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How do you self-publish a book?

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Quick Answer

Authors can self-publish a book by purchasing an ISBN number and formatting the book for online sales or contacting a publisher to create hard copies of the book. Authors must pay for the printing and determine how to distribute the book. Publishing and distributing a book can take months.

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Full Answer

  1. Purchase ISBN numbers

    If the book is written, edited and formatted, the next step is to obtain an ISBN number for the book. As of 2014, ISBN numbers are required for all books except for e-books that are published directly to Kindle, Barnes and Noble or iBookstore. ISBN numbers are typically purchased online in blocks of 10.

  2. Choose printing and distribution methods

    E-books are typically distributed online through vendors, such as Kindle, while hard copies are printed by a publisher. The book should be formatted to meet the specifications of the printer, and it should feature a high-resolution image for the cover. The costs of publishing and distributing a book vary, depending on the number of copies being printed and the terms offered by third-party vendors. For example, some vendors require hard copies of the book to have bar codes that are able to be scanned.

  3. Market the book

    After the book is printed or made available as an e-book, marketing is necessary to improve the book's sales. Marketing can include creating social media campaigns or making local appearances at bookstores or other venues.

The Internet has opened up many different opportunities for authors who wish to self publish their work. E-books are delivered digitally, which saves money on upfront costs. The Internet also offers a wide variety of distribution and marketing channels.

Before publishing, authors should polish their manuscripts. This involves a lot more than creating a great story; manuscripts must be easy to read and visually appealing to the reader. Authors should carefully format their work so that it reads well and is consistent. Headings, page breaks and paragraph breaks are all important things to consider.

Cover art is also very important; the cover is the first thing a customer sees before buying a book, so it should be eye-catching and represent the contents of the book. Authors lacking artistic skills may want to hire professional artists or designers to create their cover art.

Once the manuscript is ready, authors can choose publishing platforms. Many platforms allow writers to publish their work simultaneously on other platforms, but it is always important to read terms and conditions thoroughly. After they have selected one or more platforms, they can upload their work to publish an eBook.

After publishing an e-book on Amazon, iBooks or Nook, the book is available for sale immediately. However, authors should also consider marketing their books through channels like social media, blogs and local media. Platforms like Amazon also offer a variety of marketing options to help authors earn higher sales.

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