6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish

6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish

6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish

Have you taken all the steps necessary to self-publish your manuscript?


First of all, congratulations on finishing your manuscript, but before you rush ahead, here are 6 steps to consider before you self-publish, including choosing the best self-publishing platform for your book. Regardless of whether you are Australian, New Zealand, or an international author, self-publishing isn’t easy.

It’s understandable that after you write those classic words, ‘the end,’ you’d feel like the hardest part of self-publishing your manuscript or book was finished. Unfortunately, writing the book is just the first step in the process, and now it’s time for the real work of self-publishing to begin.

In the following article, we’ll cover 6 steps to consider before you self-publish, including beta reading, professional editing, how you’re planning on self-publishing and which are the best self-publishing platforms, do you need an author marketing plan, are there any legal considerations for your book, and should you try and find a book agent.


6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish

One. Is Your Book or Manuscript Really Finished?

Regardless of whether you used a professional ghostwriter or wrote your book yourself, writing the end isn’t really the end of the process. It’s just the end of the first step in the self-publishing journey.

Completing the first draft of your story is just the beginning.

Now, you have several options. You can choose to go back through your manuscript (highly recommended) or send your manuscript off to your trusted group of beta readers or arc readers for their feedback and thoughts.

Many authors choose to read through and revise their 1st draft before finalizing it as a 2nd draft and sending that off to their beta readers. However, reading and reviewing your own work can be challenging, especially if you’ve done a lot of revisions throughout the 1st draft process.

Often an independent and unbiased opinion of your manuscript is just what you need to determine whether there are any plot holes or timeline errors. Beta readers also often highlight areas of the book where they would like to see more details and information, such as character development.

Before moving on to the next step, it’s time to tighten up your manuscript and make sure that you’re not only happy with it but that it exceeds your expectations.


Two. Do You Need A Professional Editor?

I don’t think I’ve encountered an author yet that couldn’t do with the assistance of a professional editor. Unfortunately, while it’s nice to imagine that we can do it all ourselves, getting a professional editor for proofreading, copyediting, developmental editing, or a manuscript evaluation is a vital step in the process that you can’t afford to skip.

So, do you need a professional editor? Yes. Skip this step at your own peril.

Unless you happen to be married to or know a professional editor that’s not afraid to give you an unbiased opinion of your manuscript, you can’t afford not to get professional editing.

Editors will look at grammar and spelling, punctuation, style, tone, inconsistencies, plot, character development, structure, timeline, and more.


Three. How Are You Planning on Publishing Your Book?

You have two main options when it comes to publishing your book:

  • Self-Publishing
  • Traditional Publishing

To find out which is the best option for you, check out this article on self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Each option has pros and cons, with the biggest con to traditional publishing being the difficulty in finding an agent and then a publisher willing to publish your book.

If you haven’t got the connections, time, or money to pursue a traditional publishing career, then self-publishing may be your best option.

Be wary of vanity publishers. Often, many of them require you to pay the same, if not more, for the same services you’d need to purchase if you are self-published, and then retain not only the rights to your work for a predetermined period but also take a % of any royalties that you may make.

While they advertise themselves as a ‘viable option compared to traditional publishers,’ in reality, they’re just a more expensive version of self-publishing.


Four. Have You Got An Author Marketing Plan Ready?

An author or book marketing plan is a vital part of your book launch and the publishing process. Rushing to hit that publish button before you’re ready could doom your book to a life of obscurity.

According to WordsRated, there are approximately 11,000 books published every day on Amazon KDP alone.

Many self-published authors equate the marketing process after they publish their book to be the hardest part of the self-publishing journey. You can read more about what’s involved in an author marketing plan here.

If you’re fortunate enough to be one of the tiny percentages of authors who receive a traditional publishing deal, you won’t have to worry about marketing as much. However, you still need to do some marketing.

According to the Self-Publishing School, the average advance for first-time authors is between $5,000 and $10,000. And remember, that’s an advance on future royalties, not a bonus payment. You won’t receive any more money until you’ve sold enough books to cover your advance.

If you look at the average royalty, $2-3 per paperback book, that’s between 1,500-3,500 copies.


Five. Do You Need to Consider Any Legal Complications?

Most books or authors won’t need to worry about any legal problems, especially not as many as TV and Film projects. However, there are some legal things that all authors should consider including:

  • You can’t use song lyrics in a book without the artist’s permission.
  • Your book has to be plagiarism free.
  • Be careful using brand names, slogans, or images of businesses and companies in your book, especially if you’re painting them in an unfavorable light.
  • Be wary of defamation if any of your characters or plot is based on real-life events.

If you believe you could run into any of these problems when publishing your book, speaking with an attorney or lawyer is advisable. Also, including a disclaimer and copyright in your book is extremely important and one step in the writing process you shouldn’t skip.


Six. Do You Need An Agent?

If you want to pursue a career as a traditionally published author, then a book or literary is an essential step in the process of securing a book deal.

A good literary agent will have existing connections in the publishing world and will know which publishers would be willing to look at your work.

As part of their job, they’ll shop your manuscript around to traditional publishers as well as negotiate on your behalf when it comes to your contract, payments, rights, and royalties. Writers Victoria has a good article on how to find a book agent here.


6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish – Conclusion

There you go! Everything you wanted to know about 6 Steps to Consider Before You Self-Publish! Obviously, no two authors will have precisely the same experience or journey. That’s part of the self-publishing adventure.

If you need any assistance with author marketing or social media, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly.

Our friendly and professional team at Author Services Australia is happy to help! Need help with self-publishing, such as ghostwritingeditingformattingcover design, or uploading? Our experienced team is here to help.

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