In the last two blog posts of this blog post series, we talked about writing your fiction story and how to go from your first draft to the final manuscript. And now it is time to finally talk about how to publish your book.
Once you are done with all the writing and editing, you are not quite ready to publish your book. There is still a lot more to do before your book can be published. But no worries, I have a checklist for you ready at the end of this blog post to help you along the way.
Now let’s get to it.
Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase something through the links.
How to get ready to publish a book
1. Decide how you want to publish your book
You can publish your book in more than one way. You can choose to publish through self-publishing or through traditional publishing. Within these two options, you also have the choice between a small press or a large publisher when it comes to traditional publishing.
And if you’re going with self-publishing, you have options between e-book, paperback, or hardcover.
It is important to decide early on which one you want to go with. Because this will determine how you will go about certain steps in the process.
Both self-publishing and traditional publishing have their pros and cons. Some of the pros of traditional publishing are that you don’t have upfront costs or less. And you can be sure of selling more books. But on the other hand, with self-publishing, you are in complete control of your book, and you can publish faster.
There are many pros and cons to both options. But in the end, every author needs to look at what’s best for them.
2. Create an eye-catching title
The title and the cover of your book are the first things people see from your book. You need to make sure that you give your book an exciting title, one that will grab people’s attention.
Keep your title short and interesting. Also, try to make sure it is a title that will be easy to search, not one that already exists for tons of other books.
It’s possible that you already have a title in mind when you’re in the writing phase of your book, but don’t be afraid to change it.
My first book had a different title when I was writing it. But after I finished it and received feedback on the title, I reconsidered it. And after thinking for a long time, I decided that the current title was a better representation of my book and more interesting.
Sometimes you can create a better title after the story is finished. So, keep that in mind.
3. Format your manuscript the correct way
Before you upload your manuscript or submit it to a literary agent, you should format your manuscript professionally. This means your pages need to be numbered, chapters need headers, the text needs to be aligned, etc.
Suppose you’re submitting your manuscript to a literary agent. In that case, it helps a lot if your manuscript is formatted and easy to read. If your pages have a number and your chapters have a heading.
If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to do more than that. You’ll need to make sure your manuscript is entirely ready to upload for publishing. You can do this in many ways. You can pay someone, or you can do it yourself with special software paid or for free, which I did.
It can be a little bit overwhelming in the beginning, but it isn’t impossible. Kindle direct publishing makes this step so much easier by giving you instructions every step of the way. With their instructions, you can format your manuscript entirely in MS word for free. They explain every step with text and a short video.
Before we continue…
In this post, we’ll focus more on self-publishing from here on. But when it comes to traditional publishing, the next step after you have formatted your manuscript correctly is to start looking for a literary agent.
You’ll need to pitch your story to a couple of literary agents by sending in query letters. If one decides to work with you, they will try to get your book in front of publishers. The following steps will be taken care of by your publisher.
4. Create or hire someone to create a book cover
We all know the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. But we also understand that this does not always work. Your cover needs to be eye-catching if you want to grab people’s attention.
Not everyone is the same, some people don’t care what the cover looks like, but for others, it does. Some will be sold on your title already, but others need some more convincing. And your cover can help with that.
Make sure that your cover is of high quality, represents your story and your genre.
You can create your own cover with several tools. The one I use and love to work with is Canva. Canva is a designing tool that you can use for free or get a paid subscription. You can work with their pictures and elements to create your cover. But make sure you check out their license of agreement first.
You could also get a photographer to create a picture and use that for your cover. It’s all up to you. Another thing to keep in mind when creating a book cover yourself is whether you’re making it for an e-book or a print book.
For an e-book, just a front cover is enough, but for a print book, you’ll need a front, back, and spine of your cover. To get your cover’s right measures, you can use the website bookow.com or use the KDP’s Paperback file setup calculator.
There are many tutorials on YouTube that show you how to create a book cover in Canva.
If you don’t want to create your own book cover, you can always hire a designer. You can look for designers in Facebook groups or on websites like Upwork.
5. Write a captivating description
The book description on the back of your book is a way to get people even more interested in your book. Once the title and the cover grabbed their attention, you need to really hook them with the description on the back of your book.
Try to describe the plot and the characters in a description of 100-200 words, without giving away the surprises and plot twists. Make it interesting enough that people can’t wait to start reading the story. Leave the reader wanting more after reading your description.
6. Write your acknowledgment page
One of the other things you should consider writing before you publish your book is the acknowledgment page. You can decide if you want to write one and if you want to place it at the beginning or at the end of the story.
What you write in it is up to you. You can dedicate the book to someone, you can thank the people who have helped you throughout the process, or write something about that inspired you to write the story.
7. Write your copyright text
If you look in the books you have, you’ll see that they all have a copyright page. Placing a copyright text in your book is a way of protecting your writing from plagiarism.
Typically your book is automatically already your property and is protected under intellectual property law. But placing a copyright page helps to make an official statement. Every copyright page can be different, and it’s up to you what you want to write on the copyright page.
Here is an example of a simple copyright page text you can tweak and use for yourself.
Text copyright © [Author name] [Year of publishing]
Cover illustration copyright © [Name of cover illustrator] [Year of creation]
Edited by: [Name of editer]
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any way without explicit permission of the copyright owner. Except for the use of short quotations in a book review.
8. Start marketing your book
The marketing of your book begins before you publish your book. You want to warm people up for the fact you are going to be publishing a book.
There are many ways to go about this. Some people start promoting a year before they are publishing. Others may do it shorter. That is up to you, but the longer you promote, the more people you might get interested in your book.
You can get people excited by sharing the title of the book, the description, or a little insight into the progress you’re making with the publishing. You can also have a cover reveal.
There are many places you can start promoting your book for free and build an audience before you publish your book. You can create a Facebook page or post it on your own personal Facebook profile or other social media platforms.
If you’re a blogger and you have an email list, you can also tell your audience about your upcoming book in an email series. It’s up to you how you do this, but make sure you start promoting before you have published your book.
9. Get an ISBN and barcode for your book
Every published print book needs an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). An ISBN is a product identifier used for books. E-books are not required to have one, but every edition of a print book needs one.
By that, I mean a paperback and a hardcover of the same book need two different ISBN’s. The same goes for a new edition of the book.
How do you get an ISBN?
You can get a free ISBN from amazon if you self-publish in Kindle direct publishing. However, there is something you need to take into consideration. The ISBN you get from amazon can only be used to publish your book through Amazon (kindle direct publishing). If you want to publish the same book elsewhere, you would need to get another ISBN.
This wouldn’t have to be a problem, but it can make your book come off as unprofessional. You want your book’s edition always to be found with the same ISBN. So, if you’re thinking of looking at other publishing options besides KDP, I’d suggest getting your own ISBN.
A lot of authors buy their ISBN at Bowker. You could also get your ISBN at a local ISBN agency. I suggest before purchasing an ISBN to check how it works to get an ISBN in your country. You can get that information here.
After you’ve got your ISBN, you also need a barcode for your book. You can easily make a free barcode on bookow.com, or you can buy barcodes. You can also buy your barcodes at Bowker.
10. Self-publish on amazon
Now you’re finally ready to self-publish your book. Amazon KDP makes this process super easy. They give all the instructions on how to publish your book.
First, you would need to create a KDP account and from there follow all their instructions. In a nutshell, you will need to insert your book details such as the title, subtitle, and description, etc. You’ll get room to enter keywords and select the category for your book.
After that, you should upload your manuscript, your book cover (or create one on amazon), set your price, and then you’re ready to publish your book. Please be mindful of which details you will not be able to change once the book is published.
11. Keep promoting your book
After you’ve published your book, it’s important to keep promoting it. Your book won’t sell itself, well, not at first. You need to get it in front of people and need to get people interested in it.
You can keep promoting it on your social media platforms and/or email list.
Another way you can market your book is by creating ads on amazon or on Facebook and Instagram. This option is not free, but it’s worth the try.
Lastly, you can also sign your e-book up for Kindle select, where Kindle unlimited clients can read your book for free. This way, you can get more people to read your book. The thing about Kindle select is that while your e-book is uploaded into the KDP select library, it is not allowed to be published elsewhere.
We did it. We covered the essential steps to help you go from writing your fiction story all the way to getting ready to publish your book. Writing and publishing your book takes time and patience. It is hard work that pays off and feels amazing once you are able to hold that book in your hand.
Whether you are at the writing phase, editing phase, or publishing phase of your book. The important thing is that you keep going and do not give up. Believe in yourself and in your book.
I hope this blog series was helpful and helped you get clear on how to manage this amazing journey. Before you go, grab your checklist below.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, I’d be happy to read it in the comments. Good luck!