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Blog » How to Self-Publish a Book – 5 Key Steps

How to Self-Publish a Book – 5 Key Steps

how to self-publish a book

Getting ready to self-publish a book?

If you’ve decided to self-publish rather than work with a traditional publishing house, you have some major decisions to make and plenty of tasks to accomplish.

But never fear; you can do it!

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Time needed to read: 8 minutes.

How to Self-Publish a Book – 5 Key Steps

  1. Work with a good editor and proofreader

    Do not skip this step! If your book is riddled with typos, grammatical errors, inconsistent logic, or storylines that stutter and wander, you will lose both your credibility and your potential readers. And you’ll look like an amateur.

    While a major standard publisher would handle the editing and proofreading for you, when you self-publish, it’s up to you to make sure it’s done and done right.

    For more, see “Copy Editor or Proofreader: Which Do You Need?” To get an idea of pricing, see “What Does It Cost to Edit a Book?”

  2. Select the best self-publishing option for you

    There are different self-publishing routes.

    You might prefer a full service self-publisher who takes care of all the work for you, from editing to printing, marketing and selling, and even listing your book in their online bookstore.

    Then there are companies that offer “almost” full service, doing everything a comprehensive company does, but they don’t have their own online bookstores.

    A third choice is working with several independent professionals who can handle the various self-publishing chores, including designing the book’s interior and cover, preparing the files for printing, and listing the book for sale on Amazon and other venues.

    Ask yourself how much help you need with the self-publishing process versus how much you can realistically do on your own. Then hire accordingly.

  3. Apply for your ISBN

    You must have an ISBN (international standard book number) in order to sell your book in bookstores, via Amazon, and through most other venues.

    You must also have a different ISBN for each edition and “version” of your book—hardcover, softcover, e-book, and so on.

    It’s possible that your self-publisher, if you use one, will get an ISBN for you or sell one to you. You can also purchase an ISBN directly from Bowker , the official source for ISBNs in the U.S.

    Generally speaking, it’s better to purchase the ISBN, for if you use one given to you by a self-publishing firm, you may not be able to move that “number” to a different selling venue.

  4. Create an eye-catching cover design

    Whether your book is tangible or an e-book, the cover should be attractive and compelling.

    A self-publishing company might help you with the cover design, but if not, you’ll need to hire an independent designer.

    You may also want to consider using a premade design.

  5. Set the cover price for your book

    Some self-publishing companies will do this for you, but if it’s up to you, keep your audience in mind.

    For example, a young adult readership may not be able to spend much on a book. Also, book prices on internet sites are often quite low. Paperbacks are often under $10 and e-books under $5.

    Look at the prices of books similar to yours so you don’t unwittingly price yourself out of the market.

Getting your book into print is a huge accomplishment!

There are few thrills that compare to holding your own published book in your hands for the first time. At that moment, you’ll find that all the painstaking work you’ve put into your labor of love was well worth it.


Contact us! We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

For more information, call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message.

We’d love to talk to you about your exciting book project!

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Although based in Los Angeles, California, we often travel to work with our clients.