You’ve got a concept. You’ve got an outline. Maybe you’ve got a completed manuscript just itching to be printed. But getting it out there is a complex process and requires courage.
Where do you start?
If you’re passionate about seeing your project in print, self-publishing is one great way to see your dreams realized.
Reasons to Self-Publish
Most writers you talk to will tell you the same thing when you ask them how they imagine getting published: Submit manuscripts to a publisher and brace yourself to get rejected many times before someone finally recognizes your genius.
But this is not the only option. Submitting your manuscript to publishers takes time, patience, and a thick skin. Rejection letters are a harsh reality of the publishing business. Self-publishing can save your ego from the perils of an overly conservative, market-conscious publisher who can’t see the merit in the subject matter in which you’re most interested.
However, this is not the only reason to consider self-publishing. When you are your own boss, you get to control the marketing, timing, and sale of your publication. What’s more, you get to keep all the profits! If you want to handle the workload yourself, then self-publishing is a more direct way of getting your manuscript out into the world without worrying about the go-between: the publishing house.
Steps to Self-Publishing
In her publication Self-Publishing 101, Debbie Elicksen describes the self-publishing process:
- Find a designer
- Design the cover
- Design and typeset the text
- Proofread the laid-out text
- Obtain ISBN, CIP/LCCN, and barcode information
- Request printers’ quotes
- Set a price
Make sure you contemplate all the considerations associated with these steps before you decide to self-publish.
The most important factor to consider is budget. Don’t forget that, unless you have good friends in high places, you will have to pay for a designer, printer, and distribution. In the United States, you also have to pay for an ISBN code — a fundamental requirement for publishing your work. It is important to have an idea of your book’s production costs. Printing your book will likely be the most expensive element of the self-publishing process. Factors to keep in mind are: your book’s length, paper used, format, and how many copies you plan to print.
It is also important to have a layout in mind. Remember that your layout and your budget may not always get along; even in self-publishing, you may have to sacrifice some of the details of your dream for the sake of its general realization.
“You will save a lot of time and money by having a vision of how you want your book to look,” writes Elicksen.
Patience and adaptability are key when considering self-publishing. Leave room for errors, unexpected costs, and time delays. But once these obstacles are overcome, there is very little preventing you from achieving the dream of seeing your work published — by you!
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