Pin Me

How to Self Publish a Book

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/14/2010

"How to self publish a book," he pontificated, "I just know it will be a success!" Even if you aren't as enthusiastic as the hypothetical author in the first sentence, you may be wondering about the world of self publishing and what needs to be done on your end to make the venture a success.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Why Look into Self Publishing Your Book?

    It's been said that everyone has at least one good story inside his or her own life. For many people, that story could be a driving force, causing them to seek out publication. There are many times when you won't want to go through traditional publishing venues in order to publish your book, and why should you? There have been many successful self-published books on the market. Setting aside these considerations, why should you look into self publication?

    • Your book is of a unique genre
    • You don't want to waste time waiting for responses from publishing houses
    • You have a specific audience in mind and want to market the book directly
    • Your book doesn't fit into traditional marketing plans
    • You want a larger royalty share
    • You have the drive and energy to put into marketing your book

    Once you've decided that self publishing is the route for you and your book, then you need to focus on answering your concerns about how to self publish a book. It requires more effort than you might think.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Self Publishing Venues

    There are a lot of self publishing venues out there. The three most popular platforms for self publishing are: LuLu, FastPencil, and Blurb. Don't overlook other possibilities, though. ( and iUniverse are two other self publishing houses that are gaining in popularity along with Amazon's Self Publishing platform and Barnes and Noble's PubIt. With all of the options available to you, it's easy to get very overwhelmed very quickly. Because of this, it is important for you to take the following into consideration:

    • Do you want to reach a large audience and have your book available in bookstores? (LuLu)
    • Do you want your book available to an online audience only? (Lebrary)
    • Do you enjoy using social media? (Lebrary)
    • Do you want to print a specific number of texts to handsell? (iUniverse)
    • Are you looking for a plugin site? (FastPencil)

    No matter what your needs are, take time to research each option when it comes to self publishing so that you know what you will be getting yourself into.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Getting Your Manuscript into Publication Format

    Now here comes the part where knowledge of desktop publishing really does come in handy. But before you can even get to the part where you're putting your manuscript into the format or template required for the self publishing company, do yourself a favor and hire a professional editor to go through your book with an eye to grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inconsistencies you may have missed.

    Once you've done this, you'll inevitably want to design the cover for your book. Make sure that the cover of your book is both appealing and conveys the emotion you are trying to evoke with the contents of the book. Unfortunately, many people do judge a book by its cover.

    Second, make sure that you have met all of the requirements for your book publishing company when you are putting together your book format. Be sure you leave enough margin space for binding. Also a note on text: make sure it's readable! Don't use fancy fonts or font that is too small or too large. Be sure there's enough space between lines as well.

    Third, if your book will have any illustrations, be sure you are using high-res versions of those illustrations. You'd just hate it if your illustrator's work came out blurry.

    Fourth, even if you've had a professional editor go through your work, proofread it one more time; make sure there are no errors. Nothing says "self published" like typos or missed errors.

    Finally, save your work in the preferred format for the service you chose. Upload your work. Dust your hands off and follow the directions the company gives for your remaining steps.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Self-Promotion Once The Book Has Been Published

    Your work as an author isn't over just because your book has been published. You will need to promote your work vigilantly! First, make sure you have a website for your book. Second, you will want to tap into social media to help you promote your book - don't overlook the power of promotion on Facebook and Twitter. Third, host book signings and promote your author event using Finally, create promotional materials with your book cover - postcards, fliers, business cards, letterhead...get creative here!