How to Self Publish your First Book – Step by Step Tutorial

To know how to self-publish your first book should be an exciting decision you can make. It is one of the ways you can build your self-confidence. We know you would like to learn more about this and it is one of the reasons we have compiled this article for you. Keep reading…

Apply for Africa's Business Heroes Competition

What is Publishing?

Publishing is an act of releasing a compilation of write up, available in printed form or another medium. It involves making information, literature, and contents readable to the public, either in hardcopy or electronic form. Traditionally, it means releasing printed works. A person who publishes is a publisher. A publisher could be an editorial and commercial direction for companies that publish books, newspapers, magazines, and digital content.

 More to the point, a publisher buys the right to publish a book and pay royalties. The main purpose of publishing is to disseminate your information to the public and also to personalize your discovery. In exceptional cases, some writers decide to become their own publishers.

What does it take to publish a book?

There are several steps you need to know how to self-publish your first book and here are some of the essential things to consider. Some books are published through well-known publishers while some are self-published books. Before now, most people have to go through the hard phase of getting their books published by a publisher and sometimes some of these books end up as unread manuscripts under the shelf in publishing houses. 

You need to, first of all, get an agent who arranges for a traditional publisher to review the manuscript; most publishers do not open the manuscript let alone read the content if it is not coming through an agent.

Due to all of these major constraints, people now decide to go for an alternative means of publishing which is quite straightforward and even offers a chance of becoming the bestselling book. This method has led to a massive breakthrough for many writers. Generally speaking, writers seem to belong to this school of thought on self-publishing. They treat it as a last resort (“How long do I suffer through rejections before I give up and just settle for a self-published book?”) or simply assume it’s a substandard option that’s not for them. Then there’s the full-speed-ahead bunch. Some have no real concerns about their sales potential and just want to see their words in print. They just don’t know what to make of this whole self-publishing business.

What is Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing is an act of writing, editing, and uploading written books independently on downloads and readable platforms without consulting traditional publishing houses. Self-publishing is promising and has easy means of rolling out new books. Here are some of the ways you can self-publish your book.

Steps for Self-Publishing

To self-publish your first book, you need to do the following:

  • Write a good book: The writer sits down to put his or her thoughts into writing at this stage. This may last for as long as the writer decides to write or the volume of the content.
  • Decide what platform to publish: There are several publishing sites especially for academic books. You should decide which of the online platforms you find suitable for the content of the write up. Once you make the decision to self-publish your first book, choose the right platform. A writer said 99 per cent of his e-book sales came from Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. Amazon offers writers a variety of promotional tools via its Kindle Direct Publishing platform, provided the published e-book is exclusive to Kindle. These tools include the “opportunity” to reduce work’s price, or even give it away for free.
  • Get a proper and well-designed page cover and edit the book: it is important to have a very attractive and communicative cover for every book as it creates an impression for the reader. Although, it is true that we cannot judge a book by its cover, but getting a charming cover for your book gives it a higher chance of being noticed by random readers. 

Also, it is essential that the writer edits the book properly for errors before sending them down for the final assessment. Aside from a bad cover, the other sales-killer is the poor layout. If you just upload your Microsoft Word document to CreateSpace or Kindle, the result is a mess of uneven tabs and odd page breaks. 

You could always pay a professional to handle the layout for you. But if you are averse to spending the cash, you can create an impeccable layout on your own. That is if you are willing to put up with a lot of frustration. Amazon itself offers a solid formatting guide. But other online sites can also help you to self-publish your first book.

  • Upload manuscript for assessment: Before finally rolling out these books, manuscripts of such books need to be thoroughly reviewed by a team of experts who ensure that all necessary assessments have been made to ensure that the books are ready for uploading.
  • Publish when you are sure the book is ready: after every assessment and correction of errors, you can publish the book for the reading of the general public. Some authors even go as far as allowing reviews for the books after they have been published to the field in reader’s viewpoints and comments on the books.
  • Get bloggers’ attention: There are vibrant blog communities devoted to discussing various book genres. An interview or a review by a prominent blogger may not spike sales of your book, but it will help get the word out. Bloggers help to create some form of awareness, although it may not be all the necessary awareness needed it will go a long way to inform the community of book readers about your book.
  • Build out your social media: social media can be a very powerful tool for pushing the publicity of new books, Twitter feed, can help publicize it even much faster as many influencers can be a catalyst to make it a trend. Launching a Facebook page devoted to your work can also prove useful just as well as Snapchat or Instagram accounts may prove useful later. 

It is important to note that only 20 percent (at most) of the content you produce in those channels should focus on promoting the book; the other 80 percent should be content your audience will find useful, funny, or interesting. Step into your audience’s shoes: nobody likes a relentless sales message, especially if it’s right in their face on social media.

Types of Self-Publishing

  • Independent self-publishing
  • Self-publishing with help
  • Traditional print run / print-on-demand
  • Everything from e-books to websites and blogs

Best Self–Publishing Companies for Authors

  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Ikobo
  • Apple Books
  • Self-Publishing School
  • Reedsy
  • Lulu
  • IngramSpark
  • Publish Drive
  • Draft2Digital

Advantages of Self–Publishing Over Traditional Publishing

Below are some of the benefits you can gain by publishing your first book by yourself:

  • With self-publishing, there is full ownership of rights and royalties.
  • It is completely customizable in all aspects.
  • It is fast to market compared to the traditional method which takes a longer time.
  • The publisher has full control over the market and there is room for total creativity. In essence, the writer has the right to choose how to have the book published or not which gives it the room to try out different techniques, unlike the traditional method that is stereotyped.
  • It allows more freedom, almost like the creativity. That is, there is no gatekeeper to checkmate what can be done and cannot be done.
  • There is a reasonable profit potential you can get when you self-publish first book, unlike the alternative method.
  • There is a huge opportunity for niche books. In fact, this is a huge advantage for most authors.
  • Despite the flexibility and loads of benefits attached to self-publishing, there are downsides to it as well. This remains the major reason some prefer traditionally published books. Some even believe traditional publishing of books are of better content than self-published books. 

Challenges You can Face with Self-Publishing Your First Books

Here are some of the downsides of self-publishing your first book:

  • You have to single-handedly ensure that the book is in good shape in all aspects. If it shows any form of unprofessional appearance such as writing, cover and marketing, the writer bears the burden all alone.
  • It is time-consuming to learn how to manage the process alone.
  • Self-publishing is quite expensive to hire the service of a professional to perfect the work.
  • It requires a lot of work and a lot of money to make things right and perfect.
  • There are low chances of getting bookstore placement as well as becoming a best-selling book.
  • Although the idea of self-publishing is as old as publishing itself, there are still many controversies and misunderstandings surrounding it. The main difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing is in who manages the book.
  • When you finish writing your book, you inevitably face the question: self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? Whatever decision you make, it won’t last a lifetime. Many of today’s successful authors went both ways.
  • As a self-publisher, you organize editing, proofreading, and design. You are responsible for your marketing and distribution. Self-publishing can be costly or completely free. In self-publishing, you are the boss and majorly most of the decisions about the book are taken by you. You decide which services are worth spending money on, and which steps you would do yourself. Self-publishing is an investment, but you decide how much money or time to invest. Self-published authors get 60-85% of royalties per book.

In conclusion, it is not completely rosy; many self-published authors find the steep learning curve very difficult. Inexperienced authors often start by running at a loss. Also, it is quite difficult to learn where to start, but once they do learn it, many self-published authors go on to form their own publishing companies. Overall, there are more benefits than what to lose from self-publishing. 

We believe you can take that baby step today to self-publish your first book. Don’t be afraid, you can do it. You will definitely make mistakes from publishing your first book but the important lesson is you will learn from the mistakes and grow.

Leave a Comment