The number of books being self-published has been growing at an extraordinary rate, and more authors than ever before are considering self-publishing their books. If you’re thinking about self-publishing your novel, memoir, or collection of poetry or short stories, the experts at Self-Publishing Relief have put together this handy self-publishing checklist to help you get started on the right foot.
Get Started With This Self-Publishing Checklist.
☐ Hire A Professional Proofreader
Spelling errors, punctuation mistakes, and typos are the self-published author’s worst enemy and often result in unfavorable reviews. Sure, you can proofread your own manuscript, but spotting your own mistakes is difficult for any writer, even one whose grammar skills are exceptional. This is why many authors hire professional proofreaders for their books.
☐ Find Beta Readers
A beta reader is a test reader who provides honest feedback about your work. Since beta readers are not professionals (though some of them charge small reading fees), they have the advantage of giving you feedback from the perspective of an average reader. Writing and critique groups are great places to find free test readers, as are book clubs. If you’re looking for ways to score a beta reader, author Jane Friedman has some great tips.
☐ Decide On A Publishing Platform
This decision will make or break your self-publishing experience and the quality of your final book. You want to choose a self-publishing company that will treat you with respect, keep you in the loop every step of the way, offer good customer service, and provide a well-made, good-looking book. What you don’t want are lots of hard-sell pitches for upgrades you don’t need and empty, pie-in-the-sky promises that can’t really be kept—especially those related to marketing your book.
☐ Choose Your Cover Design
Yes, your potential readers WILL judge your book by its cover! So unless you’re a graphic artist guru who understands pixels, composition, and typography, you should not design your own cover. Keep in mind that print books and e-books have different specifications for covers, and be sure to prepare your back cover blurb for your print book.
☐ Obtain Your ISBN, If Needed
Some self-publishing companies will provide you with a free ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your print book if you choose to publish on their platform. You can also purchase your own ISBN from Bowker. If you use a publishing company’s free ISBN, know whether or not you will possess all the necessary rights of ownership. E-books do not require an ISBN.
☐ Prepare Your Book Summary
This is similar to your back cover book blurb but more involved. It’s not a synopsis where you reveal the ending but more of a teaser to get readers interested. If you need a little guidance, check out other books in your genre.
☐ Research Book Prices
Determining the price for your book can be tricky. If the price is too high, you will lose readers because the book is too expensive—but if you make the price too low, readers might feel the book is not worthy. Research books in similar genres as yours to get an idea of price point. Obviously, digital books will sell for less than print, but the royalties are often higher on digital purchases.
☐ Structure A Marketing Plan
Identifying your audience will help you devise a strong marketing plan. In today’s world, much of the promotion is left to the author in both traditional and self-publishing settings. Not having a marketing plan is a major reason more self-published authors aren’t as successful as they could be. If you need assistance with marketing strategies, check out our business plan for self-published authors.
☐ Proofread Again
No explanation necessary. Trust us. Just do it.
☐ Order A Proof Copy
A proof copy is essential if you are self-publishing a print book. Any formatting issues and typos will be easier to detect. You’ll also be able to see if the font you selected is legible and that your pagination is accurate. If your book is an e-book, you will still want to review the digital copy before you finalize the publication.
Successfully self-publishing your book can be stressful, complicated, and overwhelming. If you don’t want to navigate all the steps on your own, let the experts at Self-Publishing Relief assist you! With free consultations and a package to suit every budget, we can help you achieve your dream of becoming a published author.
Question: Which part of the self-publishing process do you find most frustrating?