12 Steps to Publishing Your Own Book

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For aspiring writers, it would be a dream come true to publish their own book. However, the work put into creating an engaging, sellable book and the time and effort it takes to finding a publisher can be daunting to many. That is why preparation and patience are key to successfully publishing a book. If not done correctly, authors will become frustrated and give up on the process.

With the right topic and a positive attitude, publishing a book can be an amazingly rewarding experience. Even though the competition is high, it is lack of perseverance that inhibits writers from seeing their book through to publication. Each of the following steps to publishing your own book should be taken with thorough planning and seamless care. One mistake can take the process a step back, so move forward slowly and wisely.

Here is a quick list of how to get started.

The Top 12 steps to publish your own book:

  1. Choose the book topic
  2. Revise and edit
  3. Get the book proofread
  4. Complete a final version of the book
  5. Research agents
  6. Submit query letters
  7. Choose an agent
  8. Edit with the agent
  9. Submit to publishers
  10. Negotiate with publishers
  11. Edit with the publisher
  12. Prepare and promote for publication

Top 12 Steps Explained

Before publishing a book, a writer should know what topic will sell. Fiction writers have more options, but trending subjects should be taken into consideration, unless they have an innovative idea that is sure to captivate an audience. Non-fiction writers should consider the relevancy of their topic and decide if it is time sensitive. If time is an issue, then most of your writing should be done after you find an interested publisher. This will ensure that the effort put into extensive research and writing is not wasted due to outdated material.

Once a topic is chosen and the content is written, then the revision and editing process begins. Making sure the book is pristine prior to submitting it to an agent or publisher is essential to make it any further. Simple typos can lead to an immediate refusal and time wasted. After editing the book themselves, the author should have a friend or a neutral professional proofread the book. Pick someone who will be thorough and harsh.

A final version of the book should include reference pages (if necessary), a title page, author notes and biography, and a front and back cover (this shows publishers that you are serious). With a complete book in hand, the next step is to locate an agent.

There are agents online that specialize in various book topics, choose accordingly. Agents also have inquiry requirements. Some do not accept unsolicited requests, which means submitting a query letter is pointless. Focus on the ones who have open requests. Next, prepare a letter according to the agent's requirements. They may ask for a synopsis of the book and/or a chapter or the first few pages. The letter should be free of any errors.

After sending a personalized letter to 10 agents, it is time to be patient. You can use this time to create backup letters for another 10 agents incase you do not hear from the first batch. This process could take months, so do not let time or rejection hinder moving forward.

When an offer comes in, the writer should pick the agent that complements their purpose and that has a few good reviews online. It is important to choose a well-fitted agent as the next stage requires more editing. The agent prepares the book based on publisher and marketing expectations but with the writer's original artistic intentions in mind.

The agent contacts publishers and submits the book using their requirements. Once a publisher responds to the agent's inquiry, it is the agent's job to get the best contract for the writer. The writer can then agree to the terms and conditions before proceeding.

A third round of edits occur with the publisher to prepare the book for printing. For non-fiction writers, the writing may begin or continue at this point and be given a time frame for completion. Upfront payments, percentages of profits, and marketing details will also be discussed. The writer can also do their own promotions for their book through social media leading up to the release.

Finally, all the hard work is paid off once the book is seen on the bookstore self. Now all a writer can do is wait for the sales to come in and start thinking about the topic for their next book.

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