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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Self publishing options

You may never be completely satisfied with your final choice, but you will feel a sense of utter amazement when you see the finished product of your creation.

I’ve been a “self” published author for over a year now, and the progress of my book is not what I had expected. Using a vanity publisher, my book took less than six months to become a reality after I sent it willingly away, trusting the chosen company to provide the best service for a pricey fee. I had grandeur dreams of becoming a bestselling author within a very short time, with minimal effort on my part, however I haven’t yet been able to quit my day job to travel the world promoting my book. In fact, I’ve only sold less than a dozen books, a far cry from what I believed was going to be my way to retirement. So, as I struggle through the ins and outs of the marketing world, tweeting and blogging everyday, while holding down a full time job as a kindergarten teacher, I wonder if my publishing choice was a big, fat mistake.

At the time, I believed using this particular publishing company was my only option. I researched other ways to become published, however they involved time and effort that I didn’t have. Finding an agent, writing query letters, spending countless hours online searching for anyone who could point me in the right direction, was all too daunting for me. I wanted the process to be quick and easy. I decided to choose the option I felt was best for me at the time, vanity publishing. Of course I didn’t realize at the time that the company I had signed with was a vanity publisher. I was so new to the world of writing and publishing that I naively believed this company would turn my book into the next best seller. I couldn’t have known at the time how wrong I would be.

As I write this, I am still hopeful of becoming a bestselling author one day, but I realize now that it’s not an overnight accomplishment. It takes a lot of work to promote your book. Whether you choose to self publish through a vanity publisher, or search for an agent to submit your book to reputable companies, or go the route of ebook publishing, the marketing work doesn’t fall directly into the lap of the company.  Getting the word out about your book lies with you, the author. A misconception that I wish someone had told me about.

So, when you’re ready to hand your precious words over to a publisher, be wary. Research all your options. Talk to other published authors. Find what’s best for you and your book. You may never be completely satisfied with your final choice, but you will feel a sense of utter amazement when you see the finished product of your creation. And that’s what makes the journey from writer to published author worth it!

This post is contributed as Guest post by Angela Edstrom

New authors, learn from my mistakes.

The power of preperation

It is almost embarrassing that I learned this entire process the hard way. Maybe I can help you by learning from my mistakes. I only completed the eighth grade. Not my fault, just a fact. I am a story teller, a very good story teller. I am NOT an English major. Publishing a book isn’t only having a good story or a great story teller. There are technicalities that MUST be addressed first.

Ten or eleven years ago, I got in at the very beginning of the self publishing era. If you were fortunate enough to have found a publisher then none of this is for you. I am talking to self published authors. Today everything is different than back then. I only had a couple of choices to go to for self publishing. It cost quite a bit to have this done back then. Now you can realistically self publish for almost nothing. Here is my best piece of advice to all. Don’t rush ahead of yourself, and don’t edit your own book unless you were an English major.

I did just that. I was so anxious to get my book done that I didn’t spend the time, or the money to help myself professionally. I was so sure that a great story is all I needed. I thought people would overlook editing errors because my books were so good. WRONG, I received all 5 star reviews on Amazon. My covers were great, the stories were great. Interest was high and things were moving right along. Until I got my first one star review on Amazon, and it said, “I couldn’t finish this book because of the lack of editing.” Well that was that. I had to stop promoting my books. I just couldn’t sell an inferior product. After spending all that money to publish three of my books, and all for not. At the time I didn’t have the money to completely re-do my books. A few years went by and things happened. Finally my publisher called and said that a Hollywood production company was interested in one of my books. “ENTER” they paid to have Hollywood coverage done on all three of my books. That is where a professional reader does an in depth review of the book, then it goes on a list of producers, actors, and film makers. So anytime these movie people are looking for new content for media, my books are on that list to choose from. Well once I got the reviews back, everyone (including my publisher) was shocked at how good the reviews were. One of them actually said “Could be an Academy award level film.” Soon after that I was contacted by a real publishing company. They wanted to completely re-publish “ENTER” They didn’t want my other two books, just that one. New everything from editing to a new cover and all. I jumped on that and now “ENTER” will be out as a new book next month. After having that happen, I realized this was my opportunity to fix my entire mess. I hired a professional editing company and had both of my other books Edited and re-formatted. I am also going through Amazon (create space) to publish these new versions. Through Amazon, I will make twice as much on each book, and the only cost is to purchase books.

If you need anything from editing, cover design, e-book formatting, or anything you can’t do yourself, Create space has someone who will do it for you at an affordable price. If not, they will walk you through almost anything your books need so you can do it yourself.  Once I got rolling, I went through APEX reviews and had trailers done for all three books for under $300.00 total. They turned out so good, I decided to get “ENTER” done as an Audio book. It too will be done next month. I truly believe that Audio books are the future. Go to Amazon (ACX) and get your book made into audio for free, if you are willing to give up 20% to whomever does it. If you want to do it yourself, you can learn how at ACX also.  If you are not computer savvy, it is worth the 20% to have it done right. Or you can flat out pay for the read and not give up any percentage.  I truly advise that you give it a try.

So here I am, ten years later and it looks like I am going to get another shot at this. Next month my three, edited, books will be out, my audio book will be out, my trailers are done and I have my Hollywood coverage.

I have a good web site and now, if you google my name, I come up first. I am going to use everything I have learned and do this right. I hope through this post, it helps even one new author keep from making just one of the mistakes I made. Maybe it will at least give you some ideas on things you hadn’t thought of. I hope it helps someone.

Thanks for listening

April O’Brien