By AK Fielding
For this month’s article on self-publishing, also known as indie publishing, I shall discuss how to self-publish your book. Whether you want to self-publish to create a supplemental income or to simply share unique tips on homesteading, writing, publishing, and marketing your book is a feat that few can claim. Self-publishing is an amazing accomplishment!
How to Self-Publish Your Book – Two Ways
There are two common ways to self-publish your book today so it is available in print: hire a self-publishing firm (yes, they exist) or use a self-publishing service, such as CreateSpace or Lulu.
Of course, the alternative to physical books is to publish your work online as a downloadable eBook on your website or on your blog. Whatever method you choose, realize that each option comes with its own set of responsibilities and associated costs.
Before you make a decision about which method of self-publishing you want to use, consider the following:
- Costs associated with publishing the book
- Distribution service
- Royalties breakdown
- Marketing service
- Customer service
- Editorial service
- Ease of use in designing your book
- Any legal contracts that bind you
Many self-publishing firms offer a full line of services to its authors. Authors can work with editors, designers, and marketing specialists to see the completion of their books. Self-publishing firms offer a variety of services, leaving authors more time to work on their next projects. The upfront costs associated with such self-publishing firms, however, are higher and some budding authors may find it difficult to bear.
The Print-on-Demand feature available through self-publishing companies such as CreateSpace is a good option for authors who want to publish without having to spend a lot of money upfront.
Print-on-Demand also allows you more control from the beginning to the end of the self-publishing process.
Here are some of the features you control that are available from CreateSpace:
- Cover design
- Interior formatting
- Free ISBN
- Minimal upfront cost
- Retain copyright
In addition, CreateSpace also provides editorial and design services should you need it, but remember, you will need to pay additional fees if you decide to use this option. If, on the other hand, you do everything yourself, CreateSpace provides you with templates you can use to design your book cover or you can submit your own pre-made design cover. You must meet the requirements for formatting and image resolution for both the interior and book cover, but you have the ability to add illustrations or text as you choose.
CreateSpace also gives you the minimum amount needed as a list price for your book to cover the costs associated with printing your book. Thereafter, you have the choice to set the retail price for your book. You can also buy your own ISBN number for your book or use the free ISBN number provided by CreateSpace.* You control the distribution channels for your book. That means if you want your book to be made available to libraries, you can choose that feature. If you want to forgo offering your book on an international scale, you can also select that as an option.
Advantages of Self-publishing with Print-on-Demand
Perhaps the greatest advantage to using Print-on-Demand is that the upfront cost to authors is minimal. For many new authors, this means the difference between publishing their work now and waiting. Through Print-on-Demand, you are only charged when a book is printed. Once the cost of printing the book is withdrawn from the sale, CreateSpace pays you the difference in royalties.
Marketing Your Book
The cost of publishing your work is important but how you market your book to sell is crucial to your success as an author. Many authors feel that if they get a traditional publisher to publish their book, they will never have to do anything. It is foolhardy to think that your book will sell on its own. Although it is true that traditional publishers and even self-publishing firms will assist in marketing your book, they too expect the author to do some marketing of his or her own. Book signing, author seminars, lectures, workshops, book clubs, and library presentations are all ways in which you can promote your book. Some of these may even be mandatory if you are waiting for a traditional publisher or a self-publishing firm to offer you a contract.
Today the success of your book is related to how well you promote your work. If you have been following my articles, you know I recommend specific steps in helping to establish yourself as a writer before you even consider publishing. Therefore, if you have written something worthy of publishing, worked hard on establishing your platform, grown your base, and acquired skills necessary to self-publish, maybe it is time to think of self-publishing your work yourself as a legitimate option.
*Editor’s note: If you want to choose your own imprint when publishing through CreateSpace, (e.g., “Gold Rush Press,” “Little School on the Homestead Publications,” “Homestead Publishing,” etc.) you will need to purchase an ISBN number. If you opt to use the free ISBN provided by CreateSpace, their imprint (CreateSpace) will be printed on the back of the book. Using your own imprint can give your publication a more professional look.
AK Fielding is a historian, artist, writer, illustrator, and homeschool educator. Her articles on American history have appeared in the Journal of the American Revolution, Illinois Heritage Magazine, Hoosier Heritage Magazine, new media publications, and her blog. Her art has appeared in galleries and national and international publications. For more information about her art and books on American history, please visit: http://trehanstreasures.com/.
2 thoughts on “How to Self-Publish Your Book”
Great points about the marketing. Authors wear many hats. Oftentimes the writing of the book is the easiest part!
I like CreateSpace – it’s fairly easy to use although I can always “cheat” and use someone on Fiverr to sort out my formatting or cover design, etc.
The quality of the finished books is pretty high as well.
But wearing all the different hats that would each be handled by different departments in a traditional publisher can be daunting.
I do my best to put those doubts to the back of my mind and just do it – you can always get a printed proof before going live. I did that for my first book as I don’t totally trust computers (been using them for too long!)
But don’t use the “I don’t know” solution to procrastinate – there’s still a lot to be said for a publish and be damned attitude.