the self-publishing route, we’ll discuss self-publishing in detail.

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  1. Self-Publishing Defined

    With self-publishing, the uncertainty of rejection by a publishing house is eliminated immediately. Self-publishing means that you, the author, take charge of all the work done by a publishing house. The process is usually a lot more time-consuming, not to mention could cost a lot of money.

  2. You Call the Shots

    In traditional publishing, the idea is to offer your work to a publishing house. Therefore, the publishing house takes charge of marketing, printing, and distributing your work, and you would just be along for the ride. With self-publishing, you make all those decisions yourself: publication format, editing, marketing, distribution, etc.

  3. Your Intellectual Property Is Still Yours

    Once you offer your work for publication, your work is not yours anymore, or at least not all of it. This is because you are giving the publishing house the rights to publish your work or to have your work adapted into various media platforms. With self-publishing, this is not an issue since you are the one getting your work published and not someone else.

  4. Things to Remember

    As previously mentioned, when you decide to self-publish, you are deciding to take on all the work done by a publishing house. Here’s a rundown of things that you will have to do in order to sell your book.

    a. Research – This is always an important step. Look around your local bookstores and see what kind of books get sold there. This gives you an idea of what kind of books they consign, the cost of the books, and if it’s a good idea to actually sell your book there. Talk to the shop managers and build rapport so that when time comes, you’ll have contacts to tap for marketing events. If you’re publishing an e-book, look for places where you can sell your book in digital format. Try looking at how the synopses are written, what kinds of books sell, and how much e-books cost.

    b. Editing – You absolutely cannot edit your own book. You’ve already seen it who knows how many times. Get a professional editor to look at your work and whip it up to publishable shape. Build a relationship with your editor; they’re helping you sell your book after all.

    c. Designing – Once your manuscript is edited, look for someone who can layout your manuscript into book format and create a cover for your book. Be sure to communicate with your designer so that they know what you want to achieve, but listen to your designer as well. They know what they’re doing.

    d. Printing – You may not have to find a publisher, but if you’re looking to publish a physical book and not just an e-book, you’ll have to look for a printer. This is where the bulk of your expenses will go. Just make sure not to go overboard on your order because while it might cost less per copy, any books you don’t sell is simply money down the drain.

    e. Marketing – While your books are in the process of printing (or while your designer is preparing it for upload), it’s time to spread the word. There are plenty of tools you can use. Social media is relatively easy to use and can be extremely beneficial especially if you have a substantial amount of followers. Other than that, you can reach out to book bloggers, give them advanced copies, and have them tell their followers about the book. Hosting book readings and launch parties are another way to generate buzz.

    f. Consignment – Sure, you can definitely sell books from your front yard a la lemonade stand, but the faster way to sell your books is to consign them to bookshops. When consigning books, the bookshop keeps part of the earnings that your book makes. It pays to do your research and be ready to negotiate.

  5. So Should You Self-Publish?

    Right now, self-publishing is a popular trend among many established writers. However, some first-time writers also turn to self-publishing as a way to get their name out there in the industry. If you have effort, time, and money to spare, as well as the willingness to go through the entire process mentioned above, then go for it!