PRINTING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Self-publishing has revolutionized the literary world, enabling authors to take control of their creative work and bring it directly to readers. While digital publishing has gained popularity, many self-published authors still choose to produce physical copies of their books. We will walk you through the essential steps involved in the printing process for self-published authors. From manuscript preparation to selecting a printing method and finding a reputable printer, we'll cover everything you need to know to turn your manuscript into a professionally printed book.
Step 1: Manuscript Preparation
Before you start printing, make sure your manuscript is ready for print. It involves formatting your manuscript to meet the printer's requirements. Your printer will usually provide you with a set of guidelines, which may include specifications for margins, fonts, and other formatting details.
You will also need to decide on the size of your book, which will affect the layout and formatting of your manuscript. Most book sizes include 5 x 8 inches, 6 x 9 inches, and 8.5 x 11 inches. Once you have chosen your book size, you can adjust your manuscript accordingly.
Step 2: Book Design and Layout
When printing your self-published book, choose your book's layout and cover design. Once your manuscript is ready, it's time to think about the design and layout of your book. It involves making decisions about typography, page size, margins, chapter headings, and other elements that contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of your book. You can prefer to hire a professional book designer or use self-publishing tools and templates to create an attractive layout.
Many printing companies will offer a variety of layout and cover design templates that you can choose from. Alternatively, you can hire a professional designer to create a custom layout and cover design for your book.
Step 3: ISBN and Copyright
Prevailing an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is crucial for self-published authors. An ISBN uniquely identifies your book and is necessary for distribution and sales. You can acquire an ISBN through your country's ISBN agency or self-publishing platforms. Additionally, consider registering for copyright protection to safeguard your intellectual property rights.
Step 4: Printing Options
Once you have finalized your book's layout and cover design, you can order printed books. The printing company usually provides pricing options based on the number of books you order. Various printing options are available for self-published authors, each with advantages and considerations. The two primary printing methods are printing and print-on-demand (POD). Offset printing is ideal for large print runs, offering cost-effectiveness for bulk orders. On the other hand, POD allows for smaller print quantities, reducing upfront costs and storage requirements.
Before ordering your books, it is a good idea to proof copy. A proof copy is a single copy of your book that you can review before placing a larger order. It will allow you to ensure that your book looks like you want it to and to make any necessary changes before printing a larger quantity.
Step 5: Selecting a Printer
Choosing a reliable printer is crucial to ensure the quality of your printed books. Research reputable printing companies that specialize in book printing. Many printing companies specialize in self-publishing. When choosing a printing company, consider the quality of their printing, the types of paper and binding options they offer, and their pricing. It is also essential to consider their turnaround time and any additional services they may offer, such as design or marketing assistance.
Some popular printing companies for self-publishing include Amazon's CreateSpace (now merged with KDP), Lulu, Blurb, and IngramSpark.
Step 6: Preparing Print Files
Once you have chosen a printing company, upload your manuscript to their website. Before sending your files, ensure they are formatted correctly. It will involve creating an account and following their instructions for uploading your file. Convert your manuscript into a print-ready PDF file, adhering to the printer's specifications. Include any additional files required for covers, endpapers, or illustrations. Request a proof copy from the printer to review and approve before proceeding with the print run.
Most printing companies will provide you with a preview of your book. You should carefully review this preview to ensure your book looks good.
Step 7: Distribution and Sales Channels
Once your books are ready, consider how you will distribute and sell them. Create an author website or establish accounts on popular online marketplaces like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository. Utilize print-on-demand services offered by platforms like IngramSpark or Lulu for better distribution. Explore local bookstores, libraries, and literary events to expand your reach.
Step 8: Marketing and Promotion
Printing your book is just the beginning; effective marketing and promotion are vital for generating awareness and driving sales. After your book is ready, it's time to start marketing it. It may involve creating a website or social media presence for your book, reaching out to book reviewers, or setting up book signings or other events. Develop a marketing strategy that includes online and offline promotional activities. Leverage social media, author websites, blog tours, book reviews, and local events to connect with potential readers. Consider offering discounts, giveaways, or partnering with influencers.
Printing your self-published book may seem daunting, but with preparation and guidance, it can be a relatively straightforward process. With these steps, you can ensure your book is printed to your specifications and ready to share with the world.