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How To Self Publish Your Own Book
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Back before the internet started taking over our lives, it used to be difficult and expensive to self publish a book. You had to find a publisher - figures vary but it took J K Rowling at least 9 different attempts before Harry Potter came into print. And vanity publishers took advantage of this by charging large amounts of money to get your book published. Some still make a living from doing this. But there are easier ways nowadays.
Create your manuscript
The easiest way to do this is in a word processor. It provides a simple way to make corrections and quickly format your new book for the different styles needed depending on whether it will be published electronically on something like Kindle or will turn into a real, printed book.
Make sure that you take regular backups!
I personally use an offsite backup program called Carbonite that automatically backs up the various folders I tell it to without me even having to think about it. There's nothing worse than the thought of losing all your time and work just because you didn't back it up.
Proof read your manuscript
This vital step is often left out by self publishers.
But even if you don't hire in a proof reader, it's still well worth doing some proof reading yourself. If you're able to enlist the help of friends, so much the better.
Decide on your self publishing platform
If you're going to self publish an ebook then Amazon's Kindle is the place to go. They have the lion's share of the market and they make it incredibly easy to upload and publish your work. You can upload a Word document and their formatting program will do all the hard work of turning it into an ebook that can be opened on any Kindle reader. Which is near enough anything with a screen - there are apps for phones, programs for computers, etc.
If you're going to produce a printed book then your options are wider.
Again, Amazon offer a print on demand option with their CreateSpace site. You will need to turn your Word document into a PDF before uploading it but that's a simple option with almost any word processor nowadays.
There are plenty of other sites that will help you produce a print on demand book if you prefer not to put all your eggs in Amazon's basket. Sites like Lulu and CafePress work in a very similar fashion and produce books in quantities as low as 1 unit at very affordable prices.
Most printed book self publishing companies will also create an ISBN (bar code) for your book and will offer extra options if you want distribution in traditional bookshops as well as the various online shopping sites.
It's also worth remembering that you aren't limited to just one format when you self publish a book. You can - and should - offer your customers different options. As a bare minimum, I'd suggest offering an electronic version such as Kindle and a paperback.
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