Writing a book can be difficult but getting it published can be even more challenging. A lot of publishers have been slashing budgets and some of them are reluctant to publish the work of unknown writers. Luckily, self-publishing is an option and it’s great way to get your work out in the open and possibly make a profit. Best of all, you can do it in just five easy steps. Check them out:
- Prepare and print your document. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your work is fit for consumption by the world at large. This means proofreading your document and fixing typos, grammatical errors, and gaping plot holes, if applicable. If you’re not good at catching typos on your own, hire a professional proofreader or have one of your writer friends go over the copy. Make sure you choose a title that will capture the attention of your intended audience. Print your book on high-quality paper that’s acid-free so readers can enjoy your work for years to come.
- Design your cover. Although there’s that old adage that says people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, unfortunately most people do. That’s why you need to make your cover both eye-catching and professional-looking. If you don’t feel like you have good graphic design skills, ask an artistically inclined friend to help you out. Be sure to take him/her out to lunch as a way of thanking them. (Mentioning them on your acknowledgments page is also a good idea.)
- Bind it with your binding machine. There are many different kinds of binding methods including coil, comb, perfect, and thermal binding. The punch-and-bind methods are less expensive but you can’t beat the look of a thermally bound book. You can create both hardcover and paperback versions of your book with a thermal binding machine. Just turn the machine on, wait for it to heat up, and place the pages of your work in a thermal binding cover. Once the machine is ready, place your book in the machine and run it through a binding cycle. (A cycle only lasts for about a minute or so.) After your book has been bound, let it cool off so the adhesive has a chance to set. You can then repeat the process. If your books are fairly short, you will probably be able to bind more than one during a cycle. Give it a try so you can save yourself a little bit of time.
- Get your ISBN. Getting an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is essential if you want to successfully market and sell your book. An ISBN belongs only to your work so it can be identified in databases, libraries, bookstores, and so on. You can get your ISBN via websites such as ISBN.com.
- Market it. Now that you’ve published your book, it’s time to market it. There are a number of ways you can do this. Take a look at some of them:
- Market your book via social media and the Internet. Create a website that contains information about yourself and your book. Start a blog on a site such as Tumblr. Set up a Twitter account (if you don’t already have one) and place a link to your website or blog in your bio. That way, interested readers can buy from you directly. You might also want to consider setting up a Facebook fan page for your book.
- Dedicated readers love to meet their favorite authors so you should consider having a book signing. Possible places to have a signing include your local independent bookstore, library, or even a school.
- If you can afford it, give copies of your book to your friends and select family members, especially if they’re avid readers and like to talk about what they’re reading. You may even want to ask them to review your book on sites such as GoodReads.com. Remember that word of mouth travels fast!
- E-books are more popular than ever and some people actually prefer using a Kindle or other e-reader to reading a paper document. Therefore, it makes sense to do an electronic version of your book. You can easily make a PDF of your book and it’s also a snap to publish it as a Kindle edition. This will help you reach as many readers as possible.
It can be both scary and exciting to self-publish your book. After all, you’re really putting yourself and your work out there. Hopefully the five tips listed above will help you through the process so you can enjoy self-publishing success. Good luck!