What are the Steps for Publishing Your Own Book?

Kelly Andersson

You are a writer interested in publishing your own book. In the early 21st century, that can be fairly easy once you know your product and your goal. You need to know what kind of book you’re writing, whether you intend to sell it or give it as a gift to family and friends, and how much time and money you can afford to spend. Depending on those factors, you then can determine whether you need to hire professionals — an editor, a cover artist or graphic designer, a marketing specialist — to help out or just ask a friend for a favor.

There are many things a person must consider if they wish to publish their own book.
There are many things a person must consider if they wish to publish their own book.

If you’re only interested in publishing your own book for distribution among family and friends, asking one of them to check your manuscript for typos and other small problems may be sufficient. Another option would be to check at a nearby college or university for an English major or journalism major who would be willing to edit your book, either for the experience or for a small fee. A niece or nephew with an interest in art could help with the cover design. There would be no need for marketing. In such a case, your budget would only need to stretch far enough to cover the cost of paper, ink and binding materials.

Distributing and marketing a book so that it can be sold in bookstores is often the hardest part of self-publishing.
Distributing and marketing a book so that it can be sold in bookstores is often the hardest part of self-publishing.

When you’re planning on publishing your own book to sell, you’ll benefit from professional help. Professional editors are easy to find online, and they usually offer quick turnaround and reasonable rates. Your local college, library, bookstore or newspaper office also may help you find an editor closer to home. A professional editor can transform your rough manuscript into a publishable format that's both marketable and a credit to its author.

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Even people who publish their own book should have manuscripts read by an editor.
Even people who publish their own book should have manuscripts read by an editor.

Hiring a marketing specialist with Internet experience can help you get your book publicized to the world. Marketing specialists, like editors, don’t have to be hired full-time to get the job done, and they also are easy to find online. Many work on a contract basis, perhaps putting in a few hours of work a week to publicize your book over the course of a few months. In addition to contacting bookstores — especially independent stores that may be more open to supporting a local author — to see if they’d be interested in carrying your book for sale, a marketing specialist can design a website to get your book publicized online.

Writers may be able to submit their manuscripts by email to certain publishing houses.
Writers may be able to submit their manuscripts by email to certain publishing houses.

A graphic designer can handle the cover art when you’re publishing your own book. Graphic designers who specialize in books also can design your page layout, headers and footers, and chapter titles and fonts. They also can be found to work on a per-job basis.

Recent innovations in print-on-demand (POD) options have brought book printing within reach of authors who previously could not afford to print their own books. Other innovations in self-publishing include e-books, which may be as simple as a PDF file that's available for download from a website, or as complex as electronic versions of your book that are created for reading on a variety of platforms. Newer devices for the home office, such as high-speed high-resolution printers and other desktop publishing equipment and software, have made self-publishing easier and more affordable for first-time authors who want to handle their own publishing.

Authors publishing their own book might use an on-demand service that only prints a copy once ordered.
Authors publishing their own book might use an on-demand service that only prints a copy once ordered.

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