Writing a book is one of the best ways to gain visibility, especially when you have something significant to say. So you may have gone through the rigorous part –put your thoughts together and made plans to be an author.
Now to put it out for the rest of the world to see, you know you need to take the next step by publishing it. Perhaps, you haven’t even written the book yet, but you just need to know the hurdles you need to pass to become a book author.
Gone are the days when traditionally publishing a book was so rigorous and the job of only a few. These days, authors are presented with a pool of publishing options –and you can pick whichever one works perfectly for your book goal. Irrespective, the art of successfully publishing a book still demands an adequate level of proficiency and tricks.
To become a successful author, you must know what the bestsellers do and how to go about it. That’s why we’ve put together this article to assist your publishing process. Read on to find your guide on how to publish a book.
In This Article
- Decide Why And How You Want To Publish
- Write Your Book
- Edit Your Book
- Get Feedback on Your Book
- Pick a Suitable Book Title
- Re-edit Your Book
- Format Your Book
- Design a Converting Back Cover For Your Book
- Optimize The Metadata of Your Book
- Create a Launch Plan and Team
- Publish Your Book
- Ace Your Marketing Game
1.DECIDE WHY AND HOW YOU WANT TO PUBLISH
Knowing the end-goal that you’re trying to achieve with your book is the first thing you need to ascertain before publishing. Not only does it help you stay committed to writing your book, but it also enables you to cut the publishing choices you have down to the one that works perfectly for your book.
In deciding why you want to publish your book, you can ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Do I want to use this book to get an edge over competitors in my field?
- Do I have a success story that I want to tell to help others, at the same time monetizing my experience?
- Do I have so many book-worthy ideas that I can leverage?
- Do I want to leverage my knowledge and skills to bring in my industry returns and engagements?
Answering these questions and more will help navigate your writing and publishing process the right way. One reason why it’s essential to answer these ‘WHY’ problems is that they lead to the ‘HOW.’
Like we already mentioned, there are several publishing options available to authors, and the one you pick will largely depend on what you’re trying to achieve (see why you need to know the ‘why’?). There are two broad options –traditional publishing and self-publishing.
Traditional publishing involves querying, proposing, landing an agent, and getting your book approved by a publishing house. With traditional publishing, you can choose to use either smaller press publishing or the big publishing firms. They both have their pros and cons –for instance, small press publishers give you a faster production process, but may give you lesser royalties and control over your book. Big publishing firms take longer production time but guarantee mainstream publicity and established creative teams for you.
Self-publishing, on the other hand, is a different ball game. It’s a completely independent route that takes down the barriers along the publishing path. You’re in complete control of the production, publishing, and distribution. You’re also solely responsible for all publishing costs and marketing.
So, as you can see, there’s no one way of publishing a book (even self-publishing has more branches). There are only best practices you can follow. Think about your ‘why’ and figure out the publishing process to help you achieve your book goals.
Then, you can move on to publishing your bestseller book.
2.WRITE YOUR BOOK
If you haven’t written your book yet, the right time to do it is after you’ve figured out your book’s goal and the publishing style to use.
This aspect is probably the toughest for many people. It could take weeks, months, or even years –depending on the volume and attitude towards writing. It’s easy to get frustrated with the entire writing process, especially when you aren’t sure how long it will take you.
Writing a book is hard work. Writing a good book is harder to work.
Even if you already have a rough idea of how the book will look, it’s important to have a personal writing process that can work for you.
Generally speaking, here’s an effective step-by-step writing process that can help you write a good book:
● Work with planners and schedules: Getting a calendar for the sole reason of writing your book is important. Here, you can put in your goals and schedule them timely. It’s very effective for accountability.
● Outline your book: Irrespective of the kind of book you’re planning on writing, creating an outline helps design a workable structure for your book. With this, you know what aspect of the book to tackle first and ensure a level of organization.
● Create your writing space: Have that distraction-free and clean space where you’ve designated for writing. Condition yourself to work in a conducive environment. A conducive environment is relative, so pick out whatever works for you.
● Work on a writing routine: Making sure that you reach a certain number of words, at a particular time of the day, every day will help develop your writing habit. Procrastinating on writing is easy, especially since you have no one to answer to. But conditioning your mind to reach a benchmark every day can speed up the entire writing process.
● Be accountable: Finding one or two people who can be accountability partners with you on your project is an efficient way of making sure your writing is done in time. Sharing plans, schedules, and goals for your book with someone besides yourself will help your writing process.
● Write everything as they come to you: Whether it’s a “haha” moment or something you aren’t sure about, it’s important to put everything that comes to you down as soon as you can.
Once you’re over this hurdle, it’s time to move on in your publishing process.
3.EDIT YOUR BOOK
Editing a book is just as important as writing the book. The difference between a bestseller and a mediocre book is usually the editing process. While you were writing, all you were particular about was getting your idea down, not bothering to check if the grammar, style, or punctuations were correct.
Now that you have your book written, you need to check and edit it thoroughly. Whether you intend to self-publish or follow the traditional means, editing isn’t a step of the process that you can skip.
You may ask, why do I need to edit my book?
The answer is as simple as that so that you have a book that can be presentable and reach the goal that you have for it.
Even if you have a good outline and you’ve also painstakingly written your book manuscript, reviewing it before publishing is still paramount. First, basic copy editing is something you have to pay attention to. From the accuracy of grammar used to punctuation, spellings, redundancy, and even capitalization, you need to make sure that the language used meets your writing intentions. You also need to tackle the tone and style of your writing.
Next is the developmental editing of the entire manuscript. This aspect usually tackles any structure, overall style, plot, and pacing problem that your manuscript can have. Even if you get away with copy editing, the chances that your book wouldn’t require developmental editing (especially as a first-time writer) are rare.
So, to avoid rejection from publishers and future audiences, you need to advance your editing game. It’s possible to do all the publishing yourself, especially if you’re self-publishing. But if you don’t feel up to the task, you can always reach out to professional editors.
Professional editors can handle every detail and make sure that your book is practically perfect before it gets published.
You can get professional editors from your network, or go the extra mile to hire them. Professional editors can be found on freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. You can also go directly to (written) content consultants and hire them. Be sure that the editor is a good fit for the job and understands your book’s intention.
No matter what means you devise for your editing, make sure it’s productive and leave your manuscript in a presentable form. Don’t hesitate to change editors if what you have on the ground isn’t working for you.
4.GET FEEDBACK ON YOUR BOOK
Up next on how to publish a book yourself is getting vital feedback about your piece of work. This is especially good if you did the editing yourself. But even if you contracted it out to a third-party, make sure you seek feedback on your book.
Every piece of creative writing requires feedback from people other than you –especially if it’s a body of work that you’re putting out and is carrying your name. Resist the temptation of thinking that you’ve put in your best, and what you’ve done is enough to make your book a bestseller.
With constructive feedback, you may find out that your manuscript doesn’t pass along the message intended for it, or what you have may not benefit anyone in particular. These kinds of feedback help you work towards your goal better and know what your potential audience seeks.
It may be a bit difficult to open up to criticisms, but in the end, the advantages are worth the effort. There are a couple of places to get your feedback from. Some of them are:
Close Circle: this includes friends and family whom you feel comfortable getting feedback about your book from.
Critique Circles: if you aren’t comfortable talking to people you know about this, you can find reliable alternatives, especially on the internet. Critique circles are usually a bunch of writers and readers with whom you share similar interests. These groups can give you an external perspective and review your book while still a manuscript.
Writing Communities: Most writers (especially developing ones) usually belong to writing networks to connect with other writers. If you belong to one already, you can utilize this community and find critique partners there. The good thing about these communities is that they may already have built-in critique communities.
Beta Readers: Using beta readers is a great alternative to getting feedback from people about your book. You can trust them to be largely honest and dependable.
Feedback Software: Apps like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are viable options for getting feedback, and they can be done while the book is underway.
To get the most from your feedback, be sure to:
– Get feedback from more than one person,
– Use online forms so that they can submit feedback anonymously,
– Specify what and how you’ll want the feedback to come (i.e., are you about the characters, and do you want them to rate or just expressly write what they feel?)
– Request for solutions to faults.
Importantly, get feedback as soon as you can. Don’t leave it until you’re done with the entire writing process.
5.PICK A SUITABLE BOOK TITLE
You’ve probably played around with the book title in your while working on the manuscript. While you may already have the book title suggestions, picking out the right title is something you should leave until the entire book is done. Titles tend to put writers in a box if they’re chosen while writing, thus putting all the concentration on making content align with the title instead of focusing on the book’s goal. It’s only on rare occasions that authors already have book titles even before writing the book.
Once you’re done with the first editing process, you can now focus on picking your most suitable title. Now everyone wants a captivating book title –which makes most authors overthink this aspect. But it honestly doesn’t have to be a complicated process. When considering titles, there are a few questions you can ask yourself. Some of them are:
Having these in mind, you can go on to pick a title that best suits your book. The three basic rules for picking a book title are:
– Can this book solve a difficult problem?
– Will I be able to get a title that’s short enough to read on a thumbnail?
– Does it provoke an emotional response?
– Keep it short and simple: using a title that’s short not only catches attention and fits on the title page but also makes it easier to remember when the need be. If you check out the books you remember off the top of your head, the chances that they fall between one to four words are very high.
– Pick a fascinating title: fascinating titles are what sells. Catch their attention, blow their minds, and keep them guessing. A fictional book title like The Sisters Brothers stays in your memory and keeps you wondering until you eventually read it.
– Be creative: it’s okay to look up to other books for title inspiration (especially if you have similar content). But what you shouldn’t do is to pick a title that’s too close to another one. Doing this can leave your audience confused and wondering if they’ve read your book before or not. Even when you pick a title on your own accord, be sure to verify if a similar or exact title doesn’t already exist.
If your book is a “How-To” book, you should make sure that the title is clear on that, and it gives the audience an idea of what to expect.
With these book title rules and questions in mind, come up with a couple of titles for your book and pick out which one works best. You can also put up a poll within your CircleCircle and writing community to help pick the most suitable title.
If you’re at a complete loss, there are resources on the internet that can help you generate titles based on your genre and expectations. Some of them are a good place to start when picking a book title phase.
6.RE-EDIT YOUR BOOK
Yes, you have to re-edit your book.
The first set of edits happened immediately after you wrote the book. But since then, you’ve sent it out for reviews and feedback and have most likely gotten tons of opinions about it. You should compile all the suggestions you got, streamline them, and effect better changes into your book manuscript.
For book writers who intend to publish the traditional way, this stage of the process is usually carried out by the publishing firm you hire. But if you’re self-publishing, you have to manage this stage yourself.
It’s as easy as doing it yourself, or going back to those who did the first edit and perform a final and thorough edit. Some writers may choose to have all the editing after the writing, feedback, and reviewing has been done. This may work for some people and not work for others.
Whichever way you choose, the best thing you can do with your manuscript after writing it is to thoroughly edit and proofread it once it’s done.
7.FORMAT YOUR BOOK
Now that your book content is ready to fly, the next step on how to publish a book for free is to format it carefully. The arrangement, margins, numbering, spacing, sizing, and font use of your book is all formatting is about.
This is the point where your manuscript starts to transform into a book. Formatting is important, whether you’re self-publishing or not. It gives your book a good feel and makes it more comely to those who will read it.
Thankfully, there are so many ways through which you can go about formatting a book. The means that we suggest are:
- Free formatting software: There are plenty of formatting resources online that you can personally use to format your book for free. Amazon Kindle Create and Apple Pages are some of the software that can help you format books. Each software has its style, so you’ll have to understand how it works and convert your file to work with theirs. The Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing forums also run discussions relating to book formatting, so it will be a great idea to check them first.
- Paid formatting software: If you don’t want to go through the free formatting way (which can be a bit messy if you aren’t careful), you can pay a license fee to some other software and allow them to make more developed formatting for your book. Vellum and Scrivener provide this kind of service and also allow you to test run for free to decide if it works for you or not.
- Hired professional typesetters: The last option available is hiring a professional to typeset your script for you. Of course, this is more expensive, but it is usually the most efficient. If you plan on having a print-on-demand book, this is a viable option for you. You can dictate exactly how you want the interior design to go and have it that way. Just make sure the typesetter understands what goal you’re trying to reach with your formatting.
These first two options usually work best for those who plan on self-publishing ebooks or need to work on it before sending it to an agent.
The formatting styles look different for various types of books. For instance, nonfiction books aren’t formatted the same way fiction ones are. While nonfictions have spaces between paragraphs instead of indents, fiction books are indented with new paragraphs.
Whatever formatting means you pick, be sure that it’s formatted properly to suit the book’s genre and goal.
8.DESIGN A CONVERTING BACK COVER FOR YOUR BOOK
If there’s one general rule that doesn’t apply to book covers, it’s the “don’t judge a book by its cover rule” –because that’s exactly what happens. We all judge books by their covers, whether we realize or not. And for that reason, an author needs to pay so much attention to his book’s cover design as much as he does for the content.
When your book has a quality and attractive cover, what happens? It catches your audience’s attention and makes them decide in a split second whether they want to get the book or not (irrespective of the content). Ultimately, this converts to sales for you!
What then makes a worthy book cover?
- Simplicity: With the turn of this new age, the kinds of designs that sell are the minimalist and simple ones. A book cover doesn’t need to be too busy to catch the attention of its readers. It just needs to have a simple and identifiable style.
- Professionally designed: Professional designers have enough industry knowledge to know what sells and what doesn’t.
- Clear titles: We already discussed the importance of concise titles. Having a title that’s clear enough to catch attention quickly is what makes a book cover-worthy.
- Fits your intended audience: It’s one thing to have a beautiful design, but it’s another thing for it to resonate with the people you intend it for. You can’t expect a book for young children with a dark gothic cover and bold style to sell. They simply wouldn’t be interested.
The end goal is to have a book cover that’s marketable and appeals to your target audience. Since you may have an idea of what you want, it’s important to consult with professionals to design your cover art.
They take the idea you have in your head, combine it with your book’s goal, and use their expert mind to create magic for your book cover.
You may have an idea of how cover designs should look like, but you may have no idea how to make one. That’s why you need to employ the services of a professional designer. Such a person can advise you on color schemes, font, sizing and placement of texts, style base of the cover, etc.
If you don’t already know a professional cover designer, you can get some on trustworthy freelancing sites like 99 Designs, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
Getting a professionally designed cover design comes with a price, but the benefit your book gets will be worth every dime. Go ahead and get a book cover design that’ll stand the test of time.
9.OPTIMIZE THE METADATA OF YOUR BOOK
Metadata, in basic terms, is the collection of information that defines your book. From keywords to description and categories, all these important information defines how your audience feels about your book before getting a chance to read it. So, if you want to keep them long enough to buy your book from retail stores, you need to optimize your metadata.
We’ll discuss each metadata category and how you can optimize them. You’ll find out how straightforward they can be.
- Book Description: This is a basic summary of your book’s content, and that’s why you need to pay attention to it. If you’re a self-publishing author, you’ll have to write a book description that cuts across your book’s different platforms. So you need to know what and what not to include. You should include:
– A hooking headline that catches the attention of the reader. It can be a review, dramatic statement, or the first line of the book.
– An introduction to the main idea. This doesn’t have to be the summary of the entire book –it’ll become more than a book description if you do that. Just ensure that the main concept of your book is covered briefly.
– An anticipatory ending that makes them want to read or buy your book. It can be a hint, plot twist, question, or a cliffhanger.
Going through the book descriptions of similar existing books can give you an idea of what your description should look like. Even if you want to break the book description rule, you should study to know it first. From there, you can figure out what to do.
- Keywords and categories: Keywords are the phrases or words people searching for your type of book will likely use to search. For instance, if your book is about learning the Python programming language, keywords will include ‘beginner programmer,’ ‘learning to code with no experience,’ etc.
Categories, on the other hand, are the genre that books belong to. There are general (fiction and nonfiction) categories and specific (romance, autobiography, documentary, epic, and so on) categories.
So the question to ask yourself when deciding on keywords and categories is that, “if I wanted to find my book, what words would I search, and what category would I look up?” Answering this helps you define what your target audience will have in mind. Also, check out the category that similar books like yours can be found.
It’s also possible to get assistance in optimizing your metadata. Metadata specialists are available on and off the internet to help with metadata strategies to help your book thrive, even before the release date.
10.CREATE A LAUNCH PLAN AND TEAM
Now that your content and everything relating to your book is ready, it’s time to start thinking and planning how your book will get out there. Surely, your book isn’t going to get itself out there, and you have to develop a plan even before publishing it. No matter the target reach you have for your book, you will need to create a launch plan and bring in other people to help market your book. In creating an effective launch plan, here’s what you need to have in mind:
- A strong team: A group of people dedicated to helping make your book successful is what you need. This could be your friends, family, influencers, or collaborators. Everyone on your team finds a way to promote your book on their different platforms, even before the launch date. Everyone on your team should be able to join hands together to push efforts, especially across social media.
When picking out your launch team members, there are some things you should have in mind. They should support your book, understand the goals you’re trying to reach with your book, have skills that can be utilized in your team and have a level of influence in their social (media) community.
- Reviews: Even before the book is launched, one of the best things you can do for your book is to get other people to review it honestly. There’s an effect multiple reviews can have on your work when it reaches your audience. Reach out to editors, columnists, and anyone in the literary field and can have a level of influence to review your book.
- Social media engagement: Literally, everything happens on social media these days. Utilize the power of the media to promote your book before it launches. From Twitter and Facebook to Instagram, put up promotional content to push anticipation of your book.
- Launch party: A launch party can either be physical or virtual. Virtual launch parties can work when you need to include people who aren’t physically available where you and your team are. It can also mean guest-posting on other blogs. But whatever way you choose, make sure you push out your book as much as you can. If you have the means, make as much fuss as you can and don’t underestimate the power of your launch party.
11.PUBLISH YOUR BOOK
It’s been a long time coming, but now you can finally publish your book! And the most interesting part of it is that it’s easier than other steps of the process. As long as you’ve followed the process thoroughly, you shouldn’t have so much to deal with at this point.
There are several platforms you can use to publish your book. The one you pick will be determined by what you’re trying to achieve. Publishing platforms usually take you through the process of self-publishing.
For Amazon, the Kindle Direct Publishing platform is where you can self-publish and upload your book. Creating an account is straightforward. Here’s how to publish a book on Amazon:
- Go on https://kdp.amazon.comto create an account with either an existing Amazon account or your email address.
- Then, complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
- Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished,” and your account is set up!
After setting up an account, you’ll need to do the following to publish a book:
- Put in your title and metadata,
- Upload your manuscript file in a MOBI format,
- Add your book cover,
- Create your author central account and include bio, photo, and link to your website,
- Price your book, save, and publish.
One of the most important decisions you need to make is how much you price your book. Usually, first books are more about gaining recognition than gaining money. For that reason, first books are usually priced between $2.99 and $5.99. You are running promotional prices before launch is a good strategy for getting more attention to your book.
Select your seven keywords and two different categories to make sure your target audience finds you.
Like we mentioned earlier, there are other platforms you can publish on. Although Amazon is the most popular publishing platform, there are other stores like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books, that you can take advantage of. There are areas where Amazon isn’t monopolistic, so you can find out the platform that works best and jump on it.
Be sure to do adequate research so you can understand the platforms and how they work!
12.ACE YOUR MARKETING GAME
Now your dream of writing and publishing a book has been accomplished. But do you just settle for a few buys and little audience attention? No matter how good your book is faring at the stores, you still have to pay attention to your marketing.
For you to maintain your book’s market and keep promoting the book, there are several things you need to do. They include:
- authors: Building a network of fellow authors can be a way of leveraging each other’s audience. You can make guest posts, features, and cross-promote on fellow authors platforms.
- Keep garnering reviews: Even after the reviews before the book launch, don’t give up on reviews. There are different ways you can push your audience to review your book. You can share content from your book on social media platforms, share your reviews on YouTube, get guest posts from influencers, and give away a few books to fans.
- Employ other forms of promotional services: if you have exhausted the available options (especially when you’re doing it yourself), you can reach out to third parties to help promote your book.
The key is that you should always be ready to promote your book in whatever situation. The success of your first book can play an important role in how far your subsequent will go. Acing your marketing game is how you publish a book and get paid.
Whether you want information on how to publish a book of poetry or how to publish a book as a kid, the steps that have been highlighted above will help you go through the process easily.
It’s important to note that these steps cut through self-publishing and working with publishing firms. So, even if you aren’t going to handle the entire process yourself, you at least know how to publish a book with a publisher.