These represent typical questions on self-publishing from new indie publishers. Read our free Process of Self-Publishing Guide or find out more below.

Jennifer Lancaster

How complex is it to self-publish in print with Print on Demand? Can I D-I-Y?
A.  Well, the first time I published a small book with no graphics, I went to Lulu and it was easy (2006). Not so many sales of print version, mainly ebooks. Second time publishing, I used a printer, but then it was all up to me to sell those books and I over-ordered just a little!

When I wanted to use the international POD service (run by Lightning Source and using localised printers) which distributes worldwide, then it proved harder. Not only understanding their terminology, but also calling on all my editing, page layout experience and print production knowledge. (Luckily, the cover was designed professionally by my husband). What a great result though.

Short answer: It’s doable, but to use IngramSpark, you might need some production and layout help at the very least. If no funds, use Amazon or Blurb. Or better still, do it yourself all the way and use a book distributor.

Mainly, I coach clients wanting an editor and who want to publish their book themselves, however I also occasionally help those who have a fair chance of attracting a ‘book deal’ with a publisher.

What steps are needed for printing a book?
  1. Decide who the publisher will be (company, business name or individual), thinking about tax consequences.
  2. Timeline the book production and decide on POD platform.
  3. Order and fill out the ISBN at Thorpe’s website.
  4. Order the Cataloguing-in-Publication (CIP) data, in advance.
  5. Decide on the size best for the book’s length and audience. Layout the book (InDesign), ensure images are 300dpi, and save to PDF X1-2001.
  6. Order a cover design that is wrap-around (front-spine-back) and the size you want.
  7. Lay the cover design on the provided template, taking care to put the ISBN barcode bottom right. Save to PDF X1-2001 (from Indesign or Photoshop).
  8. Decide on a AUS price, other prices, launch date and marketing avenue details.
  9. Create the Title, fill in the details, upload interior and cover files, and order a Proof to check everything.
  10. Check proof and if OK, order your author copies. Not OK, make changes and upload. Wait 2 weeks for ‘file’ distribution to the retailers to occur.
  11. Send copies to State Library, Parliamentary Library, and National Library (legal deposit) applicable to your State (or Country!)

These are the main functional steps Power of Words generally takes. You may also like to try physical bookstore distribution. You will need to add many more steps for marketing the book, and keep some aside for giveaways and reviews.

What does Book Publishing Coaching Help me with?

It helps with guiding you through the publishing process (using simple lingo), if you want to be the publisher. Self-publishing coaching can also help with:

  • Book title decisions
  • Developing a format (ebook / Paperback) that will sell
  • Recommendations for ISBN purchase and distributor
  • Book costing and royalty calculations
  • Library suppliers – what they want, who are they

What is an Author Platform, and why do I need one?

An author platform is often talked about by publishers (as they won’t publish unknown faces without a following). It is the combined visibility, authority, reach and influence in their field. It’s also important for self-published authors to consider.

Be visible.  It helps to have lots of followers interested in your content already and your ideas. Media coverage is also a plus for visibility.

Reach (or engagement) is how many people are sharing, re-tweeting and commenting, and/or journalists writing about what you do. Far better to be on a national scale than a local one.

Authority is how your background and credentials all point toward your authority in the book’s field. This is relevant in non-fiction.

Generally, more engagement on your social media usually equates to book sales, rather than simply having the numbers of followers or the media buzz for two or three weeks. An active online/media presence can help sell the books for a year or more. (Think of 4 Ingredients cookbook).

Thank you to the ‘Author Training Manual’ for this outline of author platform.

Where do I get worldwide book distribution (virtual, not physical) at little cost?

There are two major Print on Demand suppliers – LSI and Amazon CreateSpace. LSI for indie authors is now called IngramSpark. IngramSpark is connected to the ordering systems of 39,000 independent and chain bookstores, libraries, and online retailers worldwide, plus every major e-book retailer.

IngramSpark/LSI can print black & white interior books in Melbourne and ship to any Australian address via standard delivery in 3-5 days (or premium to businesses). (Colour is printed in the UK). Similarly, whatever country the order is coming from will select the nearest LSI printer to them. The title setup fee is about $65 Au or $49 US, which is usually refunded on order of <50 books. The print proof ranges in price, dep. on print cost, and the shipping & handling is about $10. GST is also charged.

Can I learn Self-Publishing methods online?

Rather than ask me all your many questions, you can now join Book Creation Success Club for $39 pm. Find Self-publishing pros & cons articles, artwork guides, videos on Amazon and IngramSpark, legal issues, and more, including marketing and media guides in month 2.

Designed by myself, it is geared for an Australian or American audience. Pay in Aussie dollars and with a 30-day 100% guarantee.

The Self Publishing Process