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SELF PUBLISHING: 5 Easy Steps to Self Publishing

How To Use This Guide

Over the years, Harmony Publishing has helped lots and lots of authors in self publishing their books.

This is regardless of the genre of the book, or the language in which the book was written.

Harmony Publishing has skimmed through every possible challenge independent authors can face during the course of self publishing their books, and with that knowledge, we have put together this guide that will help you commit to self publishing with ease!

From our wealth of experience, we have summed up 5 key steps you will need to take to self publish your book.

They are –

  • Finish your book
  • Prepare your manuscript to be published
  • Pick your products
  • Select your book distribution options
  • Devise a marketing and promotion plan

Why Self-publish?

There are many reasons to self-publish, however, we have picked out 4 of the major ones.

1. You can make more money when you self-publish: With a self-published e-book, you can earn as much as 70% in royalties. Being independent gives you access to earn more.

According to studies, self published authors earn more than traditionally published authors in terms of royalties (they earn about 20% in royalties).

2. Self-publishing is quicker: It will only take weeks to self-publish your book. Within this time period, it will be on major on-line retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc.

This is unlike the traditional publishing process, which can take as long as 17 months. That’s too long to wait if you ask me!

Traditional publishing could actually take longer when you consider the time and effort required to find an agent and publisher who would agree to publish your book.

For new authors, self-publishing is the best option here!

3. You retain the publishing rights of your book: This is one of the greatest advantages of self publishing. You maintain total control of the affairs and rights of your book.

By self-publishing, you will not be required to sell-off the rights or ownership of your precious intellectual content.

You will be in total control of every aspect of your book. From the cover design, to the release date!

4. Your publishing is guaranteed: Here’s another great advantage of self-publishing. Your book is guaranteed to hit the market place, it will just be a matter of when you want it published.

Unknown authors would appreciate this advantage, knowing fully well how hard it is for a newcomer to secure a publishing deal.

Speaking of newcomers, the best and fastest way for you to be known in the industry is when you self publish your book and do well with it.

The traditional publishers would take notice, and can give you mouth-watering deals in your next release!

With this guide put together by Harmony Publishing, you will learn everything you need to know about self publishing.

We have explained each step in very simple, understandable terms.

You’ll be enlightened. So keep reading!

CHAPTER 1: FINISH YOUR BOOK

Editing

For your book to be truly finished, it has to be professionally edited. If you want to be taken seriously in the publishing business, then make sure you hire a professional to do the finishing touches on your manuscript.

Your book has to be free of spelling or grammatical errors. The paragraphs also have to be well spaced out, and the writing must have good readability.

A poorly edited book will not be recommended by anyone who reads it. Who wants to recommend a poorly edited book? No one!

Here are 2 major reasons why you need a professional editor.

  1. Editing can turn a good book to a great book: A well edited book will keep the readers focused and interested in the plot of the book, instead of focusing on grammatical errors.
  2. Editors give honest, objective feedback: A professional editor will give you honest feedback on your book. Not just on how good (or bad) the grammar is, but on the overall plot and effect it has on the reader.

What Kind Of Editing Does Your Book Need?

There are 4 main types of editing. These are:

  1. Proofreading: This is when a proofreader takes a look at a previously edited book. The main purpose of proofreading is to spot those little typographical errors here and there, and make amends to them. Proofing is the final step needed to be taken before your book is published.
  2. Copy Editing: In the world of publishing, Copy refers to the text. This means copy editing can also be called text editing. It is a word-by-word edit that addresses grammar usage, and consistency issues. Copy editors also check for typos and spelling errors. They also pay particular attention to punctuations such ad full-stops, commas, and semicolons.
  3. Line Editing: This is a more in-depth type of editing that focuses more on the flow of ideas, transition, tone, and writing style.
  4. Developmental Editing: Not every book requires a developmental edit. This type of editing should be done during the publication process. This is when the author is still in the drafting stage.

A quick word of advice. It is best you hire a professional editor to go through your book before it is published. You may be a great editor, but a second (or third eye) going through your book will help notice any errors whatsoever. We are all human, and no one is above mistakes!

CHAPTER 2: PREPARE YOUR MANUSCRIPT TO BE PUBLISHED

Now that your book has been edited, the next step is for you to prepare it for publishing.

Preparing your book will involve a few steps, which we are going to look at below.

1. Get A Good Cover Design

How your book looks on the outside can attract readers to what you have inside it. Your cover design has to be one that stands out from the rest of the pack!

It has to connect emotionally to your potential readers when they first come across it.

Research has shown that covers drive sales, and lets the reader connect with you on a more personal level. The cover also gives the potential readers a clue of what to expect when they read the book.

In the old days, they used to say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but those days are long gone! More and more readers are starting to judge every book by its cover, since that is one of the major elements of your book that gets them interested in the first place!

Below are some tips for creating a great cover design.

  1. Be Unique: Standing out is much better than fitting in, that’s if you want your product to appeal to new audiences. Remember, you are a new author so a unique cover design would help you gain more readers. A good artist, or graphics designer is who you should hire for such an important job.
  2. Be bold: There’s absolutely nothing wrong in being daring! Be as bold as you need to be. Use a good color combination to express the emotions you want your potential readers to feel when they look at your cover. Research has shown that colors improve the readers attention span by as much as 86% and creates an impression that is 39% more memorable!
  3. Consider your thumbnail: Online retailers usually display book covers as an 80 x 115 pixel thumbnail. For this reason, you should make sure your cover design is crystal clear and easy to read at different resolutions. Make sure it looks great, even when it’s minimized.

2. Format Your Book

After the front and back cover have been done, you need to properly format your book.

Books contain lots of words and pictures, which should be arranged accordingly. They also need a well arranged table of contents, title page and foreword.

A well formatted book will let readers know what to expect when they open it up. From the chapters, to the subheadings, and so on.

Harmony Publishing are experts at book formatting. We will give your book the professional look it deserves!

3. Converting Your Manuscript To An E-book

Creating and publishing an E-book means you must convert the files. This involves taking your Word document (or other text file type), and converting it to programs used by eReaders, such as Kindle and Nook.

These file types are called .mobi (for Amazon Kindle readers), and ePub (for other reader types).

You may try to convert the file yourself, or hire professionals like Harmony Publishing to do so for you. Nonetheless, there are 10 major steps you have to take for a proper file conversion.

  1. Proof your files for proper spelling, grammar, and syntax. Once your book has been converted to the ePub format, it would be difficult to fix an error.
  2. Don’t use tabs or the space bar to format paragraphs and individual lines. It could look the way you want in your text file, but they will look awful when converted to the e-book format. Be sure to use the “Format/Paragraph” menu or alignment buttons in the toolbar of your text editing program if you want indents.
  3.  If you would like to include the publisher’s name and address, date of publication, copyright information, ISBN number, or other credits in your E-book, then be sure to do so within the first two pages of the document.
  4. Use only standard fonts. Not all fonts are supported by the E-book format and eReaders.
  5. Don’t use extremely small or large font sizes. We recommend 12 point size font for body text and 14 to 18 point size for font chapter titles.
  6. Resize large images to 300 pixels high if you want them to display in-line with text. Do all resizing outside of the document with a good image editing software. After that, re-insert them into the document. All images should be in .PNG, . JPEG, or . tif format, of 72 dpi, and in the RGB color mode.
  7.  Do not wrap text around images. All images (except full-page images) should be set in-line with text.
  8. Extract content that is displayed in tables or sidebars and list it as ordinary text. Tables, inserts, and sidebars will not display properly in the ePub format. Tables and graphs can always be included as images.
  9. Special symbols may not convert properly to ePub, unless they are characters in a standard font set.
  10. Do not include any elements that refer to page numbers other than your formatted table of contents. Pages in your document will not coincide with the “pages” on any given eReader.

Don’t forget, the way you format your finished manuscript will go a long way in determining how smoothly the conversion process will go!

CHAPTER 3: PICK YOUR PRODUCTS

So, your book is ready to be published, but how do your readers want to consume it?

According to a recent survey, here’s how readers would like to consume their books.

  • 91% opt for printed books
  • 84% opt for e-books
  • 78% of readers opt for both

Advantages Of E-Books

At this point, most (if not all) self-published authors understand the power and advantages that come with selling e-books.

Just in case you don’t know, I’ll list out the major benefits below.

1. It doesn’t cost much to be in the market: With E-Books, you will be spared the burden and expense of printing hard copies (which cost quite a sum nowadays).

All you really have to spend money on is the editing, design, formatting, and conversion.

As for distribution and manufacturing costs per unit, you will have none to incur.

2. Unlimited shelf space: Since an E-book is a digital product, it means it will not consume any physical space, as opposed to hard-copy books.

An unlimited amount of copies of your E-book exist in the digital space. This is great for a new author, who wouldn’t be granted such shelf-space in a traditional, physical book-store.

3. Instant delivery: Once a reader buys your E-book, it delivered Immediately! Your fans don’t have to wait days or weeks to receive their package. They get it as soon as payment is made and verified!

4. It is portable and customizable: Unlike traditional books, E-Books can be accessed via a wide range of electronic devices. These include tablets, smartphones, eReaders, desktop PC etc.

Even with the above listed advantages, there are some die-hard authors who refuse to opt for E-Books. They strongly believe that the value of their books exceed the $2.99 to $9.99 price-range which E-Books usually sell for.

For this reason, they stick to printing and distributing hard copies, which of course sells at a much higher price.

Sadly, it is not the price-tag of a book that determines its quality. The true value of a book is what the reader is willing to pay for it. So tagging your book at $100 doesn’t mean it’s better than a book tagged at $10.

For self-published authors, E-books are the way to go. Since production cost is minimal, you can afford to sell it at the standard e-book price and still reap handsome rewards from it.

Hold On, Printed Books Still Matter!

E-Books are great, and they have many advantages, especially for new, self-published authors, but that doesn’t mean hard copy books are irrelevant. Far from it!

Recent studies have shown that only 4% of active readers purchase digital books exclusively. What this means is pretty simple, 96% of readers still fancy printed books.

The staggering truth is, even among a younger demographic, around age 30 and below, 50% of readers purchase strictly printed books.

Why Most Readers Prefer Printed Books To Digital Books

Going by a recent study, the factors that influence most readers to go for physical books include the following:

  1. Readers still love the tactile experience: The feeling of the book in-hand, the smell of fresh paper, and the thrill of flipping pages, are among the feelings the average reader wants to experience while reading.
  2. Collector’s items: For the hardcore reader, having a shelf filled with classic books is priceless! Digital books cannot replicate this feeling.
  3. Learning is easier with printed books: Research has shown that it is easier for readers to learn with open books on their table, as opposed to opening several web pages.

So, E-books Or Printed Books?

For a newbie in the game, the best bet is to go for both!

Doing so will ensure you reach a wider audience, since you have a format and price for everyone.

CHAPTER 4: SELECT YOUR BOOK DISTRIBUTION OPTIONS

E-book Distribution

For a self-published author, the best E-book distribution platforms are listed below.

  • Amazon – They are the largest online retailers in the world and Kindle is the most popular eReader platform you can find
  • Apple books – They are the frontline distributors of E-books for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch users. They cover over 50 countries around the globe, and users can buy your E-book via the Apple Books App
  • Barnes & Noble: They are one of the largest e-book retailers in America, and your E-book can easily be purchased by millions of NOOK owners worldwide
  • Google Play: Google is the world’s largest search engine, so having your book on Google play will give you (a new self-published author), the much-needed exposure
  • Kobo: Kobo boasts control of over 20% of the globe’s E-book market. Amazingly, they are right behind Amazon. They are also the leading E-book retailer in many countries, Japan and Canada inclusive

Distributing Printed Books

Below are the best online stores and distributors for your print-on-demand books.

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books A Million
  • Powells
  • Ingram
  • Baker & Taylor

CHAPTER 5: DEVISE A MARKETING AND PROMOTION PLAN

It’s been a long ride, but you’re almost there. After your book has been written, edited, designed, and formatted, you can begin to enforce your marketing and promotion plans.

Keep in mind, I said “enforce”, this means your marketing plan has already been drawn, all that’s left is to enforce it. You don’t have to wait until your book is published before you devise a marketing plan. You should actually do that while you’re still in the writing process!

According to Harmony Publishing’s research, an estimated 85% of successfully published books had their marketing plans drawn up before the book was even published.

Below, we will look at some means by which you can promote and market your book.

1. Book Reviews

You can get your social media contacts, or even other authors to do a quick review of your book. A good review will encourage others to buy it.

Research has proven that people buy products (not just books), based on other people’s reviews. This helps the potential reader save time in making a decision on whether to buy your book or not.

The more good reviews you get, the higher your book will rank in the booksellers algorithm.

2. Use Metadata

Metadata may be a strange term for new authors, but it’s critical to your marketing and promotion plans.

Metadata is simply all the information related to your book.

These include:

  • Author biography
  • Book genre & subgenre
  • Book description (brief or long)
  • Keywords that will help with reader search

4. Email Marketing

Another way to promote your E-book is by getting your followers to join your mailing list. By doing this, you can send them emails regarding your book release dates and other special offers that may come with your book release.

This gives your fans a more personal experience with you, the author.

5. Social Media

This is one of the most popular means by which you can promote your e-book.

There are social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram that offer paid ads. You can use these ad campaigns to reach your target audience in demographics of your choice.

The good news for self-published authors is, these ads are relatively inexpensive, and anyone can run it.

Why You Should Choose Harmony Publishing

Harmony Publishing is a self-publishing company, committed to bringing out the writing creativity in you.

We give our clients the needed push, and encourage them to write, while we take it upon ourselves to get those books out to the entire world.

E-book Publishing

We will help you get your E-book on iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and more.

Experience a premium digital conversion process!

We will give you a quality e-book design and conversion plus premium formatting, color cover, and interior page creation. We will also put your e-book on major digital stores.

Printed Book Publishing

Harmony Publishing allows you to choose between Hardcover or Softcover, B&W interior or full color. All printed books feature beautifully crafted full color covers.


Visit www.harmonypublishing.com.ng to get started.

Conclusion

Self-publishing is the way-to-go for new authors. It comes with so many advantages, which include keeping the rights to your book, lower book-release costs, and guaranteed market placement.

Try self publishing today, and be sure to contact Harmony Publishing Co. We will make your journey to becoming a self-published author a lot smoother.

Good luck!

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