How To Self-Publish Your Book

self-publish your book

If you’re a first-time author, it’s completely understandable if you don’t know anything about publishing.

Traditional publishing can be great if you manage to find an agent, but remember that the total time from the idea of your book to print might approximately take two years. If you do get the opportunity to get published traditionally, then awesome.

In self-publishing, you get to keep your book’s rights and the royalty you get from it.  This article will explain your publishing options and will make it easier for you to choose from.

3 Most Common Publishing Options

There are three ways of getting your book publishing.

  1. Traditional Publishing is when a company buys the rights of your book. Since your book’s rights are theirs, they can do anything to your book like edit, remove and add something before it’s published.
  2. Self-Publishing is when an author pays the publishing house to do everything for them like the book cover design, editing, typesetting, marketing, promotion, etc.
  3. Vanity Publishing is the third option which i won’t get into.

Authors choose to self-publish for two main reasons.

  • They struggle to find multiple freelancers to help them. When they do, they find them expensive and hard to coordinate with to make quick changes.
  • They spend a lot of money to buy software to create their boom themselves are left unhappy with the results as it lacks a professional touch.

This article explains the process of getting your fiction and nonfiction book published  the traditional and self-publishing way.

How to get your Novel published

Fiction

You’ve finally finished your novel and are excited to share with everyone. Your next step is to publish it.

Here are the steps to publish your novel:

  1. Research Your Genre
  2. Manuscript Feedback
  3. Research Your Publisher
  4. Contact the publisher

Research

Step 1: Research Your Genre

Ask any author, writing coach, and editor for advice on getting published, and 97% of them will tell you to read widely in your genre. In other words, it means to read a lot of books which are of the same genre you’re writing. The rest 3% will assume that you’re already doing this. It is your duty as an author to know the kinds of books people are buying.

Before you start writing, it’s best to research the current trend ( vampires, adventure, sci-fi, etc) as well. Keep in mind that trends change fast, so if you do decide to go with traditional publishing, it might take years for your book to get published. By the time your book is out, the current trend might change.

With self-publishing, your book will hit the racks in just four weeks.

Research your genre

Step 2 : Manuscript feedback.

All writers get feedback for their manuscript. Before you look for people to ask for feedback, you can consider working with beta readers —  people who are interested in your genre. This not only helps you but will also help promote your book in their circle. There’s no point in asking for feedback from someone who’s a stranger to books, is there?

Along with beta readers, try to hunt down some professionals to give their feedback too. Sure your family member or best friend will be more than happy to help, but it’s not the best choice. Why?

  • Like it or not, they wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings.
  • They might not belong to your target audience.

Step 3: Research Your Publisher

Research is the foundation of any publishing process, but this time, for publishers. With so many traditional and self-publishing houses out there, how do you know which one to choose?

First, decide which way you want to publish. I agree there are lots of good traditional companies out there, but there’s always a catch.  You need to first find an agent and then an editor, and you know how the rest goes. The worst part is that they can buy the rights of your book, which means they can change, add and remove whatever they want.

Self-publishing is more hassle-free. To find the perfect publisher, make sure they:

  • Are approachable.
  • Offer their services at reasonable rates.
  • Are professionals and know what they’re doing.
  • Have a non-exclusive agreement (you can traditionally publish your book and self-publish with other publishers too).
  • Are fast but not too fast.
  • Offer good print service.
  • Maintain inventory.
  • Take care of marketing (tailor-made) and distribution.
  • Author support.
  • Post publishing support.

The best part of self-publishing is that you get to have 100% control over your royalty and book’s publishing rights.

publishing support

Step 4: Contact the publisher

Obtaining an agent if you’re a first-time author is pretty tricky in traditional publishing. You have to send query letters to agents first as publishing houses won’t consider you without an agent. Chances are you won’t hear back from them. If you do hear from them, they’ll ask for 5 to 20% of your take on the book, and If they find a publisher for you, the publisher will want 85 to 90% of your take.

On the other hand, self-publishing is more convenient. All you’ve got to do is go to their website, get their number or email and contact them. Once you do, they’ll help you:

  • Select a package.
  • Publish your book.
  • Distribute and Promote.

How To Get Your Non-Fiction Book Published

Non fiction

This part is smaller as most of the steps applied in fiction are used here also. The publishing process of a non-fiction book is the same as fiction. The only difference lies in the initial stages before you publish.

Steps to publish a non-fiction book are:

  1. Research similar books
  2. Must have commercial potential
  3. Must Be Authentic

Book published

Step 1: Research similar books

You can begin your research by checking out how many similar books have already been published. You can get the books’ daily sale estimates by running their Amazon ranks through an Amazon calculator. Apart from online research, you can even go to bookstores and see how well the books of your category are doing.

If you struggle to find similar books, then awesome.

Step 2: Must have commercial potential 

Since fiction fans read books more for pleasure, the market can handle an endless number of books in this genre. Non-fiction readers read for two reasons – pleasure and to solve a problem. How can they play the flute? How can they learn Japanese? If there are many books out there that offer the same thing as you, you might be in trouble. 

Ask yourself one question – “What will make them buy my book?” 

  • “I’m writing about something interesting.” Are there books similar to yours selling well?
  • “It’s different from the rest.” There must be something gripping about your book that separates it from the rest.
  • “I’m qualified to write about this.” A book on advanced photography won’t be as compelling unless the author is a professional photographer. Unlike fiction books, non-fiction books must prove that the author is qualified to write it. 

Step 3: Must Be Authentic 

Not all writers who write a non-fiction book are educationally qualified for it. But that doesn’t stop them from being the next bestseller. To write a non-fiction book, a lot of research must be done for it. You don’t want to make errors in dates, times, locations, etc., do you?

Your aim is to have an error-free book. If not your credibility as an author can be at stake.

There you go. The two main ways to publish a book. Although traditional publishing has been there for decades, self-publishing is now taking over the industry. Of course, both traditional and self-publishing has its pros and cons, but today, the majority of writers opt for self-publishing over traditional publishing.

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