Self-publishing has never been easier, and with the advent of print-on-demand methods, writers who want to see their books in print now have more viable options. However, not everyone knows the proper process of publishing one’s work without the help of an established publisher, making it a challenge to pursue the endeavor.
This guide will show you how to self-publish your book in the USA so you can get your books into the hands of readers without going through the traditional publishing route.
First Step: Write
It goes without saying that you need to write your book before you can self-publish it. Writing is the most crucial step in the process, and it’s one that you should take your time with to ensure that your book is the best it can be.
Writers have different approaches to writing, but it’s valuable to have a proper idea of what you want to write. Picking a genre, developing key parts of the story, and even studying the market can help you figure out what you want to write.
Identify Your Genre
See, your genre of choice is a critical element of the writing process that will affect the piece’s structure, language, and visual content. Aside from the content of your book, genre can also influence other stages of self-publishing, like cover design and marketing.
Choosing a genre early on is essential so you can tailor your writing to fit expectations. For example, a crime and thriller novel will require a different approach than a romance novel since the former typically focuses on uncovering a specific truth. Knowing the nuances will help you stay on track as you write and edit your book.
Develop Your Story
Once you have chosen a genre, you can move on to developing your story. There is no one way to do this since every writer is unique, but there are some steps you can’t skip if you want to produce a well-written book.
For one, you need to do your research, especially if you’re working with a genre that heavily relies on facts, like murder mysteries and thrillers. Incorporating wrong or misleading information will confuse your readers and damage your credibility as an author. You also need to flesh out your characters so readers can invest time and emotions into your story.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Competitors
Do note that focusing on your work is part and parcel of being a writer, but you can’t isolate yourself in a bubble if you want your self-published book to succeed. Bring yourself up to speed with what other writers in your genre are doing so you can stay ahead of the curve.
For instance, writers of crime, thriller, and mystery genres might find it helpful to know the latest plot twists and endings that have been used in popular books. Doing so will help you come up with new ideas for your own work and avoid using overdone formulas that turn readers off.
Second Step: Edit
No first draft is perfect, regardless of how talented a writer you are. An important tip when learning how to self-publish a book in the USA is to prioritize editing. After all, your book will require extensive polishing to fix errors and improve the overall quality.
Go Through Your Own Work
The editing process begins with you, the author. Reread your work from start to finish, noting any errors or awkward phrasing. Self-editing is also an excellent way to assess the overall book structure and see if parts need to be cut or expanded.
If possible, put your work away for a few days or weeks before returning to it. This will help you see your book with fresh eyes and catch errors you might have missed the first time. Other writers change the document font and format if they don’t have the time to separate themselves from their writing.
Get Feedback From Your Intended Audience
Self-editing might remove grammatical errors from the document, but it doesn’t mean that your piece is ready to be published. Getting feedback from people who read or are affiliated with your genre is essential to identify potential issues.
One way to do this is by joining relevant online forums and communities related to your book’s subject matter. A reader’s perspective is invaluable, given that they are the ones you’re writing for in the first place. Use their feedback to make changes to the story so that it’s more enjoyable and marketable. However, remember that it’s your project, so don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.
Hire a Professional
The final step in the editing process is to hire a professional editor. Even if you’re confident in your skills, having another set of eyes read through your work is always beneficial.
There are different kinds of editors, each with their own focus and expertise. Try to work with one with experience in your chosen genre since they’ll be more familiar with the expectations and conventions. It’s also crucial to have a good working relationship with your editor. After all, you’ll work closely together to make your book the best it can be. Be clear about what you want from the editing process so that they can deliver results that meet your expectations.
Third Step: Book Design
A book’s cover design is one of the first things potential readers will see, so it should be eye-catching and reflective of its genre and content. The cover is also an important marketing tool, so ensure it’s designed with that in mind.
Look for Inspiration
The cover design process begins with finding inspiration. Start by looking at other book covers in your genre to get an idea of the current trends. You can also look beyond your genre, but your design must suit your content.
Another factor you must consider is colors since some palettes fit specific genres better than others. For instance, a fantasy novel might have a dark, moody color scheme with medieval-inspired elements. In contrast, a lighthearted romantic comedy might have pastel colors and an illustration of the main couple.
Create a Sample
During this process, you must remember that you don’t need to be a professional designer to create a sample of your book cover. Start by finding some free templates online or using basic editing software to create a mock-up of your design.
The sample doesn’t need to be elaborate so long as it captures the essence of your book. While working on this, make sure to include the title, your name or pseudonym, and other relevant information. Don’t hesitate to start over if you’re unhappy with the results. It might take a few tries before you settle on a design you’re satisfied with.
Look for an Experienced Designer
Pro tip: Writers with no design experience can work with cover artists to create a polished and professional-looking design. A quick online search will reveal many designers with different styles, so take your time to find one that’s a good fit for your book.
When browsing portfolios, check if the artists have experience designing covers for your genre. It would be best if you also inquired about their rates and the number of revisions they offer. Once you’ve found a promising candidate, send them your book sample and see if they’re interested in working with you.
Fourth Step: Publishing
Publishing a book entails more than handing your file to a printer and calling it a day. You need to make various decisions along the way and check in with different people to ensure that the final output looks exactly how you want it.
Get in Touch With a Printing Company
Now that you have a book design, you must contact a reputable printing company. When choosing one, make sure they have experience with the type of book you want to publish. The more years they have in business, the better quality your book will likely be.
Most printing companies will provide you with a variety of options when it comes to printing your book. Some will offer hardcover books, while others publish only softcover ones. You can even choose from different paper weights and colors. If you aren’t sure which choices are best for your work, feel free to consult with your printer.
Double-Check With Your Designer
As you’re finalizing details with the printing company you’re working with, make sure to consult with your designer as well. Confirm with them if the layout or art they’ve created for your book is compatible with the format you envision.
Fifth Step: Distribution
In theory, book distribution seems easy enough to arrange. The end goal for this step is to make your work available to as many customers as possible. However, figuring out the logistics can be pretty complicated.
Consider Online Book Distribution
Online book distribution is one of the best ways for self-published authors to get their work out there. It’s a great way for an author to test the waters and see if their book can make it in the real world. Furthermore, it’s a great way to get your book into the hands of people who might be interested in it but don’t live near a bookstore or library.
Tap Local Bookstores
Contact local bookstore owners directly and ask if they’d be interested in carrying your book. Be sure to include contact information so they can reach you by phone or email if they need more information or want to discuss terms of sale, which usually involves sharing profits. Just make sure to find stores that match your audience.
When you find a store that does accept your book, it’s important to remember that it might take some time for them to sell through their stock before they order more copies from you. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on your book’s popularity and how many copies they got in the first place.
Sixth Step: Promotion
Marketing or promotions is a step often forgotten in guides on how to self-publish a book in the USA. However, it’s just as important as the previous steps since it determines whether your book will reach its intended audience. Without proper marketing, all your hard work in writing and editing will go to waste.
Utilize Social Media
Now is the age of social media, and it would be remiss not to take advantage of its marketing potential. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provide a space for you to connect with potential readers and followers.
Start by creating accounts for your book on social media sites, including critical information such as the title, genre, synopsis, and release date. Once the page is up, start posting content and incorporating hashtags and the latest trends. You can also check the best times to post for maximum engagement.
Invest in a Website
Another platform you can utilize is a personal website since it can help you build an online presence. Additionally, it allows you to share more information about your work, providing readers a glimpse into your book.
When creating a website, prioritize navigation and visual appeal since these two significantly influence user experience. In addition, keep your website clean and organized, so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. If you don’t have experience in website development, you can utilize platforms that allow you to create a professional-looking site with minimal effort.
Work With Experts
There’s no shame in admitting that marketing isn’t your forte. If this is the case, hiring a professional marketer to assist you would be best. They can develop targeted marketing campaigns and utilize the most effective channels to reach your target audience.
Hiring experts comes at a cost, but fortunately, you have many options available. There are freelance social media marketers, marketing agencies, and publicists. You can also work with self-publishing platforms, like Omnibook Co., that offer marketing assistance to authors.
Knowing how to self-publish in the USA is the first step to achieving your publishing dreams. You can go about this endeavor alone or receive assistance from Omnibook Co.
We are the answer to your self-publishing needs, offering everything from developmental editing to book cover design. We also assist authors with marketing and distribution, so you can be sure your book will reach its intended audience. Consult with us today to learn more about our services.