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Cheat Sheet

Self-Publishing For Dummies

From Self-Publishing For Dummies by Jason R. Rich

Turning a great idea into a book through self-publishing is an ambitious project, so be sure to understand the principal steps involved in the process. If you need help with certain aspects of self-publishing, learn how to interview and hire a freelancer to make sure things are done efficiently and correctly.

The Major Steps in the Self-Publishing Process

If you have a great idea for a book and good writing skills, you can have a book professionally published and made available to the general public. The process is called self-publishing and it’s an involved project. The following are the major steps involved with the self-publishing process. The type of book, your time and financial commitment, and the publishing process used will affect the order and time it takes for to you complete these main steps:

  • Develop an awesome book idea.

  • Research the idea to make sure that it’s viable as a full-length book.

  • Define your target audience.

  • Create a detailed outline for the book’s content.

  • Research the book’s potential content.

  • Write the manuscript.

  • Establish your publishing company (if applicable).

  • Have the manuscript edited.

  • Choose a self-publishing option, such as offset printing or Print-On-Demand (POD), and then hire a printer and/or publisher.

  • Apply for an ISBN, copyright, and other book-specific information, if necessary (this step may be handled for you, depending on the publishing process you choose and the company you work with).

  • Set the cover price for your book.

  • Select a publication date.

  • Have the manuscript’s interior pages designed and laid out.

  • Hire a graphic designer to create your book’s front and back covers.

  • Develop press materials for your book.

  • Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign.

  • Develop a Web site to promote your book.

  • Begin pre-selling your book (pre-selling includes sending out press materials, promoting the book to distributors, lining up booksellers to sell the book, taking out ads, and so on).

  • Have your book listed with online retailers.

  • Publish the book and ship it to consumers, booksellers, retailers, and distributors (as appropriate).

  • Continue promoting and marketing your book as you take orders.

Hiring Freelancers for Your Self-Publishing Project

You may not have the time or knowledge to cover all aspects of self-publishing a book, so interviewing and hiring a freelancer is a great option for ensuring that each step of the self-publishing process is handled correctly. Some freelancers you may need to hire include a ghostwriter, an editor, a graphic designer for layout and/or cover design, a proofreader, salespeople, a public relations/advertising specialist, and a Web site designer. Ask the following questions when interviewing the freelancers to ensure they have experience working on book projects similar to yours:

  • What previous experience do you have?

  • Have you worked on similar book projects in the past?

  • What are your fees? How do you want to be paid (by the hour or at a pre-defined set rate)?

  • Can you complete the necessary work in a timely manner (based on the author’s publication schedule)?

  • Can you provide samples of your previous work or list projects you’ve worked on in the past and provide references?

Here are some additional tips for hiring qualified freelancers:

  • Make sure that the freelancer understands your book’s target audience and knows how to reach them appropriately.

  • Review education, training, and past work experience.

  • Check references.

  • Review the freelancer’s portfolio of work.

  • Negotiate the price or fees in advance. Payment can be based on a flat fee or by the hour. Get a written estimate from the freelancer about the time commitment necessary.

  • Ensure that the freelancer has time in his schedule to work on your project that matches your time frame.

  • Determine if you can work with the people you hire. Freelancers shouldn’t compromise your creative vision, so from a creative and personality standpoint, try to pick people you can mesh with.

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