How to Publish Your Own Book [In 10 Steps]

Until recently, publishing a book was always done through an agent. In fact, most publishing companies will never touch a manuscript if it doesn’t come from an agent. With this mindset, no one thought it was wise to research how to self-publish a book.

Even when publishers agreed to publish a book, they focused on selling it in bookstores, which might not align with your goals.

Times have changed, and now you can learn how to self-publish a book. This isn’t just about getting published; it’s about becoming an excellent author with the potential for bestseller status.

Here are practical steps that will help you to learn how to publish your own book with ease.

How to Publish Your Book in 10 Steps

Self-publishing a book involves several important steps, but breaking it down into manageable parts makes the process straightforward and achievable. Here are ten practical steps to help you self-publish a book with ease:

1. Know The Cost of Publishing Your Own Book

Just as we make some estimates when trying to carry out any project, we will apply the same to self-publishing. A lot of factors must be considered before getting the forecast right.

So, the best bet is to determine the different costs of the elements that will give your book the best prospect. You will know how to estimate these costs as you learn how to self-publish a book.

  • Printing cost: This has to do with the length of the book, the volume, and the type of paper used for hard copies.
  • Editing cost: This should also be considered when self-publishing. Are you using an expert in the field of your publication? What’s the number of editors you need to assess the book and the cost involved with each one?
  • Designing cost: This is another top cost to consider, do you need an excellent designer for both the interior and exterior of the book, or do you have the skills to do it yourself?
  • Marketing cost: This is basically about creating awareness for the published book. What are the means of advertising? If you are going to use paid services, what do they cost?
  • Miscellaneous: Unfortunately, there will be other minor costs that will come up during publishing, so allowances must be made too for little costs here and there.

2. Conceive the Idea

Before diving into writing, it’s essential to have a clear and compelling idea. Brainstorming is key to developing a concept or some idea that will lead you to write a good book.

Maybe you could start by asking yourself why you need to write a book. Look at your target audience. Is writing your skill, and does it need to be developed? Brainstorming on these points will help you conceive the idea for the book in a better way.

3. Start Drafting Your Book

Begin writing your ideas down to avoid them evaporating from your head when you need them. It might not be organized at first but jot it down as the inspiration comes. You can use these helpful tips:

  • Segment your writing time to avoid fatigue
  • Try to write at the same time each day to form a good writing habit
  • Create an outline for your book
  • Create temporary headings and subheadings for your story. You can change them later if need be so that you have an overview for each chapter.
  • Build your stamina to write for about an hour or two at a time.

When writing, ask yourself some questions and answer them earnestly to determine if you are on the right track:

  • Would this book be highly demanded by readers?
  • Would this book be impactful?
  • Can it solve a societal problem?

Get Feedback From Others as Well

Don’t just keep on writing to realize too late that you were writing a book that only you could read. Write a few chapters and give them to some knowledgeable people to read and give their feedback.

There are many things you will gain from this:

  • Identify Mistakes: Knowledgeable readers can point out some of your mistakes.
  • Detect Errors: They will catch general and grammatical errors.
  • Gain New Perspectives: You might receive a new perspective on your story.
  • Improve Storyline: Heeding their corrections could lead to a better storyline, and you will learn as you correct the errors.
  • Build Confidence: You will feel more confident about your book knowing it has been reviewed and improved. This will help you publish a book with a better story.

4. Give Your Book a Title

Eventually, you will have to give your book a title. You might have had one right from the beginning, but now that you’ve seen the story play out a little, you may have an even better idea.

To give a book its title consider the following:

  • Let the title be self-explanatory and easy to read
  • Give a simple title
  • Make the title creative and intriguing

5. Edit Your Book

This is the backbone of your soon-to-be-published book. While some independent authors try to do it on their own, it is recommended to hire a good editor to help make your book stand out. A bestseller should be free of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors.

So, get an editor that will give you the best editing and proofreading. Find one that understands your subject matter and is interested in reading what you have written. Give the editor ample time to go through your work, and take all their suggestions seriously.

6. Prepare Your Book Cover

One thing that will draw attention is the cover. The book cover is like the mirror of a book, it gives a snapshot of the content. People know they shouldn’t, but they still often judge books by their covers.

So, to get a good book cover work with the following steps:

  • Decide on a rough design or idea that you like
  • Design it yourself if you can, or hire a professional
  • Make sure the cover is clean and unique
  • Make a cover that is interesting enough to entice people to buy it

7. Format Your Book

This is another step that will add professionalism to your book. A well-formatted book is easy to read and pleasing to the eye. Depending on your budget and the kind of book you are publishing, you should be able to use the right formatting style.

Correct formatting includes:

  • Indenting between paragraphs
  • Use of spaces that suit the type of book you have written
  • Using the correct alignment
  • Bolding where it is needed
  • Use upper and lower cases appropriately
  • Underlining where required

You can use free resources if possible, but you may need to take it a step further and hire a professional to help you with the finishing touches.

8. Decide Between E-book or Print-Publishing

This will depend on how you want it published – whether online or offline. If it is offline, you need to get your manuscript to a good publishing house to get it turned into hard copies.

Make sure the printouts are clean and sharp. Take control of the printing process to avoid your book being pirated – only deal with the most reputable publishers.

For ebook publishing, consider platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Smashwords, or Draft2Digital. These platforms allow you to upload your manuscript and distribute your ebook to a global audience.

Ensure it is properly formatted and includes a compelling cover design. Ebooks offer the advantage of reaching a wider audience quickly and can be easily updated or revised as needed.

9. Price Your Book

To start it is useful to keep the price low. It may be worth starting at a dollar to push readers to purchase. If it is a good book those first buyers will encourage others to buy, you can then increase gradually till it gets to the appropriate price for the book.

This is a marketing strategy that works most of the time. So, observe the sales graph and know when the margin needs an increase or a price decrease.

10. Create Your Marketing Process

This is the last step of publishing your book. Marketing is about creating awareness and how you can enjoy your labor. This is finding ways to get an audience for your newly published book. This could seem complicated but it is still doable.

Use the following steps to get a good head start:

  • Share the link to your published book online to all your social media accounts. You can also try creating a separate account on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, that are dedicated to your book.
  • Share the link on forums and blogs
  • File a review on Amazon and give a distinctive view of your book
  • Meet people with your book offline and be a little persuasive for them to buy
  • If you’re not on a budget, you can use any mass media for your promotion
  • Give out some copies to interested friends, they might refer others if they like it

Benefits of Self-Publishing Your Book

You might not be aware of what you stand to gain by publishing a book on your own. There are many advantages:

  • You will have total control of your published books
  • You have the rights to the cover page
  • You have absolute rights to your published books
  • The story remains yours and yours alone, no copyright infringement
  • The royalties accrued are yours
  • You do 100% of the editing with little or no external input
  • You devise your own marketing strategies and work solely with that, with no barriers from anywhere else
  • The cover design will be exactly what you want it to be
  • The deadline for every step of the publishing is solely up to you.

Self-Publish a Book With a Template

Enhance your writing process by using a template to streamline the creation of your manuscript. Squibler software offers a variety of templates designed to assist you at every stage of writing.

These templates are particularly helpful for new authors who may need more structure and guidance throughout the writing process.

general fiction template

Some of the features Squibler offers include:

  • Genre-Specific Templates: Templates tailored to different genres help structure your story according to industry standards.
  • Step-by-Step Guidance: Guidance through each part of your manuscript ensures that your storyline is cohesive and complete.
  • Collaboration Tools: Easy collaboration allows you to share your work with editors or co-authors seamlessly.
  • Goal Setting and Tracking: Set writing goals and track your progress to stay motivated and on schedule.
  • Editing and Formatting: Tools for editing and formatting your manuscript prepare it for self-publishing platforms like KDP and IngramSpark.

Using a template from Squibler or writing software can significantly reduce the pressure of the writing process. These templates will guide you through the storyline step by step until your story is perfectly crafted with no missing details.

Top 5 Self-Publishing Platforms

Explore these self-publishing platforms to help you publish and distribute your book efficiently. Each offers unique features to make it easier for authors to reach their target audience and compete with traditional publishers.

1. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a popular platform for self-publishing both eBooks and print books. It provides extensive tools for setting prices, tracking sales, and accessing a global market.

  • Easy Setup: Create your account on KDP, complete the necessary tax information, and upload your manuscript in a Word document or other accepted formats.
  • Global Distribution: Your self-published book becomes available on Amazon, reaching a vast audience of potential readers.
  • Promotional Tools: Enroll in KDP Select to access promotional opportunities like Kindle Countdown Deals and free book promotions.
  • Royalty Options: KDP offers flexible royalty options, allowing you to earn up to 70% on sales in certain territories.

2. IngramSpark

IngramSpark is renowned for its wide distribution network, reaching online retailers, bookstores, and libraries. It supports various book formats and offers professional publishing services, making it a top choice for authors seeking comprehensive distribution and a polished finish for their self-published books.

  • Global Distribution: IngramSpark distributes to over 39,000 retailers, libraries, schools, and e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores worldwide.
  • Print-On-Demand: This service allows you to print books as they are ordered, reducing upfront costs and storage needs.
  • Professional Quality: IngramSpark offers high-quality printing options, including hardcover, paperback, and various trim sizes and binding styles.
  • Marketing Tools: The platform provides marketing tools to help you promote your book, including access to metadata management and promotional materials.

3. Draft2Digital

Draft2Digital simplifies digital publishing by formatting manuscripts into eBooks and distributing them to major retailers, including Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble. Its user-friendly interface and free formatting tools make it an excellent option for new self-publishing authors.

  • Easy Formatting: Draft2Digital offers automated formatting for eBooks, ensuring your manuscript looks professional without needing extensive technical knowledge.
  • Wide Distribution: The platform distributes to a broad range of eBook retailers and library services, increasing your book’s visibility.
  • Author Services: Draft2Digital provides additional services such as conversion to print books, distribution to print-on-demand services, and tools for managing multiple books and sales reports.
  • Payment Options: Authors receive royalties through monthly payments, with clear and straightforward royalty calculations.

4. Lulu

Lulu offers both print and digital publishing services, suitable for various genres and formats. Authors can publish print books, eBooks, and other formats, with options to set royalties and distribute globally. Lulu’s flexibility makes it a practical option for authors looking for reliable publishing solutions.

  • Customizable Options: It allows extensive customization for your book, from trim sizes to binding types and paper quality.
  • Print and Digital Formats: Publish in multiple formats, including print-on-demand, eBooks, and even calendars and photo books.
  • Global Reach: Lulu offers worldwide distribution through online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as access to the Ingram network.
  • Marketing Support: The platform provides resources and services to help you market your book effectively, including social media tools and promotional options.

5. Smashwords

Smashwords specializes in distributing eBooks to major retailers and libraries. It offers extensive distribution networks and tools for formatting and marketing, making it a preferred platform for authors aiming to reach a wide audience and increase their book’s visibility.

  • Broad Distribution: Smashwords distributes to major eBook retailers, including Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and libraries through OverDrive.
  • Flexible Formatting: The platform offers a simple, flexible eBook formatting service that accommodates various manuscript styles.
  • Marketing Tools: Authors can utilize Smashwords’ marketing tools, such as metadata optimization, pre-order distribution, and pricing control.
  • Sales Reporting: Smashwords provides detailed sales reports, helping you track your book’s performance across different retailers and regions.

These platforms provide the tools and resources needed to navigate the self-publishing process effectively, ensuring your book reaches its intended audience while maintaining high-quality standards.

By choosing the right platform, you can successfully publish your book and compete with traditional publishing companies in the ever-evolving publishing industry.

Key Factors in Choosing the Right Self-Publishing Company

Choosing the right self-publishing company is crucial for the success of your book. While self-publishing platforms provide the tools for publishing and distribution, self-publishing companies offer a comprehensive suite of services to support authors through the entire process.

Understanding the difference between the two can help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and goals.

Unlike a traditional publisher, self-publishing companies give you more control over the publishing process, allowing you to maintain your unique writing style and creative vision.

The Importance of Comprehensive Services

When selecting a self-publishing company, it’s essential to consider the range of services they offer.

Quality self-publishing companies provide:

  • Professional Editing: Ensuring your manuscript is polished and error-free.
  • Cover Design: Creating an eye-catching and relevant book cover.
  • Formatting: Making sure your book is properly formatted for both print and ebook versions.
  • Marketing Support: Helping you effectively promote your book to reach a wider audience.

Evaluating Service Quality

Not all self-publishing companies are created equal. To ensure you choose the right one, evaluate:

  • Past Work: Review samples of books they have previously published.
  • Author Testimonials: Look for reviews and feedback from other authors who have used their services.
  • Customer Support: A responsive and helpful support team can make a significant difference in your publishing experience.

Cost Considerations

Self-publishing can involve various costs, including:

  • Editing Fees: Investing in professional editing is crucial for a polished final product.
  • Design Costs: High-quality cover and interior design can enhance your book’s appeal.
  • Marketing Expenses: Effective marketing strategies can significantly boost your book sales. Compare the pricing structures of different companies to ensure you get value for your investment.

Distribution and Reach

The distribution network of a self-publishing company affects how widely your book is available. Consider:

  • Print and Ebook Distribution: Ensure the company can distribute both print books and ebooks.
  • Retail Partnerships: Look for companies with partnerships with major online retailers and bookstores.
  • Global Reach: A company with international distribution capabilities can help you reach readers worldwide.

Control and Flexibility

One of the main advantages of self-publishing is the control it offers. Ensure the company you choose allows you to:

  • Retain Rights: Keep full rights to your work and creative control.
  • Set Pricing: Decide on the pricing strategy for your book.
  • Choose Deadlines: Set your own publication timeline without external pressure.

Support and Guidance

Publishing a book can be complex. Choose a company that offers:

  • Guidance: Expert advice on all aspects of the publishing process.
  • Resources: Access to tools and resources that simplify publishing.
  • Community: Opportunities to connect with other authors and industry professionals.

Making an Informed Choice

Selecting the right self-publishing company is a critical step in your publishing journey. By considering factors such as service quality, cost, distribution, control, and support, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals.

The right partner can help you successfully publish and market your book, ensuring it reaches the audience it deserves.

Choosing Between Self-Publishing Platforms and Self-Publishing Companies

While deciding between self-publishing platforms and self-publishing companies, consider your preferences, budget, and the level of control you want over the publishing process.

When to Choose Self-Publishing Platforms:

  • If you prefer a hands-on approach and have the skills or resources to handle tasks like editing and design.
  • If you are on a tight budget and want to minimize costs.
  • If you want full creative control and flexibility over your book’s production and distribution.

When to Choose Self-Publishing Companies:

  • If you seek professional help and do not want to manage all aspects of publishing yourself.
  • If you are willing to invest more money in comprehensive services that ensure a polished, professional book.
  • If you value guidance and support from experts in the publishing industry.

By understanding these differences, you can choose the option that best suits your needs, skills, and budget, ensuring a successful self-publishing journey.

You Don’t Need an Agent to Self-Publish a Book

Publishing your own book without an agent is entirely possible. Many self-published authors are now being approached by major publishing companies with attractive offers. If you’ve been struggling to find a publisher, it’s time to stop waiting and start learning the basics of self-publishing. For many authors, it can be a more viable and rewarding option.

It might sound difficult but it is possible. Self-publishing does require skills such as research, persistence, and perseverance. However, mastering self-publishing can often be more advantageous than going through an agent.

Don’t be discouraged by stumbling blocks; they are part of the journey. Keep your focus on your goal and the benefits you’ve gained from learning how to self-publish your book.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that can guide you through how to self-publish a book and make informed decisions.

1. How do I self-publish a book?

To self-publish a book, start by writing and editing your manuscript. Then choose a self-publishing platform like Kindle Direct Publishing or IngramSpark. Format your book, design the cover, and upload your manuscript. Finally, set your pricing and publish.

2. What are the costs involved in self-publishing?

The costs of self-publishing can include editing, cover design, formatting for print and ebook versions, and marketing. Some platforms charge for print books on demand, while others may have distribution fees. It’s essential to budget for these expenses to ensure a professionally published book.

3. How does self-publishing compare to traditional publishing?

Self-publishing gives you control over the entire publishing process, including rights, pricing, and publication date. In contrast, traditional publishing involves working with traditional publishers or literary agents and often means giving up some control for broader distribution and marketing support.

4. Can I make money with self-publishing?

Yes, many self-published authors make more money through self-publishing than they might with traditional publishing. Success depends on factors like the quality of your book, effective marketing, and choosing the right self-publishing platform to maximize book sales.

By understanding these aspects, you can navigate the publishing journey effectively and choose the best path to get your book published. Whether you’re an indie author or an established writer, self-publishing offers a viable alternative to traditional routes.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.