If you are thinking about self publishing, you have to be prepared to sweat yourself.

Many had asked me on how to get the ball rolling to publish your own book. Self-publishing is a no joke business. You might get demotivated along the way. There are lots of hurdles that you have to overcome before you can see and touch your own book. That is why, I consider publishing my own book a personal triumph. I am going to write more about my own experiences in publishing my own books. In this article, I will outline to you the basic points that you need to know before you decide to self-publish your own book.

  1. A good manuscript

Even though you can write whatever you like because no one is going to reject your writing, you also need to gauge the interest of your readers. You have to know what is the genre that you want to get yourself into so that your books will sell. After all, this is an investment. You do not want to end up with stack of books lying around your bedroom, do you?

  1. Apply for ISBN

You can apply for ISBN number from the National Library of your country. For some countries, the application can be made online. They can also email you the ISBN number and bar code so that you do not have to pick them up. However, it is advisable for you to self pick-up the ISBN number and bar code because it is not that clear if it is scanned and email to you. A blurry image of the bar code will definitely affect your book. If you are planning to sell your books in the bookstores then they need to scan the bar code to keep it in their system. You really need a clear picture of the bar code.

  1. Proofreading service.

You need someone to check your writing. This is a must. If you give your manuscript to the publisher, they will help to find you one. But since you are self-publishing, then you need to find on your own. I just googled and found a few. You have a lot of choices online, so don’t worry. If you want to use the same proofreader as I did, just drop me an email (ziedanazri@gmail.com) and I will give you her contact. She did a terrific job with my manuscript. It was not that pricey and she even returned it back to me before the actual deadline. Very fast service!

  1. Professional designer.

A beautiful book cover is very important, as that is the first thing that the readers will be attracted to. Initially, I bought a software to make our own cover, but it did not turn out well. After I had converted my drawings into the software, we showed it to my families and friends. They thought that it was a cover design for children’s colouring book! I had to engage a professional service to do the cover design. And I think it is worth every penny that I paid for the service. You can see it for yourself now. I am very, very proud of the cover design. You too, can upgrade from something that looks like a children’s colouring book to a professionally drawn cover design.

  1. Printing.

This is one of the mistakes that I had made. Prior to printing the books, I received so many negative comments about my book that I was afraid to print many copies. So I go for digital printing. That’s the only place that accepts small scale book printing. I printed 200 copies at first and 80 copies were already sold after 2 days! If only I had known, I would have gone for off-set printing from the start. The minimum order for off-set printing is 1000 copies. So because of all the negative remarks, I decided to go for digital printing which costs me half of the sold price. If I had used off-set printing then the cost is way more cheaper and I might spend more on promoting the books as well as gaining access to local major book stores. Well, I learned from this mistake, and I will definitely go for off-set printing after this. But, if you are not sure and want to test the market before you start selling, then maybe you want to set aside some money for digital printing. The minimum order is 20 copies. Try printing 20 copies first and then if you feel that the readers are attracted to it, you can go for off-set printing after that.

  1. Added value.

My books have bookmarks attached to them. It was my idea to add value to the book. Of course there was cost involved. But I think the books look prettier with the bookmarks, so I decided to amortize the cost. You can do a lot of other things too to add value to the book. Maybe a calendar, a small notebook or a pen… bearing the same design as your book cover.

  1. Where do you sell?

I think this is the most difficult part. I am lucky that I have many students who are also excited to read my writings. Thank you guys! And I had to thank my hardworking Marketing Officer, my self-appointed husband, who would go out of his way just to promote my book. Seriously, I am too shy to be in front promoting the books. The way I see it, you really have to be brave and confident. For someone shy like me, it’s a big NO for marketing. So I have to think of other ways. Most writers are introverts so we do find it difficult to be in front even if it is to promote our own books.

  1. You must have some savings.

Without some savings, you will not go anywhere. Remember you are a self-publishing entity and that means no one is helping you in the process. You need money to pay for proofreading, designer, printing and promoting your books. You will only earn after your books start selling but how do you market your book if you do not have any money to start with?

  1. Do not listen to people.

There will be haters, there will be non-believers, and it is time for you to prove them wrong. It is because that I listened to all the critics that I made mistakes while printing. And I had to bear all the costs. So just believe in yourself. Do what your heart told you and pray. Everything will turn out fine. Put the critics behind you. That is where they are supposed to be, behind you. You are not one of them, so stay put and accept the challenges!

This post is contributed as Guest post by NURNAZIDA NAZRI.
Nurnazida Nazri used to teach law at the university for more than 10 years. She had self-published 3 books which are available at Amazon, Payhip and E-Sentral. Teaching and writing have always been her passion and she would be clueless if she missed them even for one day.
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Indie Publishing versus Self-publishing

The rise of the indie author

The terms “Independent publishers” and “indie publishers” were until recently associated with small presses, to identify them as separate from larger, traditional book publishers. Over time, authors who wanted to maintain complete creative control over their books began to create their own small presses, which really only involves starting a business and little else. Being a small press or an independent book publisher does not mean having a printing press in your basement! The rising popularity and ease of access to print-on-demand (POD) through IngramSpark and CreateSpace has served to increase the number of indie publishers.

As authors moved towards circumventing traditional publishers or small presses who required that a book be accepted in order to be published in return for payment (one hopes), we saw the advent of vanity presses and assorted publishing opportunists. These companies masquerade as traditional publishers by having authors go through an elaborate process to make them think or at least feel as if they are being accepted to be published. Typically the author pays to have the book published or sacrifices an inordinate percentage of their royalties for the privilege.

Where the company’s profit comes from can be your first clue into what sort of company you are dealing with. As Judith Briles said in a 2014 article on the topic of self-publishing versus indie publishers (http://authoru.org/dont-confuse-independent-publishing-with-self-publishing.html):

Small presses make their profits by selling books to consumers, rather than selling services to authors or selling a small number of copies to the author’s friends.”

A clarification is needed here: Companies such as 1106 Design sell services to authors, but we don’t pretend to publish the book, nor do we lay claim to any percentage of the royalties! Once we have completed the services for which the author has hired us, the author has complete ownership of their book, their files, their imprint and their royalties.

With the term “indie publisher” being used more and more to describe an author who has started their own publishing company, what has happened to the “traditional publisher?” Nowadays, a traditional publisher means any publisher—big or small—that agrees to publish a book on behalf of an author and to pay the costs for doing so.

More recently, yet another new term has emerged: indie author. What is an indie author?

Like an indie publisher, the indie author maintains complete creative control over his or her book. The two terms are being used interchangeably, and perhaps being an “indie author” sounds less scary and confusing than being an “indie publisher.” One definition I read at http://www.steenaholmes.com/whats-an-indie-author/ said that an indie author is an author who has self-published at least one book—and I suppose that means self-publishing by any means available.

I’d like to propose a slightly different definition of both indie author and indie publisher. The real definition lies somewhere in between, and it’s not just semantics.

An indie author is an author who maintains complete creative control by self-publishing his or her book through companies such as CreateSpace or Book Baby, both of whom offer editing, proofreading services-for-hire, along with cover and page design services or do-it-yourself templates. The indie author uses one of the company’s ISBNs and therefore is not the publisher of record. (A note is warranted here: CreateSpace allows authors to either use their own OR one of CreateSpace’s ISBNs. It behooves an author to understand the ramifications. (Learn more about where to purchase your ISBNs at http://1106design.com/2016/04/isbns-lccns-and-copyright-oh-my/) The company never releases the design files to the author (only the PDF, maybe), and will happily hold the indie author hostage for more money should changes ever be required to those files.

An indie author may self-publish his or her book as a hobby, or may have the notion that they will make money as an author. Either way, the indie author will attempt to self-publish by the cheapest, fastest and least painful route possible. An indie author does not take the time to learn how to maximize royalties, compare service options, or do the research necessary to ensure the book has the best chances out there in a ferocious marketplace. An indie author will most likely set an arbitrary budget based on “this is all I can afford,” and then find the editing and book design options that fall within that budget, even if the result is a terrible book. In short, the indie author does not treat the book as a business, and wrongly believes that the market will accept and reward a shoddy book. Yes, the indie author maintains creative control, but over what exactly?

An indie publisher, on the other hand, is someone who treats the book publishing project as a serious business and not just a hobby. The author is the CEO of his or her indie publishing company, with the book as the product. The author, or indie publisher, does the research into the book market and the genre in which the book will compete, setting the book up to compete successfully in the marketplace. Indie publishers know their name is their brand, and they want their name associated with a quality product. They know that consumers will not accept shoddy product design.

The indie publisher researches service options, creates a budget, and knows that CreateSpace and IngramSpark are the only legitimate ways to print on demand and thus are the only routes to wide book distribution despite the claims of other self-publishing companies. Indie publishers know that by setting up their own titles and files with either of these two companies, they will maximize their per book revenues. The indie publisher asks, “What are my options, which option achieves my desired outcome, and how much does that option cost?” Budget constraints are a reality for indie publishers as well, but rather than releasing a bad book, the indie publisher may shelve the book project until sufficient money is raised.

Which category do you fit in? Either is completely legitimate, and yes, some indie authors hit upon the right combination of fabulous writing, great design and savvy book marketing and make it to the big leagues. These authors are few and far between, something like pinning your retirement hopes on your sporty and talented young son or daughter making it to the majors one day. If, as an author, your intent is to create a book that will help you build towards a franchise of books from which you could one day make a living, or to create a book that takes your career to new heights or is a marketing tool for your business, then think about becoming an indie publisher and not an indie author.

Companies such as 1106 Design appeal to authors who run their publishing enterprise like the business it is. For more information on our services, contact me at http://1106design.com/. Consultations are always free.

Contributed as Guest post by Michele DeFilippo