I am the proud author of four full-length novels and one novella, all self-published under my own imprint, Moxie Publishing, LLC. Here’s what it takes to get a book from my brain into readers’ hands:
1. Write the book. Ha ha. Easier said than done.
2. Have the book edited. There are three types of editing. You might need all three or none. I’ve used a combination of these for each of my novels:
Developmental Editing: Experienced editors will review your story and give advice on how to tighten your plot and characterization.
Copy Editing: A copy editor will look for inconsistent tone, wordiness, syntax issues, misused words, clunkiness, etc. They will also look for inconsistencies in the story, i.e. a woman in a red dress on one page is in a blue dress a few pages later.
Proofreading: Will catch typos, missing words, incorrect grammar, spelling etc.
3. Format the book. Once the book is edited, you will need to format the book for whatever mediums you want to use: print, e-book, or both. You can hire someone to do the formatting for you or buy formatting software. I use Vellum.
4. Cover design. Covers can be bought online or made by authors. You can also hire a cover designer. Print covers can be particularly complicated because the size of the “full-wrap” will depend on the number of pages in your book, size of your book, and even whether you use cream and white paper.
5. Obtain an ISBN: An ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. They are not required for e-books (though it is best practice). Print books cannot be sold without them. You can buy your own ISBN from Bowkers or, if you are distributing on Amazon and don’t have one, they will assign one to you (it’s best practice to get your own).
6. Copyright: You can file for a copyright at https://www.copyright.gov/
7. Distribution: Distribution is different for e-books and print:
E-books: You need to decide if you want your book available in Kindle Unlimited, an Amazon program where readers can download your book for free and you get paid by the number of pages read. If you elect Kindle Unlimited, your e-book cannot be sold anywhere else, i.e. Barnes and Noble nook, Kobi, AppleBooks, etc.
Print books: Print books cannot be part of Kindle Unlimited. You can elect to sell your print books through KDP Print or through another distributer. I use Ingram Spark to distribute my print books.
8. Upload book for distribution: Once you’ve decided on your distribution strategy, you need to upload your book on to the sites you’ve chosen, i.e. Amazon KDP. You will need (1) the file for the book you are uploading in the correct format (e-book, print); (2) the cover file in the correct format (e-book, print), and (3) the ISBNs for both print and e-books if your purchased those on you own.
In this step, you will also decide the price and release date as well as if you want the e-book version of your book available for pre-order on Amazon. Once the book is uploaded, you have the option to review i’s contents on your computer, or in the case of print books, have advance copies sent to you for review.
9. Pre-book marketing: Once you have a release date, it is a good time to let readers know it’s coming on social media, newsletters, etc. It is also a good idea to get advance reviews. You can find reviewers on your own or hire services who will find reviewers for you, i.e. bookstagrammer tours.
10. Release day: Hooray! You’ve done it. But the work isn’t done. Once your books is out, you still need to market it. In addition to posting on social media, consider Facebook Ads, Amazon ads, Booktok videos, Newsletter Swaps, and Price Deals.
The self-publishing process gets easier once you’ve done it a few times, but there is always a ton to learn and snafus within the process. The reward is, you will get 100% of the profit and have complete control over how and when they are released. Worth it.