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These represent typical questions on self-publishing from new indie publishers. My Book Creation Success course has a lesson on the pros and cons of self-publishing as well as tutorials.

Jennifer Lancaster

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 least. Even with Amazon, a little knowledge is needed.

Really indie? Then design the book with InDesign, create an imprint, do a business plan and use a book distributor. New people quickly start realising that doing colour proofs, centring spines, and making bleeds isn’t very easy!

Still deciding? People who want full control over design, rights and timeline just self-publish their book themselves. They can do this by using freelancers (editor, indexer, designer, eBook formatting), or by working out each stage and calling on their editorial friends.

# Adobe Indesign is a desktop publishing program for pros, and it costs $29 – $39 per month. I have a copy.

Training helps with guiding you through the self-publishing process (using simple lingo) if you want to be the publisher.

In contrast, book publishing coaching (in our program) can help with:

  • Book title and market position decisions
  • Developing a format that will sell
  • Developing a chain so that readers become subscribers
  • Recommendations for ISBN purchase and distributor
  • Book costing and royalty calculations
  • Library suppliers – what they want, who are they

Pros and cons and tutorials on ‘how to publish yourself’ are covered in the Book Creation Success course.

This is based on IngramSpark self-publishing process. Other kinds of publishing differs enormously.

  1. Decide who the publisher will be (company, business name or individual), thinking about tax consequences.
  2. Timeline the book production and decide on printer or Print on Demand platform. Mental note to not print hundreds of books unless pre-sold.
  3. Order and fill out the ISBN at Thorpe’s MyIdentifiers website.
  4. Order the Cataloguing-in-Publication (CIP) data, and put their logo on inside (Imprint) page.
  5. Decide on the size best for the book’s length and audience. Layout the book (InDesign or BookWright), ensure images are 300 dpi, and save to PDF X1-2001. This also goes for Blurb publishing.
  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 an AUD price, other prices, launch date and marketing avenue details.
  9. Create the Title, fill in the details, upload interior and cover files, wait to confirm, and order a Proof to check everything.
  10. Check proof and if OK, order your author copies. Not OK? Make changes and upload. Wait 2-3 weeks for ‘file’ distribution to the retailers to occur. Check book is on book retailer websites.
  11. Send e-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.

There are two major Print on Demand suppliers – LSI and Amazon KDP. LSI for indie authors is 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 can print paperback or hardback books in Melbourne and ship to any Australian address via standard delivery in 3-5 days (or premium to businesses).  Similarly, whatever country the order is coming from will select the nearest LSI printer to them.

The title setup fee is now waived, but there is an annual fee for distribution, of 1% of local list price per sale. The print proof ranges in price, depending on print cost, and the shipping & handling ranges too. GST is also charged.

Rather than ask me all your many questions, you can now join Book Creation Success. Find videos on Self-publishing pros & cons, artwork guides, videos on Amazon KDP and IngramSpark, legal issues, and a way to set up the launch of your book. You can also send me your table of contents, for feedback.

It is geared primarily for an Australian audience. You may prefer to access personal mentoring for book writers, by booking in an appointment.

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.

We need to make sure our images and colour backgrounds for books to be printed are in CMYK and 300 DPI+. All digital cameras take RGB photos, so these either need to be converted by photo editing software or at the other end, the printers (where you have zero control).
At Code Beautify, you can ‘see’ the colour then convert that colour number using a chart: https://codebeautify.org/pantone-to-cmyk-converter  Just ‘search’ a colour and up come those shades.
In the old days, we wanted to match a Pantone card so then the conversion to CMYK was fairly reliable, unlike the screen colour (RGB), which is far from reliable and often completely wrong. Today, just use the online chart above to save trying to get a Pantone chart.
Designers are usually adept at changing RGB colours to CMYK with Photoshop. This change of mode is necessary so that the book printer’s equipment can interpret the file correctly and match the colours.
C = Cyan
M = Magenta
Y = Yellow
K = Black
All print colours are made of a percentage mix of these four base colours, except for metallic or spot colours (unavailable to most). Print on Demand books are all done in these CMYK, none have a metallic or fifth colour.