Nuts and Bolts

You’ve probably followed this link because I added keywords about self publishing and now you’re feeling a little grouchy.  You clicked on my blog like you were supposed to, read through my inane chatter looking for hints, and now are sitting there feeling like you wasted your time.  OK, OK, so this post is for you wayward web wanderer.  “How to do it 101”

First, a caveat.  I haven’t sold many books.  There, I said it, now you know my dirty little secret.  Take everything I say with a grain of salt.  But, if you’re actually here looking at my blog you probably know less than I do so I’ll get you up to speed and you can take it from there.

Step 1 – write something

Step 2 – go back and read it yourself.  Correct stupid errors.  Correct smart errors.  If it doesn’t read well to you, it won’t read well to me and I’ll be annoyed when you ask me to look at it for you.

Step 3 – get other people to read it.  Preferably not me if you haven’t followed step 2.

Step 4 – Format it so it looks like a book.  Pay attention to how a book is set up and make it look like that.  Templates are available online, you just have to look.  The most common self published book size seems to be 6×9 so that’s a good size to use if you’re getting ready to send it out into the ether.

Step 5 – Find out where you want to self publish it.  I used lulu.com but you don’t have to.  There are lots of places that will take your money and send you books that you may or may not be able to sell.  Createspace has one, and there are lots of others too.  Be forewarned, there are lots of scams out there and they’re easier to find than legitimate value for your money.  If someone charges you to publish, they’re scamming you.  Charge for a book – OK.  Charge to publish – not OK.

Step 6 – Be prepared to be ‘upsold.’  Sure, we can publish your book.  Oh wait, you want to be able to sell it anywhere?   That will be more.  You want us to edit it?  Way more still.  I bought my own ISBN numbers because I wanted to control how my book was published, distributed, and sold.  Lulu has an option where they’ll assign you a number and act as the publisher.  That’s great, until you start adding up the costs per book.  Before you make a penny, the book is already $15 – $20.  Whew, that’s steep.  I wouldn’t buy your book for that.

Step 7 – follow their instructions on how to upload files.  Take the time to fine tune it.  Set up your preview, get a front cover picture, add your picture.  Set up your webstore.  Utilitize whatever they have for free to get your work out there an sellable.

Step 8 – Yay, you’re published!  Look at you!  order your copies, give some for Christmas gifts, send out an email to everyone you know.

Step 9 – Oops, now you know what I know, the rest we’ll have to learn together.  I can get you to the point where you’ve spent a lot of money, your five real friends have ordered their copies, and you have something to sell.  Now it’s time to figure out how to market and sell your book and that’s the challenge, isn’t it?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this primer on self publishing.  You’re now welcome to return to your regular life, already in progress…

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