Self-publishing a book

By Hank Quense Writing Tips Comments Off on Self-publishing a book


Self-publishing a book is a complicated endeavor.  It is an especially daunting effort the first time it is undertaken.  The new author will face a series of issues, tasks and decisions that must be addressed.

One way to get a handle on all this activity is to use a project management approach.  That is the way I approach a new book that I’m prepping for publishing.  I’ve developed this process over a number of years in in publishing a number of print and ebooks.  It works.

 To begin the process, the author needs a manuscript that is complete and ready to publish. What ready to publish means is that, prior to this point, other writers have critiqued the book and you’ve made the changes they suggested.

To start

The first order of business at this time is to establish a budget. Yes, publishing a book will cost money.  You need to establish what you can afford to spend on the publication process and the marketing end.  The reason for the early budgeting is to give you time to raise the money, if necessary. It will also control your spending and prevent waste.

Establish a launch date

The next step in the self-publishing process is to establish a date when the book will become available.   Make the availability date at least four months in the future to give yourself time to finish all the required work.

To achieve the launch date, you have to accomplish a number of tasks. I break up these tasks into a pair of time frames.  One, the preliminary phase, starts three months before launch and the second, the implementation phase, six weeks before launch.

Preliminary phase

Tasks in the preliminary phase include getting a cover for your book. You also need to hire an editor to root out those pesky typos that you can’t see (but are in your manuscript) Make sure you don’t make more typos while correcting the typos found by the editor.

” You should select the packagers you want to work with. A packager is a company that puts together your cover and the formatted manuscript file to produce the book. If you plan on publishing both print and ebook editions, you may need two packagers.

” It is vital that you verify the packagers with sites like Preditors and Editors or Author Beware. In addition, you have to establish whether or not the packager will provide an ISBN.  If the packager doesn’t provide one, the author/publisher(i.e. you) have to provide one and they aren’t free.

Implementation Phase

This phase begins six weeks prior to the availability (or launch) date. Many of the cost elements in this phase depend on the level of expertise the author brings to the publishing process.

Tasks you should be working on at this time include designing the interior of the book and formatting it according to the packagers guidelines.  If you aren’t sure what this means or how to do it, the situation calls for research and/or professional help.

You should be aware that ebooks and print books have very different formatting and interior design requirements.

Once the interior design and the formatting are finished, you can upload the cover and manuscript files to the packager.  After the book is completed, order a copy and read it carefully.  This edition is know as an Advanced Review Copy (ARC).  Be warned; it has mistakes in it.  The mistakes are yours, not the packager.  Clean up the mistakes and resubmit the book. The new version probably has mistakes in it also.  Deal with it in the same way.  It is essential to get these revisions done before the launch date.  You don’t want a book with errors in it to be published with your name on it.  Revising the book after it becomes available could incur additional fees, especially with print books.


On the BIG DAY, when your book becomes available, tell everyone you know.  Then celebrate.  Have a beer.  Go out to dinner.  Save the brutal reality for the next day.

Consequences of getting published

The brutal reality is that no one knows about your book and no one cares.

Since you have a published book, you can call yourself an author, and it’s justified.  What you may not realize, three other things happen when you publish a book.  You become the marketing manager for the book.  You also become the sales manager for the book. It ‘s your job as the marketing manager and the sales manager to make people aware of the book and as sales manager to make them want to buy a copy.

And finally, you become shark bait.  Your book is on the internet and the sharks will find you and start to circle.  They want your money.  They will send you unbelievable offers.  For only $XXX, we will send out an email to two hundred gazillion people telling them about your book.  For the small fee of $YYY (it ain’t a small fee) will get you thousands of twitter followers or we will build you a Facebook page (or a Goodreads page or a Libraything page etc) and get you a ton of ‘likes’. The offers will go on and on.  None of these “valuable” offers will have the slightest impact on the sale of your book.
To sell the book, you have to become involved and tell people about your book and convince them to buy it.  It will take time and money, but marketing is an altogether different topic.

About the Author

This article is based upon the first lecture of my two-part seminar Self-publishing and Marketing a book. The lecture series is scheduled to be presented as a webinar on June 2 and 9 at 8:00 PM EDT (New York City time) on Savvy Authors.


His ebook, Manage Your Self-publishing Project represents a unique approach to self-publishing.  It uses to flow charts and mind-maps to graphically explain the processes.  It is intended to be a self-contained guide on the self-publishing and marketing processes. The flow charts and mind-maps depict the steps you need to take to get your book self-published and how to start marketing it. There are notes associated with the flow charts and the mind-maps to explain the tasks involved in that part of the process. These charts can be considered as elaborate and extensive to-do lists with time frames on when you should be addressing each to-do item. Learn more at:



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