November has finally approached us. Not only is this the season of fall leaves and cool weather, but also the season for books. But what if you’re not simply satisfied with reading books anymore? What if you want to write one?

So now you’ve got the urge. The question is, how do you get it published? You could go through a standard publication company, but that takes anywhere from nine months to two years, according to Writers Digest. Not only that, companies are notoriously picky with who they choose; not everyone is going to get an offer. However, this isn’t the only path you have to take.

Thanks to our modern technology and enhanced access to resources, self-publishing has never been easier. Writers are no longer forced to go through countless corporate hoops and rejection letters. Instead, you can publish what you want when you want.

Here’s everything you need to know about self-publishing your own books.

Manuscript

First, obviously, you need something to publish. Empty books don’t sell, after all. For example, “The Hunger Games” runs for 374 pages, while on the higher end, “IT” runs for 1,344 pages. On the lower end, there are smaller books, such as the 112-page “Animal Farm. ”In the end, however, it’s your book and you get to decide what to do with it. If the story doesn’t fit a certain page count, don’t try and force it to.

This is also when you should come up with your title. Try and ensure that it sounds both original and easy to say. Think of today’s most popular titles and try to dig into why they work so well. It’s not bad if you have the same title as another book because that happens sometimes. Just make sure that yours is obviously different.

While you’re writing, make sure to prepare to format your book. Normal books tend to be much smaller than the 8.5 x 11 page size that you start off with when you open a typing app. Typically books are around 6 x 9 or 5.5 x 8.5 in terms of page size. Make sure to set this up early on, so you can size and format the text accordingly.

Also, be sure to edit your work and have people look over it or, at the very least, do a thorough comb-through to avoid errors. Plot holes, misspelled words and bad formatting can easily be caught by doing a simple look-over.

Some good writing software for things like this is Google Docs and Open Office. They have options such as spellcheck and you can change the page size in the settings, particularly with Open Office. They’re also easy to get used to and don’t require special skills.

Cover

Often one of the most memorable things about a book is the cover. A good cover can make the difference between someone passing over your book and giving it a chance. If you’re already an artist, good news! You can make your own cover right here and now.

For those who aren’t or who want something different, there are thousands of artists out there in the world that are available to do your cover. Check any social media platform you can think of and you’ll find artists there. Make sure to be clear about your objectives when you approach them, as sometimes commissions have rights issues that won’t allow you to use them for your cover.

Also, pay your artists well. They’re trying to earn a living just as much as you are and deserve to be well paid for their work. Plus, it will ensure that you’re trusted by said artist and others in the future. 

For specific platforms, Instagram, DeviantArt and Fiverr are some of the best places to look, as they’ve become trusted platforms for artists. It also helps that these apps have features that promote visual images or a freelance work style that often applies to artists.

Platform

Now it’s time to choose a platform. There are multiple places to put your book and you can pick and choose depending on what you prefer. You could even do all of them if you’d like.

You’ll need to have your social security number and a credit card to create an account. This is so your royalties can be deposited into your bank account and you can collect social security based on your sales.

Speaking of royalties, that’s something to take into account when choosing a platform (or multiple platforms). The total amount depends on multiple factors, such as printing cost, page size and how much you’re going to charge for each copy when it gets put up for sale. It’s best to visit each platform’s website before you start to calculate exactly how much you’ll be getting.

Which platforms, you may ask? Well, some of the biggest names in the industry today have self-publishing features. Both Barnes and Noble and Amazon have their own self-publishing platforms, Barnes and Noble Press and KDP Amazon, respectively. Choosing to publish there automatically puts your book on their websites alongside some of the industry titans. If these big platforms are not for you, smaller platforms such as Lulu Press are available. There’s also the National Novel Writing Month Organization or NaNoWriMo. They’re a non-profit that hosts an event every November where you enter your word count per day throughout the month. It’s designed to get your novel written in 30 days, and you can get your book printed and published through it. 

Set-Up

Now that you’ve got your platform, manuscript and cover all ready to go, it’s time to go through the process of getting your book published. Each platform is slightly different from the others, but they’ll generally want you to have specific sizes and file types to ensure that your book comes out looking good. 

This can also be the stage where you add some extra flair to your book. If you want to add an e-book version, this is the time to do so. There are also often offers for you to print a hardcover version on the platform, so if you want that truly unique look, this is the time to do it.

Finally, once you have everything uploaded and the system is finished reviewing your book, make sure to order a preview copy before you make it available for sale. This way, you can have a physical version of your book before you put it out to the public. This is a perfect time to look over it once more and make sure everything is perfect.

Publicity

Now that you’ve got it all set up, published and ready for people to buy, it’s time for the final part of the equation: letting people know that the book is out. This is how you make money and get readers — no one will buy it if they don’t know it exists.

To start, tell your friends! Word of mouth travels fast, and creating and publishing your own book is certainly an impressive feat. People like to spread gossip and they will most certainly talk about it with their friends. Also, tell your professors and classmates. It’s a big accomplishment for a student to publish a book and they might be impressed enough to spread it to people they know, giving you a greater range than just your friend group.

Also, take advantage of the internet. Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms are a good way to spread out your book and having your friends and family interact with your posts does wonders with the algorithm. Make sure to get your links clicked on at every opportunity because the more clicks you have, the better chance your book will appear on the first page of Google.

At first, the task of self-publishing a book may seem daunting. But in the end, it’s not that hard at all once you have the basics down. Really, all you need is the manuscript, the cover, the platform, the set-up and the promotion. Hopefully these tips have given you a head start on what you should know.

Now go forth and write your own story!

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