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Ten Tips on How to Publish Your Own Book

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You have finished writing your memoir or are nearing its completion. Now you begin to think about publication. Going the route of finding an agent and waiting years for your book to be accepted, does not appeal to you. You decide to publish your own book—a realistic option in this day and age> As you […]

It’s time to publish your own book! Yeah!

You have finished writing your memoir or are nearing its completion. Now you begin to think about publication. Going the route of finding an agent and waiting years for your book to be accepted does not appeal to you. You decide to publish your own book—a realistic option in this day and age.

To help you, let me offer you ten tips to make the  process by which you self-publish easier.

1) To reach a larger audience than family and friends, a book must look like a “real book.”

Today,  a professional cover and binding will be required. It is possible to have a book designed that will look like it came from a big New York publishing house. Gone are the days when an independently-published book had “home made” all over it—that is, it is possible to pass for a New York publisher if you yourself are a designer with computer skills or if you engage the services of self-publish. Don’t skimp on the book design when you publish your own book. Your audience will judge your book by its cover!

2) What volume of sales do you want to reach?

If an audience of 100 readers seems your limit, then a print-on-demand option is fine—and advisable. The cost per unit is slightly higher than in traditional printing but it is not unreasonably so. A small run of POD copies frees you from vigorous marketing to recoup publication costs. If you are realistically envisioning selling 1,000 and 2,000 books, however, then you would do better financially to have the book traditionally printed. The cost per unit will go down and you stand to make a greater profit for your effort. But, independent publication in the 1,000-and-2,000-range is not for the faint of heart.

3) To publish your own book, find the  right printer for your needs.

Search the internet for POD printers, or inquire locally and regionally about POD and traditional printing and binding options. Be sure to request estimates also from large, regional book printing firms. They may be cheaper than a local printer.

4) Read, read, read. Study, study, study.

Read books, articles, web sites on how to publish your own book to familiarize yourself with the work that goes into preparing and printing a book.

Whether you act as your own publishing contractor or hire a professional, knowledge is power!

5) Make a preliminary budget (both of time and money) to invest to publish our own book.

This will help you find the scope of your publication and your book’s distribution. The “afford” factor is very subjective. The same person who cannot “afford” to publish his book can “afford” a new car. Make your budget in accordance with your values and let it show what you will want to have done five years from now

6) Who is the audience for your memoir?

Every story has a natural audience just waiting to know your memoir exists. Who are these people in your audience? Identifying your audience–whether it be your family, community, or the whole nation–will help you determine how much marketing—and what sorts—is required when you publish your own book. It is a self-evident truth that no one will buy your book unless they know of its existence. Letting people know of your book’s existence is called marketing.

7) Make a list of every person you know who would/should buy your book.

(That’s your pre-publication mailing list!) You will find that the buy-in rate for this list is high. (You will boost the rate if you host a publication party. They’re fun and not that hard to coordinate.)

8) What community groups will celebrate your accomplishment?

Perhaps they even want to plan a publication party for you and be thrilled to make your book known and available to their members? Expect to give these groups a discount for selling your memoir to their members.

9) Establish a preliminary timeline to publish your own book.

Is there an anniversary, family reunion, convention or holiday in the next three to five months that is your obvious publication date? (Of course, you may need to readjust as you go.) Having a timeline to work with can make you more efficient.

10) Have your manuscript edited and proofread so that it is as good as it can be.

Many new authors are so eager to finish their projects that they omit working with a professional editor–a final chance to assure that the text conveys all the meaning you intend. Omitting the editing process is short-sighted. A good professional editor will not alter your voice. Rather, s/he will make sure that you communicate clearly in that voice and will find discrepancies you can’t detect any more.

If you address these topics and heed this advice, you will be well on your way to holding your finished book! It is not as hard as you may think to self-publish!

Good luck as you publish your own book!

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