I recently published a book: “Betrothals & Betrayals” however if you went looking for that on Amazon you (hopefully) wouldn’t be able to find it. That’s because I rushed it, and in my desperate attempt to be able to finally call myself a published author, I published a sub-standard book. After a week or two of stressing myself out trying to write the sequel I realised why I was so stressed and pulled my book from publication. It’s currently being revised along with it’s sequel and I hope to republish in time for my younger sister’s birthday. Although I have learned my lesson about rushing, so no promises yet.
So what is the proper way to self-publish a book? I’m no expert but from what I gather there are certain standards to hold yourself to. Here’s what I am doing.
First things first: If you want to be a “real author” is very easy to simply upload a Word .doc (or .docx ) to Kindle and publish through them. They even have a helpful little program to build your cover. However while doing this might not cost you any money- realistically it’s never going to make you any money either. (And if you’re anything like me this sub-standard book will haunt you until you withdraw it and fix it properly!)
Once you have written and edited you book yourself, find an editor. But wait a minute you just told me to edit it myself, why do I still need an editor? I read somewhere (can’t find it now) that you should edit your work 4 times before you give it over to someone else.
- Before you finish for the day read through what you wrote. Does it make sense? Are there spelling issues? Is there anything you would like to expand on for tomorrow?
- When you finish a chapter, read through that entire chapter to check that it flows, that you stay in the same room or change scenery when you are supposed to. Check that it’s obvious who is talking, what they mean, why they are saying it. Has this chapter followed the plot or have you gone slightly astray?
- When you have completed your book, print it out and read through it for spelling mistakes. Have it on screen at the same time to make your changes as you see them, this will save you time.
- Read it. Out loud. You can read it to yourself, to your dog, to friends and family, but read it out loud. You’ll find that certain things change when you read it aloud and you will need to change your book accordingly.
Now that that’s done, send it to a professional. Yes- you have edited it, and I’m sure you did a good job, BUT you are far too close to see any issues. Also this isn’t your job, you don’t know what to look for.
There are many different editors out there (beware “companies” that want to sell you a “package” to publish your book-these are mostly scams that will not help you as much as doing it yourself (Also they will charge extortionate amounts of money!) and there are different types of editing available too. I don’t really understand the different types yet, so I’ll leave that for another day. (Or if a kind editor agrees to guest post that would work out too)
I’m having my work ‘Content Edited” this means that my editor will check the flow and the character development. Once my book is edited I will pay someone to proofread it, fixing all the mistakes that I as a dyslexic/dyspraxic English girl have made while typing on my Korean/American computer.
Finally I will pay someone to turn my document into a pdf file to be submitted to the online retailers. This is something you can do yourself, but it’s quite fiddly and not very expensive to pay someone. Now your book (or in this case my book) is finally ready to be uploaded. BUT it has no cover!
Instead of using the cover creator program please spend the money to have a cover properly designed. As an avid book reader I know that books are judged heavily on their covers in book stores, both online and in person. So isn’t worth spending the extra money to have a professional make your book look divine?
So that’s all for now, please learn from my mistakes and put the time and effort into it if you want to self-publish. Remember googling “how to self publish a book” or “cheap way to self publish” isn’t really going to help you. You have to spend money to make money, and if your book was cheap to make, it will look cheap.