How to self-publish your book
Written by
Christa Elrod
October 2016
Written by
Christa Elrod
October 2016

Most writers are initially concerned only about writing, copyediting and proofreading. They never give a thought on how to publish their work.  Getting publishers is not that easy, especially if you are not an established writer. The best option in such a scenario is to self-publish. If you are wondering how to self-publish your book, there are several things to be considered before actually publishing.

Designing and formatting are the basic things. Design is not merely about the book cover design but also typography and page layout etc. Formatting requirements can become more confusing and complicated depending on the platform you prefer. So, be careful about the said.

Selecting the book format

One of the major upsides of self-publishing is the control you get over every detail. The same can be considered as a pitfall also as the entire decisions have to be made from your end. There will not be any guidance as in case of publishing with an experienced publishing house. Let us scrutinize the two major formats in which you can make your book go live

Print formats

Your book may be in hardcover or paper back and the size can vary a lot. When it comes to fiction, mass market books are most common. They come in a single standard size. Trade paperbacks exhibit higher quality and these paperbacks arrive in multiple sizes. Nooks of non-fiction genre are normally trade paperbacks. Works and manuals most of the times come as spiral bound and they are relatively larger. In case of art and photography related books, there is no particular size to be adhered to.

EBook formats

Rather than the size or quality, eBooks emphasise more on the file types. PDF, EPUB and eBook MOBI format are the most common and preferred formats. PDF files normally have a page size of 11 x 8.5 inches. However, you can do the needed adjustments to the size. These are fixed and the documents created in this format look precisely the same over all devices. EPUB is open source standard and you can use it on almost all devices. It is flowable and flexible; EPUB changes and appear different based on the settings and device. MOBI is almost similar to EPUB but it’s exclusive for Kindles. A professional company offering eBook conversion services can avail guidance if you need.

There is no strict and standard book format for you. The decision regarding the selection of format should be based on your exact requirements. You should analyse the book type and the way you intend to distribute it. Distributers often have specific demands regarding the file type. However, they will convert the book automatically into different formats thus allowing the readers to select based on their preferences. Print publishers in fact impose more restrictions in regard of the sizes and formats. The size as well as format affect your overall pricing. 

The process of formatting

Formatting your book for self-publishing is not something confined only to the front cover. Inside pages are equally important. A properly formatted book is crucial to assure that the focus stays on words alone without making the readers get distracted. Relying completely on Microsoft Word is unwise to do as some random formatting and codes are added; these consume a lot of time to be removed. There are many websites for self-publishing that provide free templates. Else you can go for plain text files which can be later formatted using any of the dedicated tools for book publishing. 

Different tools for formatting includes Calibre, Scrivener, LeanPub, PressBooks, Apple iBooks Author,, Sigil, Apple Pages and Book Creator etc.

Platforms for self-publishing

There are a lot of platforms that can help you when you plan to self-publishing. Some of the most popular platforms among the said are CreateSpace by Amazon, Kobo, Blurb, Draft2Digital, Lulu and Smashwords. Each of these platforms have their own specific formatting requirements.

With the above details, you can confidently proceed towards self-publishing your book without depending on an eBook conversion company. 

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