The objective isn’t to simply self-publish a book. That’s easy these days.
By Hank Quense
The trick is to put together a quality book package to surround your content and that isn’t so easy. It requires work, perseverance and money. As to time, it can actually take a few months to put together this quality book package. Compare that to the “wrong way” to self-publish. In this scenario, the author finishes the manuscript on Monday, buys a cheap, generic cover on Tuesday and uploads the book on Wednesday. Eureka! The book is published! Except the book package is so bad, no one will ever buy it.
Here are a few tips on Self-publishing.
- Copyrights: Make sure you understand what copyright is all about and what it is not-about. Study the material found on http://copyright.gov
- Book title: Before you commit to a title, search the web for your title. You may be surprised at how many other books, movies, songs etc have the same title. Perhaps you should change it to something less well-known.
- Editing: In my opinion, getting an editor to work on your book is not an option. It is a mandatory requirement. Don’t give the book to a family member to edit unless they are skilled at that activity. You need a professional editor, not a high school student. Always remember, your name is on the cover of the book. Editing will take time, so ensure an adequate interval to get the editing done and to make the changes in the manuscript.
Ebook covers: Consist of the front cover only. IMHO, you should spend as much money on a cover as you can afford. Generic covers are available but you get what you pay for. You may see the same cover on someone else’s book. How embarrassing!
- Cover Copyrights: If you commission a cover artist to draw up a cover, once you pay the artist, you own the copyright for the artwork, not the artist. Make sure you both agree on this issue. Pre-drawn covers are available. Once you buy it, the cover artist puts your name and book title on the cover. You now own the copyright to the cover with your name on it. You do not own the copyright to the cover blank. The cover artist still owns that copyright and can sell to another author.
- Formatting: This refers to how you format the manuscript. Print books and ebooks have much different formatting requirements. Word processors assume you’ll print the text it produces. Consequently, the default settings support a print book, not an ebook. If you upload a manuscript formatted for a print book to an ebook packager, you’ll have a disaster on your hands if the upload is not automatically rejected.
Once you publish your book, you’ll meet the most wonderful people who will offer to help you market your book. For a small fee, that isn’t really so small. Be warned. Most of these people are scam artists who are only interested in the thickness of your wallet, not your book.