12 Steps to Self-Publishing Success!

Blonde woman reclining with laptop

Self-publishing has become the only way ahead for those who love to write and for those with information to impart. Bookshops push publishers to select well-known authors, journalists who guarantee publicity, people who are on the television or those whose self-published books are selling well.

Not everyone wants to write for the general market, so selfpub is the ideal route for personal or club memoirs, books to sell or hand out at workshops or for artists’ showcases.
Selfpub is far more affordable than you think, and it’s easy when you have Jan and me holding your hand every step of the way.

Please see the Twelve Steps to Success below, and then the basic prices for what we do.

Twelve Steps to Success
Step One – Writing
Write your book and check it over, then ask a friend to check it for you. Avoid fancy fonts or layouts and never justify your text. If you can’t word process and save your work on disc, we can get this done for you. If you can’t write well, we can find someone to write for you. Please bear in mind that there will be a charge, as no one offering these services can afford to work for nothing.
We can, naturally, provide any editing services you need, but it would be cheaper if you have your own sources for some of them.

Step Two – Editing
If your work is not destined for the open market, it may be fine as it is, but if you want your book to reach the standard produced by a conventional publisher, it will very likely need to be edited. This is an expense faced by every publisher, whether a massive one such as Random House or self-published authors like you. Editing something longer than a short letter always needs to be done by someone other than the writer him/herself; you just don’t pick up errors in work that you’ve written yourself.
Editing can range from simple proof reading for grammar, spelling, headings, references and inconsistencies, to full structural editing that helps organize a fiction book, in addition to proofing.

Step Three – Checking and Proofing
We send the manuscript to you for checking; we allow up to forty small changes free of charge and then we charge 50p a word for changes. If you decide on a major rewrite, it’s cheaper to go back a step, improve the manuscript and get it edited.

Step Four – Formatting
This is an essential part of the publishing process. A word-processed document with a cover slapped on is not a professional publication. Formatting includes typesetting, layout, design, choice of font for headings, arrangement of illustrations and everything relating to the appearance of the book. Formatting is a highly skilled job that takes training, experience, a good computer and hugely expensive software, so however clever you are with computers, you probably won’t be able to do this yourself. There are automated services available, but they all force you into a standard, inflexible process.

If you intend to print your book, or have a printed book in addition to an ebook, the manuscript and cover preferably should be prepared for printing first. Even if you decide to leave the printed book for later, you need to get the print side into shape first, then set it aside before going to print. Only skip this if you are certain that you will only ever need an ebook, as changing your mind will involve extra costs later.

Step Five – Checking and Proofing
You need to check the manuscript to ensure that it is just the way you want it to be. We don’t charge for our errors (we’re human too…) and we give you up to forty small corrections free of charge.

Step Six – Cover Design
All selfpub authors love to get involved with this stage of the process, but there are many ways of going about it, and hidden pitfalls relating to copyright, style, trends and so forth. Talk to us before doing anything.

Step Seven – ISBN or ASIN
If you are making a family memoir or photo album with a bit of writing added, a book about your football club, church or group, you won’t need the expense of an ISBN at all.

The ISBN and barcode allow bookshops around the world to access your book, but the situation can be confusing because it depends upon a number of issues, so talk to us about this first.

Step Eight – Pre-Production for Printed Books
We organise the printer’s set-up fees and digitise the book, as required by the printer. We then order a proof copy, which we check and also send to you for checking.

Step Nine – Checking and Proofing
It’s amazing how previously unseen errors show up at this stage. We correct a reasonable number of your errors for no charge, but the printer will charge a full admin set-up fee again, for even the smallest change. Ebooks don’t suffer from this cost.

Step Ten(A) – Printing
You decide how many copies you need and we get them printed and delivered to your address. You can have any quantity, from one book upwards and reprint whatever you need whenever you like. It’s better to order a reasonable quantity (e.g. 10 copies) at a time, to minimise postage costs. We add our 15% admin charge for this service.

Step Ten(B) – Ebooks
Whether printing or not, the book now needs to be prepared to fit the ebook requirements. We recommend the Amazon Kindle system, which can be read on any device, including your smart phone. (The Kindle App is free to download.) This system covers 95 percent of the market, but if you want the ebook to appear on other ereader systems (Kobo and others), talk to us about this.

Ebooks can be corrected, amended and updated at any time for a fraction of the cost of changing printed books, which makes them amazingly useful for non-fiction subjects that need annual updating.

Step Eleven – Marketing and Publicity
We can produce press releases, leaflets and bookmarks as required. We will promote your book on our own websites; we can help you create your own sites, or host them for you. There are rules about advertising on social sites such as Facebook, so you will need our advice. There are many ways of selling books, and not everything is suitable for every writer or every project. We can advise you.

Step Twelve – Finally…
Creating and writing anything at all takes determination, patience and inner strength, so if you’ve got this far, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!

Price List
Every job is different, so this price list is only a guideline. Please ask us for an individual estimate, once you know your book’s word-count. For an accurate estimate, we need a copy of the manuscript, preferably as an MS Word file on disc, and any special requirements you may need.

NB: These prices are subject to change, depending upon prevailing circumstances.

  • Basic For a text-only project that is literally, fully edited and ready to be prepared for conversion into a paper book, along with cover content: £99.00
  • Bronze Larger book with some complexity, illustrations or other concerns, but which is already fully edited in MS Word format: £199.00
  • Silver A quick scan through to see what needs to be done, but this can be a more complex project. Includes a little light editing, but we mainly move on to typesetting, design and formatting. This option can include up to six illustrations, photos, diagrams and/or some special layout: £299.00
  • Silver Extra Similar to above but with a little more work either at the editing stage or the design, formatting and typesetting stage. This can include up to a dozen photos, illustrations, tables etc. £399.00
  • Gold and upwards. If your job is a complex one or a large one, please ask us to quote.

If you are happy with what you have written or if you can get a friend to edit your book, that is fine, but if you want professional quality editing, allow at least £10.50 per 1,000 words. A good tip is to keep your word-count down and to avoid waffle.

This has to happen with every book and every ebook. These are specialised jobs that take time and effort. Keep your book simple to save money, but ask for an individual quotation if the book is complex.

Registering with Amazon, ISBN or ASIN numbers are separate issues and they can involve separate charges. Talk to us.

Book Printing
Much of the cost of this part of the job is down to the printer rather than us; we just add a 15 percent admin fee on whatever we do.

  • The printer’s one-off digitising and set-up fee is approximately £80 for all books.
  • The printer will archive your disc for £8 per annum, so you will always be able to obtain reprints.
  • A paperback book with black and white content costs 1p per page. It will have a full colour cover, which costs £1 – sometimes less.
  • A paperback book with colour content costs 1.7p per page for standard paper, more for higher qualities of paper.
  • If you want a hard cover, folded wings or other features, please ask for a quote.

Ebooks Only
After editing and formatting, we can create your ebook for only an extra £59.

It is amazing how you will see errors in the final proof copy that you missed before. It happens to everybody, but here are some tips to keep costs down.

  • Don’t rely on your computer screen: print your MS out in 1.5 spacing and read it carefully. Many errors, clumsy writing and much else will jump out at you.
  • Give your MS to a literate friend for checking.
  • Even if you pay for editing, don’t trust to luck. Read your MS and correct it again yourself before taking things further.
  • Check all proofs carefully.

ISBN and Barcode, or ASIN, or Nothing
We will do whatever is required, but please ask, as each project has different requirements!

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