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How To Self-Publish a Book

So what if commercial publishers have turned you down. With today's technology, publishing yourself is a viable alternative that allows you to create your book your own way.


  • Step 1: Provide your electronically formatted pages and cover art for a printer, dictating the type of paper and cover details you require. Contract with them to do short press runs as your orders come in, which should cost little more per book than printers charge for larger volume runs.
  • Step 2: Find newspaper and online editors who might review and recommend your book. Read at local library book clubs and poetry events to raise general awareness.
  • Step 3: Create a website for your book and spread the word online through social networks and email blasts. Advertise and distribute your book through targeted, associated online channels or associations pertinent to the subject.
  • FACT: Mark Twain, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Zane Gray and Edgar Allen Poe, among many other renowned authors, self-published at one time.
  • TIP: The higher the paper weight, the better the quality and look.
  • Step 4: Educate yourself to standard book sizes for publishing runs to avoid costing yourself more. For instance, a single eleven by seventeen inch sheet of stock will make four pages for a trade paperback; anything larger or smaller will require expensive cutting.
  • TIP: To publish yourself cheaply, you need free or low-cost services. Find friends or advertise for artists who agree to do cover design or layout work for the opportunity to add your book to their resume or portfolio.
  • Step 5: Select a company with a page compositor person to balance pages and select fonts. Digital inputs have improved efficiencies and lowered costs, though illustrated pages raise the price.
  • Step 6: Hire a graphic designer or artist to create cover art. Negotiate to trade off services to get a deal on price.
  • Step 7: Format your book electronically yourself, using a publishing program on your computer that allows you to collate, rather than paying someone to do it for you. Create your cover art in a separate file.
  • Step 8: Research journals, books, magazines and online blogs with advice from other writers to determine acceptable costs for self-publishing. Select the book style that appeals to you.

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