I have a friend who just asked me today about some self publishing tips. How do you self publish a book? As I was thinking about what resources to email her, I realized that many of you may also have a “book inside” and you’re wondering how to let it out!
The first question I would encourage you to ask yourself is:
What is the goal for your book?
1. Do you want to give the book to your family and friends for posterity’s sake?
2. Do you have big commercial aspirations for your book?
If you resonate more with answer #1, you don’t want to invest a lot money in creating a book that looks like a New York Times Bestseller. You will be shopping around for the best price to create a decent book for your friends and family.
By visiting many self-publishing sites, you can request free materials about the publishing process and also get a feel for what questions you need to ask.
Christian Services Network (CSN) offers a free evaluation of your manuscript along with a quote to create your book.
Xulon Press offers a free publishing guide.
Lulu has been used by more than 1 million authors.
Dan Poynter is a self-publishing expert extraordinaire. On his site, you’ll find resources from A – Z to help you write your book, produce your book, promote and market your book, fulfill, ship and more.
Remember that educating yourself about the book process and business will save you many headaches and dollars in the future.
If you resonate more with answer #2, you will be more serious about investing money in creating a professional book. A huge part of this is having someone design a professional cover. Keep in mind that the cover must look good small (think thumbnail of your book cover on Amazon).
WinePress Publishing makes beautiful covers but you will pay more for that professional look. But if you are a speaker and plan to sell your book at the back of the room, having a professional looking book will give you credibility.
WestBow Press is a division of Thomas Nelson and they help authors self-publish books.
In terms of a reality check, keep in mind the average print self-published book sells about 100-150 copies. Don’t let this squelch your dream – but it is helpful to enter this process with your eyes wide open.
E-books are a wonderful way to test the waters for self-publishing. CNET Executive Editor David Carnoy offers basic tips for e-book publishing here.
Lastly, if you want to sell books to people you don’t personally know (beyond friends and family), you’ll have to learn about marketing and platform. No one will know about your book unless you are pro-active to get your book in front of them. These two books cover the bases: Platform by Michael Hyatt and Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eager.