article, by sheila martina keaise. 2015

No matter where I go, whether it is in the library, church, the grocery store or just visiting a friend or family member, the number one question I am asked about self-publishing is “How Can I Self–Publish?” After self–publishing eight books, it even seems simple enough to explain. However, this is a hard question to articulate the particulars in a five-minute conversation. While the process is quite detailed in pursuing, self-publishing is appealing for many reasons. Besides the fact you can receive big profits, you will always have control of your book from design to marketing to selling. You have full ownership of your book and will be able to share your personal experience or preserve your family history. Additionally, it will take a fraction of the time to receive a complete copy of your book when you self-publish.

Earning the title of self-publisher can be rewarding, but it can be daunting to succeed. There are a few things to contemplate if you want to self-publish. By considering these six main things, you will increase your chances of becoming a successful self–published author. 

#1 Know what you want in your book. 

This consists of various things. First, know what genre you want your book to be. What subject do you get more passion from sharing with others? Second, determine the value of the book in terms of quality. Will you want to buy this book if you were a customer? Does it have a special worth? Third, figure out who your target audience should be. Who will want to read this more than anyone else? Who do you want to read this book? Fourth, find a good illustrator and concur on an amiable agreement. Who has illustrations that best captures your story line? Are they affordable? Do you want to pay royalties on each book sold or pay a onetime price?

#2 Proof read and reread your manuscript. 

This is a very vital step in the self–publishing process. The only thing that you can mainly rely on a self–publisher or printer to do is printing and/or making your book available. If they offer this service at all, most self-publishers will not proof read your manuscript without charging a sizeable fee. If you don’t proof read your manuscript or get great friends to reread your work, your “would a, could a-been a great book” will be disreputable. Mistakes are easy to make especially when you have in your mind what your manuscript is supposed to be. Thus, it is vital to spend extra time in this component of the process. When people read your story they want to read flawless writing in the simplest terminology. 

  1. Corporate Graphics (dedicated to providing you with more than the signatures they print: they guarantee More Technology, More Education, More Support, More Solutions—More of What You Want with a minimum order of 250 copies).

#4 A graphic designer will be a great source when submitting your manuscript to the publisher for printing. 

Each page of the future book must be professionally incorporated into a book format. If you are computer software savvy, you may want to consider using one of these software. Adobe InDesign is great software to use to create different styles and format of a book and other things. Gnu Image Manipulation Program (The GIMP) is free software that has information that is similar in capability to Adobe InDesign. A graphic designer will also have former knowledge of proper book layout and how to create PDF files, convert files to e-book and the like so your material makes easy transfer to the publisher or printer. Graphic designers can also assist with starting your website.

#5 Get a website advertising your book(s).

As a self-published author you will have to be your own most reliable marketer. For those who are not big talkers, you might consider creating a website with your new book on display. While most publishers and/or printers will make your book available online from Amazon to Books-A-Million to Ingram to their prospective website, your personal website gives an in-depth look at you the author and makes your book more appealing. There are costs related to this if you want your own domain name and special website hosting. 

You will get a bigger profit when you sell the books yourself. To optimize your self-publishing experience it is best to keep books on hand to sell. Perhaps someone you know saw your website and ran into you in the grocery store and wanted to get a copy of your book. Since all of your family and friends may not be internet shoppers, it is important to take books with you everywhere you go. 

#6 Be prepared to spend at least $650 to publish your book.

While the market is easy to enter, it is with a cost. Whether you need $650 up front or more, it will require funds to complete the self-publishing process. A quick breakdown of the financial prerequisite may include: 

  1. $200 - $400 for a graphic designer to convert files
  2. $150 + for a selected publisher to transfer your title into paperback format
  3. $100 - $1,000 for a printer to make 25 – 250 hard copies of the new published book. 

There are ways to waive some of these expenses if you do not have the ready funds. Consolation can come in the form of family, friends, and well-wishers. Sending out patronage letters to help you achieve your goal is one way to raise monies. Getting the bare minimum of hard copies to sell could reduce your expense. Finding a printer or publisher that prints on demand is common and can be utilized when finances are low. Using high school or college students who are studying graphic designing can lower the cost of a graphic designer. The only thing you need to consider is that they are new and may make mistakes.


The Copyright Guide by Lee Wilson, Complete Guide to Self Publishing by Tom Ross and Marilyn Ross, Do the Write Thing by Kwame Alexander with Nina Foxx, and The Self-Publishing Manual : How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (13th Edition) by Dan Poynter.

Submitted by Shiela Martina Keaise and

Self-Published Author of 12 Children’s Books:

  1. Hannah & Dexter: The First Meeting
  2. Folktales From A to Z: A guessing game 
  3. Guessing The Nursery Song 
  4. Flower Your Garden 
  5. Americans of Character 
  6. Active Children 
  7. The 3 Little Pigs Song 
  8. What If?: A Different Look At Fairy Tales 
  9. Hannah & Dexter: Go to the White House

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