General Steps to Self-Publishing
1) Prepare your manuscript. You cannot publish a book without a polished, finished product. Complete your manuscript and then begin the editing process. Read through your own work looking for inconsistencies, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes. Asking a friend or family member to read over your work may also be beneficial.
2) Decide what your goal for the work will be. Outline your expectations for the work such as whether you are looking to publish a best seller or just want your work to be published and distributed for a small reading audience. Decide what you want to come from publishing your manuscript.3) Make a business plan. Be reasonable. Outlining upfront how much money you are willing to spend and how much time you can devote to the project, will help you later when you begin to explore various options for self-publishing. Your business plan should include a detailed list of all the services you may need in order to have your project completed.
• Expect to pay on average about 1$/book for a minimum print run of several thousand copies. You may also be charged for layout help, editing, design, and for photographs and use of copyrighted material.
4) It is time to begin searching for a way to have your work published. Check all avenues that you may possibly use to self-publish your work. Talk to printers and binders, asking about price, quality and what other works they may have done recently. Seek information on print-on-demand publishers and electronic publishers, some of these companies offer package deals which include a variety of services including editing, printing and binding. Keep track of the estimated costs for each possible avenue you explore, and from there decide which route will best suit your business plan and set goals.
5) Get all permissions and copyrights. If you are using any photographs, art, or quotes you will most likely need to get some form of permission. Use a contract for this process (see “Business of Writing” for sample/template permissions). If you are unsure whether you need to get permissions check out the Government of Canada website or see Access Copyright for details. Remember, when you use someone else’s words, their image or photographs/art you will need permission
6) For a professional product you may consider hiring a professional book designer and editor. The professional book designer can help you with layout, in order to avoid sloppiness. An editor is an important tool. They are professionals and can read your manuscript looking for a variety of problematic areas, making sure that your work is the best that it can possibly be.7) Decide on the layout. For this you will have to consider a variety of aspects including:
8) Get an ISBN as the holder of the ISBN you will own the finished product. (See information below.)
9) You will also need a Barcode if you plan on selling your book through retailers. This is basically a barcode with your ISBN number. (See further information below.)
10) Cataloguing in Publishing (CIP) data is crucial to include in your book for proper cataloguing in libraries. (See information below.)
11) Production. There are various steps to the book production process and as a self-publisher you will be in charge of overseeing each step (unless you have paid someone to do specific services). Book production includes:• Copy editing
12) Contact bookstores and distributors. As the self-publisher it will most likely be up to you to establish contacts and take care of the actual distribution.
13) Marketing and Promotional Campaigns. As a self-publisher you will have to market and promote both your work and yourself. There are multiple steps you may consider taking in order to successfully promote your book.• Book launch- this will introduce you as an author as well as your new book and may include a short book reading.
• Set up an author’s website, post on Facebook and twitter. Social networking on the internet is a good way to stir up interest. You may be surprised by the interest in your work.
** Remember each step that you take in hiring or paying for services requires a written contract. This includes contracts with printers, binders, print-on-demand publishers, editors, designers and any other business arrangements. Contracts are meant to protect you and those who are involved in the process and can be as simple as a single sheet of paper outlining the price, timeline and services to be rendered.
For more terms and definitions see www.selfpublishinghouse.com/glossary.html.
What is an ISBN?
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 13-digit number that
uniquely identifies each specific edition of a book or book-like
product, including books, pamphlets, educational kits, CD-roms and other
digital/electronic publications. The ISBN (changed in 2007 from 10
digits to 13) allows for the efficient identification, distribution,
control of inventory and handling. This 13-digit number is divided into
five parts of variable length; each part is separated by a hyphen or a
The five parts of an ISBN, in order, are:
- the EAN (European article number) product code: the first three digits of the EAN bar code number;
- the group identifier: a single digit following the EAN product code that specifies the country or language in which the book is published;
- the publisher prefix: a number that identifies a particular publisher within the preceding group;
- the title identifier: a number that identifies a particular title or edition of a title issued by the preceding publisher;
- the check digit: a single digit at the end of the ISBN that validates the accuracy of the ISBN.
How to Get an ISBN:
1) Visit the Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS) online at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/index-e.html for English speaking publisher and for French-language publishers visit http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/index-f.html2) Follow the online instructions for registration.
**Remember that if you are self-publishing you are the publisher
What is an EAN Barcode?
An EAN bar code is simply a unique series of digital numbers that allows retailers to easily track sales of your product within their inventory system. Also known as a UPC (Universal Product Code), the barcode contains the ISBN number which has been transferred into an OCR (Optical character Readable) scannable image.
How to Get a Barcode:
Any reputable printing company will be able to supply you with a barcode. This is usually done as part of the printing services, though it may cost you a small amount. A barcode can only be generated once you have an ISBN number.
The bar code must be placed on the back cover and printed in black ink on a white background.
What is Cataloguing in Publication (CIP)?
Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries. It enables the cataloguing of books BEFORE they are published, and the prompt distribution of this cataloging information to booksellers and libraries. The Canadian CIP Program is coordinated by Library and Archives Canada. It's important to be registered with the CIP so you and your work will be found.
How to Register CIP Records:
Go to Cataloguing in Publishing for full information. Some is reprinted below.
As far in advance of publication as possible, the publisher sends
information about a forthcoming title to a CIP agent library. This
information is submitted on a CIP form, which covers various details
about the book, such as its author, title, subject matter, etc. The CIP
application form is available here.
The completed form is returned to the CIP office along with proofs of the title page, preface, introduction, table of contents and/or any publicity material that is available. The CIP office uses this information to create a catalogue record for the book which is then returned to the publisher for printing on the verso of the title page.
Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing (www.yournickelsworth.com): Offers writers a means to self-publish their work. It provides a variety of services for Prairie writers, helping them to self-publish and have their stories told.
Blitz Print (www.blitzprint.com): An online print on demand publisher that offers both package deals and stand-alone services. The site also answers some basic questions concerning the printing process.
Espresso Book Publishing at the University of Alberta (http://www.bookstore.ualberta.ca/index.cfm?index=STATIC/ESPRESSOBOOKS) : Provides book publishing and printing services, the site also outlines the price of each service.
Benchmark Press (www.benchmarkpr.ca) : This company provides a variety of services to help writers get their works published.
Driver Works Inc (www.driverworks.ca) : Helps writers to self-publish.
WEBook (www.webook.com) : A website that provides both publishing services and social networking.
-Self-Publishing House (www.selfpublishinghouse.com): Provides general information on self-publishing that is useful to a first time self-publisher.
There are many articles available online to help writers through the
process of self-publishing, see “7 Common Mistakes that Stamp
Unprofessional on Your Self Published Book and How to Avoid Them” by
Earma Brown at http://www.writeandpublishyourbook.com/publishing/self-publishing/7-common-mistakes-that-stamp-unprofessional-on-your-self-published-book-and-how-to-avoid-them--have-/