Self Publishing Process

The Self Publishing process can seem confusing, and daunting, for any author. There are so many choices, so much advice, and so many decisions to make prior to publication. The truth is, self-publishing a book really starts when the writing is done. Finishing the book is great, but a lot of your work still lies ahead.


So the question is:

What does the self publishing process really look like?

Here’s a snapshot of the “big” steps along the way: 


1.  You write the book!

2.  Decide how you plan to bring the book to market 

  • Full scale print run and hire a distributor or fulfillment house
  • Use one of the many POD “package” options
  • Self publish on your own
  • Hire a self publishing company

3.  Set your budget

  • Book Development – Editing, Cover Design, Interior layout and design, Proofreading, eBook conversion and Printing (to name a few pieces)
  • Post Publication/Marketing – Social Media, Getting Book Reviews, Author Pages on key sites, Amazon, PR, Award submissions

4.  Research, Interview, Team Build

  • Research the distributor, fulfillment house, self-publishing company, or book coach you plan to use
  • Interview. Ask smart questions. Request a list of recent projects similar to yours
  • Check your team out on these websites to see what other authors and publishers say about them
  • Ask for references from anyone you want to work with – Don’t overlook this part of the self publishing process
  • Trust your gut – if it doesn’t feel right, move on

5.  “Package” your book

  • Copyediting and Proofreading
  • Cover Design, Interior Design and Layout
  • Secure your ISBNs, set up your Publishing Company, Register your Book at Bowker
  • eBook Conversion
  • Identify and set your trim size, price and category
  • Print your book or get it setup with a POD company

6.  “Distribute” your book

  • Set your pub date
  • Bring your book to market with your self publishing company, a fulfillment house, a distributor or through the various POD methods
  • Identify your discount schedule and if your book is returnable (yes, please)
  • Ensure your book is setup at the appropriate wholesale and retail outlets such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and available to your local bookstore
  • Launch your sales program (if appropriate). This may include hiring a sales rep, working with your distributor, or hand selling your book direct to bookstores and other retail outlets

7.  “Market” your book

  • Have your marketing team, and plan, in place 1-2 months prior to publication. (If you are doing long lead reviews, you may need to be set up as far as 4-6 months in advance.)
  • Make sure your Book Marketing plan covers all of your bases: Social Media, Online Marketing, Book Reviews, Amazon and other online retailers, Traditional PR (print, tv, broadcast)
  • Put together a Book Marketing Timeline and make sure your whole team is working together off the same schedule
  • Get your Author pages setup on retail and Author/Reader websites
  • Launch your campaign and track what works and what doesn’t through watching your book rankings and your through the register sales


Does this serve as a complete and total list of everything you need to do to self publish your book? Of course not. However, identifying, and understanding, the major steps in the self publishing process is important so that you can plan and budget for success.


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One Response to “Self Publishing Process”

  1. Great list! If you think the hard part is over when the book is completed, think again! If you plan to self-publish you’ll also need to learn how to be a good businessperson.

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