You’ve written a book and decided to self-publish. Amazon KDP makes it possible for authors to write and publish a book from start to finish on their own. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.
When it comes to self-publishing, just like the Farmer’s Insurance commercial says, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” And so have our authors who have self-published books.
In my recent post, I shared some of the benefits our authors have found in self-publishing. I also asked them this question:
During which part of the self-publishing process did you most need help?
Copyediting and Proofreading
Every author wants his or her book to stand out. But you don’t want it to stand out because of misspellings, sentences that don’t make sense, and grammatical errors. There is a difference between having trusted individuals in your circle read your book and provide feedback, and having your book professionally edited. No matter how much writing experience you have, you are too close to your own content to find the mistakes, and your inner-circle friends are not likely to have the necessary skills or be as honest as they need to be.
Cover and Interior Design
We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, we also know that the right cover design can really set your book apart from the rest. In fact, self-published author Danise DiStasi shared, “I definitely needed professional help with the design of the book. While I wanted to provide the book at a reasonable price, it had to be eye-catching. The book rivals many other traditionally published books because the design was well done. I would never self-publish a book without the funds to have it designed professionally.”
DiStasi also shared that she was recently complimented on the professional appearance and quality of her books Love Like Louie and Lead Like Louie, which made them stand out from other self-published titles before the person had even read the books.
It is possible to go from a Word document to a paperback book using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. However, trim sizes, bleeds, and spine widths all impact the appearance of the final product. Professional typesetting with the right tools can make all the difference.
Logistics and Administrative Details in Working with Amazon KDP
Amazon provides a wealth of information on its site designed to walk you through every aspect of publishing a book on the KDP platform, and many authors work through this on their own with no problem. For others, either they don’t have the time to devote to learning how to do it and then setting up the account and moving the book from manuscript to book, or they may find working with the technology daunting.
In either case, working with professionals who have already been through the learning curve and are experienced in troubleshooting can save both time and headaches on everything from obtaining ISBN numbers, to registering the book for copyright, understanding the financials, and converting your files for Kindle.
While not inherently a part of the book publishing process, if you want to sell the book you’ve written, you’ll need a marketing plan. For Paul Larsen, author of Find Your Voice as a Leader, it was important to “Be deliberate with my strategic marketing activities as there are so many options to choose from but having the help and support to align those activities with desired outcomes versus just throwing darts at a dart board and hoping to get a bullseye.”
All of the Above
Most of our authors are experts in their fields with an important message to share. However, when it comes to publishing a book, they admit to being out of their element. Many indicated that they needed help throughout the process.
Richard Greenberg, author of Never Coach on an Empty Stomach: Bite-size Actions to Energize People and Teams, said: “Wow. You name it. Design, editing, critique, the process of working with Amazon… All of the above really.” And Beau Sides, author of Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education and Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans and Orphanages in China, said: “I was just a guy with some stories to tell, not a skilled writer. My knowledge of publishing was so limited it was embarrassing, so I needed help in every aspect of publishing.”
If you’re considering self-publishing, reflect on the experiences shared here as well as your own strengths and resources. In those areas where you need support, seek help from experienced professionals and always ask to see examples of their work prior to making a decision.