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A Self-Help Guide to Self-Publishing in 2023 

It has never been easier and more affordable to publish a book than right now. If you’re considering authoring and self-publishing a book, the following self-help guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started with your exciting venture.

Write Your Book

The first thing you need to do before anything else is to write your book! A book can be about anything at all. For instance, you could write a nonfiction book, such as a cookery book, a guide on how to reduce screen time for kids or a memoir. 

Alternatively, you could write a novel of any genre of your choosing, such as science fiction, fantasy, or a more niche genre like bizarro fiction

You’ll probably want to write a book about something you’re passionate about. Though, if you’re open to the kind of book you write, you might like to research which types of books currently sell well, so that you can write something with a readymade market. 

Also, while anyone can write, it takes special skills to write well, so you might like to first enroll in a writing course if you have no previous professional writing experience. It’s sure to take time to write your book, but the process can be a lot of fun and a very rewarding experience. 

Proof and Edit the Book

Many self-published authors make the mistake of writing one draft of a book and then publishing it immediately. But a good book always goes through various drafts before it is finished, and a good book is always proofed and edited well. 

So, if you want to create something of quality, it’s essential that you spend time working on your book after the first draft and then proof and edit it. 

Unless you have professional proofing and editing experience, it’s best to hire a proofreader and editor to ensure your book is grammatically correct, free of spelling mistakes, and flows well. 

Though, for things like grammar and spelling checks, you can always use an online platform like Grammarly. If you want to publish a book that is just as professional as those on the bestseller lists, don’t overlook the proofing and editing stage. 

Draw Illustrations or Hire an Illustrator

If you’re writing a children’s book, you’ll definitely want to get it illustrated. Illustrations could benefit other types of books as well. You always have the option of drawing pictures yourself if you have artistic skills, but it’s usually best to hire a professional illustrator. 

Don’t worry. Illustrators don’t have to cost the earth. You can find various freelance illustrators online who create works for affordable prices. Look on freelancing sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru, where you can also find professional proofreaders and editors. 

Format Your Book

Once you have written your book, edited it, and, if necessary, illustrated it, you’ll need to spend time formatting your book and putting it all together. At this stage, you should consider whether you’re going to self-publish both digital and physical copies of your book. 

If you’re planning on creating a digital version of your book, you’ll need to learn how to create a Kindle book or another format. There are plenty of online tools to help you. Alternatively, you could hire someone to format your book correctly for digital publication. 

When publishing a physical paperback or hardback copy of your book, you’ll need to consider things like the size of the book and the bleed. The latter ensures your words don’t end up too close to the outer or inner edges of pages. 

You’ll also need to think about design elements, such as the fonts you use for chapter headings and the body text.

Design a Cover

You could write the greatest novel in the world, but unless you design a great cover, it could be challenging to get your book to sell.  

When potential buyers come across your book, they will judge it on the cover before anything else. So, a great cover can make the difference between making a sale and losing a sale. 

While you have the option of hiring a cover designer, you can save a lot of money and end up with the exact design you want by designing your own. 

Thankfully, you don’t even need to have a massive amount of artistic flair to create an eye-catching book cover. Instead, you can easily design your own professional-looking cover for free with the help of BeFunky’s graphic design templates and other graphic design tools. 

Choose a Publishing Route

There are lots of companies online that you can use to produce your finished digital or physical book, so spend some time comparing different ones to find the best and most affordable options. 

Some of the most popular sites for creating self-published books are:

  • CreateSpace.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing.
  • Barnes & Noble Press.
  • Kobo.
  • Smashwords.
  • IngramSpark.

Market Your Book

Once you’ve published your book, you need to market it in order for it to sell. So, do things like place online paid ads, get the word out about your book on social media, seek out platforms where you can promote your book, such as Goodreads, and attend book fairs. 

The more you shout about your book from the rooftops, the better chance you have of it becoming a bona fide bestseller. 



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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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