So your book is finally written and you’re ready to get it published. Should you follow the self-publishing process or have your book traditionally published?

While we would all like to be the next John Grisham, the fact of the matter is it’s very difficult to get traditionally published these days. You need to find a book agent, put together a proposal, send your manuscript to traditional publishing houses, and wait and wait (often for years) before getting published.

Or you can decide to self-publish your book so it’s ready for sale quickly. When you self-publish, you take on all of the work usually done by traditional publishing houses — writing, editing, layout, printing, marketing, and selling the book. But beware. Even in the self-publishing realm, there are lots of decisions to be made and lots of options for how to go through the process.

You can do everything yourself, saving yourself a lot of money in the process. Or you can sign with a self-publishing company to perform some of these tasks. These companies often charge thousands of dollars to do the work for you, usually with no guarantee regarding how many books will be sold. Under these types of arrangements, it’s not unusual to lose all rights to your book, have disappointing sales, not be able to get your original files back, and not receive royalties.

At Publishing Xpress, our only role is to print your books for you. You handle all the other details and pay a very reasonable fee to have the books professionally printed, so you can sell them yourself. No contracts, no profit sharing. Just quick turnaround for printing your books. We’re always here to help, but you will do most of the work — and enjoy most of the rewards.

Now that your book is written, here are the remaining steps in the self-publishing process:

1. Edit the book.

Seriously consider hiring someone for this task. You are so close to the book that it will be difficult for you to see simple typos, let alone grammatical or style issues. There are many online services where you can search for a freelancer to edit your book. One such website is ebyline (link to ebyline.com). Before hiring someone, ask to see samples of their work and make sure to set a clear timeline for completion of the work.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional editor, consider asking friends or family members who are avid readers to edit your book.

2. Format your book.

Before you start formatting your book, take some time to look at other books whose formats you think look professional. Some tips to consider:

  • Carefully select an easy to read font and make sure the size is at least 11 points.
  • Most books contain a title page, copyright page, table of contents, foreword, and preface in the front and an epilogue, afterword, appendix, and author biography in the back.
  • Use large margins for text so it doesn’t look cramped.
  • Odd pages should be on the right side of the book and even pages on the left.
  • Your chapter titles should be large and bold. Consider having all chapters start on the right side.
  • Include page numbers. Either center them on the page or put odd numbers on the right side and even numbers on the left side. Including all page numbers on the right or left side will look unprofessional and may cause problems if you perfect bind your book. Page numbers that are too close to the bound edge may get caught in the spine.
  • Consider indenting paragraphs rather than having them flush. It is easier on the reader’s eyes and looks more professional.

If formatting your book by yourself seems like a lot of work, there are a couple of good options (other than hiring someone to format the book for you):

  • If you use a Macintosh computer, consider Vellum. You can try the software for free, then purchase it when you are ready to publish your book. Currently, the software is $250 to create unlimited ebooks and paperbacks and $200 to create unlimited ebooks.
  • The Book Design Templates  sells templates to use to format your book in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Affinity Publisher, or Adobe InDesign. They have numerous templates that can be purchased individually or in bundles. You can also purchase a single book license or multiple book license.

3. Get an ISBN and barcode.

If you want to sell your book through retail channels, you’ll need an ISBN, which stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s the bar code that you see on the back on books, which contains a unique identifier for the book. To make sure that you retain the rights to the ISBN with your book, you should purchase it yourself at ISBN. You can purchase one ISBN for $125 or 10 for $295. When purchasing the ISBN, you can also purchase a barcode for $25. You’ll need the barcode for the back cover of your book.

4. Design your cover.

Although we’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we all know that most people do judge a book by its cover. Thus, it’s important that your cover is appealing with great, high-resolution graphics. You can either design the cover yourself, have someone design it for you, or consider having Publishing Xpress design your cover for just $100.

You can either order the cover when you are ordering your book copies or order it in advance. Send us the text and graphics you want on the cover, along with a brief write-up of your document’s contents. Our team of designers will then design a custom cover with proper bleeds and a spine. You’ll receive a PDF proof of the cover. If you’re not totally delighted with the design, don’t worry! You get two free rounds of changes. After that, changes are only $25 per round.

5. Order your books.

Now that your book is written, edited, formatted, and the cover is designed, it’s time to order some books! At Publishing Xpress, we’ve made the self-publishing process really easy. We have online calculators that allow you to input the specifications for your book and instantly get a price quote.

If you’re not sure what paper options to select, send for our free sample package, which has a plastic coil book with all of our papers in it.

Not sure if you should laminate the covers? We think that’s always a great option — gloss lamination will make the colors on your cover really pop while soft-touch lamination gives your book a really velvety feel.

And if you have time, consider getting a hard copy press proof. You’ll get a copy of your book with the inside and cover paper you’ve chosen and any lamination. That way, you can make sure the book is exactly the way you want it before printing all of the copies. The cost for a press proof is $60 if the proof is sent via UPS ground service and $100 if it is sent via UPS overnight service.

Once you upload your order to your cart, you can attach your files and checkout. We’ll get to work and send you a PDF proof within one business day. Once you approve your proof, your books will be printed in 4 to 6 business days (sooner if you selected a faster production speed) and on their way to you!

6. Market your book in the self-publishing process.

Now that you have your book in hand, it’s time to start marketing! If you’re looking for some ideas, consider these articles:

We wish you much success with your new book! If we can do anything to help or you’d like more information about getting your book printed, feel free to call us at 1-877-977-3779, chat with us online, or email us at help@publishingxpress.com.

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