Self-Publishing Basics: The 10 Step Checklist You Need to Publish Your Own Book

Tired of waiting? Ready to publish? We’ve got your back. Not only is self-publishing more viable now than ever before, but it is also the route that has launched some of the most vibrant new writers to the heights of literary fame.

That being said, self-publishing is no walk in the park, and there are plenty of ways to mess it up. Thankfully, with this handy checklist, you can break the process down into manageable tasks, ensuring you cross your t’s and dot your i’s while you go.

Digitize your manuscript
The very first step would be writing the manuscript, of course, but assuming you’ve already got material to work with, you need to get it into a Word document, and you’ve completed step one of this process. Moving on then.

Get a content editor on board
Not to be confused with a proof-reader, a content editor is there to help you improve your work content. This person is not there to put on the final touches. Their purpose is to come in as an objective third party and give you some clear-eyed and honest editorial corrections. Make sure you’re on the same page before you let them get to work. Either have them insert their edits directly into the Word document or do so yourself after the fact.

Become an expert in Print on Demand
Ok, maybe not a certified expert, but you’ll want to become highly familiar with your printing options to get the most bang for your buck. Often ticketed as a “self-publishing company,” you’ll need to open an account and will then be able to access your work simply through your login info and password.

Have some fun with shapes and sizes
Now it’s time to establish the parameters of your creation. You’ll select a standard book size and set about determining what you want your book’s exterior to look like. This is probably also the right time to hire a designer for your book cover. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have everything in a digital file and select file and size specifications that your chosen printer can accommodate.

Tackle interior layout and design
Select all images, fonts, and illustrations and figure out where you want them situated inside your book. Keep in mind that all images should be 300 dpi and in black and white. If you’ve got InDesign chops, you can take care of the interior layout yourself. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to hire someone.

Time for the book cover
Same deal here. Unless you’re a book cover designer yourself, it is best to work with a professional. Have some fun, and don’t forget to include a book’s synopsis on the back cover.

Upload all those glorious files
Upload all your hard work to the printing company and submit it for review.

Get your hands on a hard copy to proof
The human eye catches needed edits in print that can easily be overlooked on a digital file. Before publishing, it is key to do a last proofread on a hard copy of the book.

Proofread said proof
If you find any small type errors, have them corrected. This is not the time for major edits though, you’ve already committed to the spacing and formatting, so big changes will end up taking you back a few steps (and costing a lot of money!).

Submit for publication, baby!

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