Deciding to publish your book independently is an effective way to keep control over the process as well as to garner the lion’s share of the profits. However, it also requires the author to take control over every step. When the manuscript draft is complete, the work is far from over. Take a look at the following steps.
Book editing. Your book needs professional editing. That may mean three or more rounds of editing. First, a developmental edit. Then, after incorporating feedback from beta readers, a line edit or copy edit. When the manuscript has been prepared for uploading to the publication platform, ARC readers need copies which may result in additional editing, followed by another round of line or copy editing. And finally the final text needs a thorough proofread. You must decide if the same editor should be engaged for each of these stages or if another pair of eyes will improve the result.
What’s the difference between line editing and copy editing? Here’s one attempt to explain how line editing is a specialized form of copy editing.
Book cover design. Whatever is on the cover of the book conveys information, or possibly misinformation, about the contents. If the cover is professional, readers will assume the contents are professional, too. If the cover is amateurish, readers will assume the same about the contents. In addition, readers of certain genres expect specific types of images on covers of those books. Colors and fonts also convey expectations to potential readers. If the colors and fonts used or the images selected violate these expectations, the reader may feel tricked or cheated by the book.
Book interior design. What information should go on the top of each page? Should the text at the top be centered or flush left on left pages and flush right on right pages? Where on the page should the text begin for each new chapter? Should breaks within a chapter be marked by an additional blank line or by a border image? Should the page numbers be centered on the bottom of each page or left on left pages and right on right pages? What font should the text be in? Should the chapter titles be in the same font? Someone has to decide the answers to all of these questions and then format the document to match those answers.
Book production. Do you want a hardcover version? a paperback version? an ebook version? an audio version? Do you want books printed on demand or do you want a pay for a run of 500 or 1,000 books at a time? Does the book need images or a fixed page layout? What size should the hardcover or paperback version be? Answers to all of these questions will bear on which production platform you can use.
Book launch. Do you have a specific date in mind for your book to be launched? Do you have a team of people to help you launch the book? Do you have a mailing list to use to let potential readers know of the book launch? Do you have a venue lined up for the launch? Do you have a social media presence to use to let people know about the launch?
BookBaby, an author services company, offers up ten things you should do when preparing for a book launch.
Just to be contrary, here’s a handy list of things to avoid doing as you prepare for the launch of your book, from BookBaby.
Book distribution. Getting a book published doesn’t mean it will be distributed to all the locations you may want the book to be found. Libraries, schools, and bookstores require that books be available to be ordered in a catalog so that if they do not need all of the ordered books, they can return them for credit.
Book marketing and publicity. Even if you’ve managed to get copies of your book into bookstores, you’ll need to do your own marketing to let potential readers know they can buy the books there. If you haven’t managed to get copies into bookstores, you’ll need your own platform, usually a website, where potential buyers can get copies.
The need for publicity and to market the book never stop. When you stop publicizing and marketing your book, sales will likely stop.