How to Self Publish: A Guardian Masterclass (Guardian Shorts Book 43)
Author: Peppitt, Ed
Notes by: Jacopo Perfetti.

Chapter 1: The Self-Publishing Experience
Statistics demonstrate that readers happily spend 99p or £ 1.99 on several books, rather than £ 8.99 for a single ebook from a major publisher
2011 was a hugely significant year in the history of self - publishing: 7 self - published authors sold 1,000,000 copies or more of their ebook 27 self - published authors sold 250,000 copies or more of their ebook 165 self - published authors sold at least 50,000 copies of their ebook
Chapter 2: Evaluating Your Writing
What Does an Editor Do
including: Use of clichéd phrases and expressions Inconsistent spelling and grammar use Correct use of words and phrases Ambiguity of phrases and sentences Redundant or unnecessary words and phrases Inconsistent or poor use of headings and sub - headings Use of bold or exaggerated claims or descriptions Unattributed quotations presented as fact Use of outdated phrases or terms Checking references and web addresses Sentences that are too long Sentences that make more than one point Use of industry jargon or technical terms that the average reader would not understand Use of any text that might be considered sexist, racist or in any other way inappropriate
also help you to improve your manuscript in many other ways: Your editor will work with you to ensure that the structure of your book maximises its impact. In a novel, for example, you may have introduced a character into your plot, whom your editor believes could play a more important and convincing role if introduced much earlier in the story. If your editor believes that a chapter of the manuscript would have more impact if it appeared earlier in the text, then they will say so. If they believe that a description of a process or technique could be improved, then they will suggest to you how you might improve it. They will look for consistency in the use of character names, dates, places, abbreviations and acronyms. They will check for the correct use of quotations, references and sources. For example, that line you always quote from Alice in Wonderland ; is it in fact from Through the Looking - Glass? A good editor will make sure that your narrative makes sense in terms of dates and the passage of time. For example, does the narrative flow in a progressive order? Your editor will spot if you have presented as fact something that is merely opinion. For example, you may have written something like ‘ Recent studies have shown that … ’ Which studies? Where were they conducted? By whom? When were they published? Where? A good editor will also point out to you phrases, sentences or paragraphs that they did not fully understand. They may suggest alternative wording, or make a note in your manuscript that something needs to be discussed with you
What Does an Editor Cost
For a typical 192 - page paperback book, comprising between 50,000 and 60,000 words, you may find the following illustrations helpful: If your manuscript is complete, but requires a lot of structural work, as well as a lot of time spent improving your grammar and sentence construction, you might typically pay an experienced editor between £ 750 and £ 1250. If you have a basically sound manuscript which needs some tightening, and which could be improved in one or two areas, you can expect to pay between £ 500 and £ 750. If your manuscript has some great ideas, but frankly needs to be completely rewritten then an editor or ghostwriter would charge up to around £ 2,500 to recreate your manuscript
Summary and Conclusions If you want your book to compete effectively against similar books published by mainstream publishers then you will need to find and work closely with an experienced editor. Choose an editor with experience of books written for a similar audience to yours. The relationship between author and editor is a personal one, so choose an editor who you get on with really well. An editor will help you to tighten the structure of your manuscript, as well as to improve your use of grammar and English. An experienced editor will ensure that the completed, edited manuscript will still carry your ‘ voice ’. Having your manuscript assessed professionally may provide you with encouragement, but can also be a chastening experience. Working with an editorial agency is a viable alternative to finding your own freelance editor, and also offers several advantages
Chapter 3: The Seven Steps to Successful Self - Publishing
Step 1: Preparing Your Manuscript Step 2: Registering your publishing details and applying for your ISBNs Step 3: Editing your manuscript Step 4: Designing your book cover Step 5: Proofreading your edited manuscript ( Printed Books ) Step 6: Typesetting your manuscript Step 7: Printing your book ( Ebooks ) Step 6: Converting your book into the popular ebook file formats Step 7: Uploading and publishing your book to the main retailer platforms
Lulu and Authorhouse
if you plan to use their services then you will not need to register yourself as a publisher, nor will you need to apply for an ISBN or barcode for your book
The same is true for publishing an ebook with services such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing or Kobo’s Writing Life. In these instances, Amazon and Kobo are acting as your publisher and you give all your book information directly to them. You don’t need to register yourself, your book or your ISBNs separately
Although the Kindle store, operated by Amazon, will list and sell your book without an ISBN, other ebook retailers, such as Apple’s iBookstore, will not
The UK ISBN Agency is run by Nielsen, who are responsible for assigning ISBN Publisher Prefixes to publishers based in the UK or Republic of Ireland. Their website is at From this page, click on ‘ Services for New Publishers ’ and you will find the form to download and complete
How much ISBNs cost Unfortunately, the ISBN agency will not sell you a single ISBN. The minimum quantity is a set of ten ISBN numbers, which currently cost around £ 120 including VAT. If you are feeling brave you can buy 100 ISBN numbers for around £ 258 including VAT
You can even upload a picture of your book, which is the thumbnail picture that will appear in the Amazon book listings. Enter as much detail as you can: Full title Sub - title Author Illustrator Extent ( number of pages ) Format ( paperback / hardback ) Price Short description Long description Author biography Picture
Nowadays, most of us make a judgement about the appeal of a book from a tiny thumbnail image of its front cover on a website. This is so important to grasp, because a good cover design today depends on its appeal and readability when viewed at such a small size and resolution
a few tips to help you create an effective book cover
Make sure that your title ( and sub - title if you have one ) is legible from a distance, even when viewed as a thumbnail image on your computer. Keep your design simple. A clear and unambiguous design will always be more effective for self - published authors than a complex and subtle one. Remember that if you are planning an ebook only to start with then you only need a front cover image
The web pages of many online booksellers have a white background. So avoid a book cover with a predominantly white background as it will ‘ disappear ’ on the page
Whether online or in a bookshop, vast numbers of readers choose and buy books on impulse. Your cover can make or break your book, so it is worth spending time and money on it
What should you book cover include
( photograph ; picture ; illustration ; abstract graphic
title of the book The sub - title of the book ( if it has one ) The author name A brief quote, endorsement or testimonial ( optional, but very powerful
back cover
Some descriptive and compelling sales copy. Imagine someone has picked up your book and is considering whether or not to buy it. You have around 200 words to convince them that your book is for them. What would you say
brief author biography
publisher details
sub - title
publisher name or logo
Step 5: Proofreading
Editing and proofreading are two distinct disciplines, and it is not the responsibility of your editor to spot every typing error ( although they may well have corrected many of them along the way
No matter how closely you check your edited manuscript, you will not spot every typo or spelling mistake. You are too closely involved
So you should get someone to proofread it for you, ideally an experienced proofreader
experienced proofreader will: Correct spelling mistakes. Spot and correct typos, odd spacing and other issues with type. Draw your attention to any grammatical anomalies not picked up by your editor. Identify inconsistent use of captions, headings and sub - headings
£ 25 an hour, and a manuscript comprising 50,000 to 60,000 words will take around 8 – 10 hours to proof. In other words, you should allow approximately £ 250 to have your manuscript proofed professionally
Chapter 4: Creating and Publishing your Ebook
books that comprise mainly text, like novels, work best
colour, illustrated and picture books just do not make good ebooks for the majority of current reading devices
Indents Using tabs and spaces to indent and align text does not work well when you come to create your ebook. Instead, you should be able to set a ‘ first line ’ indent that will indent the first line of every paragraph in your manuscript automatically .
New chapters You should use a page break at the end of each chapter of your manuscript. This will ensure that new chapters start at the top of a page when viewed on an ebook reader. Your chapter titles should be set to ‘ Heading 1 ’ with your paragraph formatting
If your book contains pictures or images, make sure that they are in JPEG ( or. jpg ) format
chart or diagram
save them as picture files ( as JPEGs
there is no place for headers or footers in ebooks
try to avoid using bulleted or numbered lists
ebook readers do not recognise tables or columns, and text formatted using them is treated as if they were not there
Use a standard 11 or 12 point Arial or Times typeface throughout, because this is how it will be displayed on an ebook reader once it is converted
you will need to make your ebook available in each of the principal file formats in order to reach the widest possible audience
three main ebook file formats
concentrate on two of them
EPUB has been adopted by virtually all the ebook hardware manufacturers and ebook publishers, it has not been adopted by the most popular ebook retailer of all, Amazon’s Kindle store
own ebook software, Mobipocket, and then using it to develop their own proprietary Mobi file format
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing ( KDP ) provides several tools to create your Mobi file, or to convert to it from another ebook format
turn a Word document into an EPUB file ready for publishing, are
many resources
EPUB Straight to the Point by Elizabeth Castro ( Peachpit Press, 2011 ). Ebook Formatting Kit by Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott ( ebook plus online video tutorials available from )
serious advantage over its competitor: the ability to export a document straight to the EPUB file format
four tools
If you want to use Calibre to create your first ebook from your word - processed manuscript, then you will need to save it first as an html file, a Rich Text file ( rtf ) or a plan text file (
You can download Calibre at www.calibre - .
is currently the most usable EPUB editor available. You can find out more about Sigil, as well as download the latest version, at http: / / / p / sigil / .
Scrivener Scrivener is a powerful content - generation tool for writers. Imagine the combination of a word processor, a simple note taking tool and a book writing project management system in a single application and you have Scrivener
single user license costs $ 45, and you can download Scrivener at / scrivener.php .
Option 2: Using a Third - Party Distributor to Publish and Distribute Your Ebook
Preparing, uploading and converting your book into all the major ebook formats is free with Smashwords, and they will also supply you with a free ISBN
charging authors a small percentage ( around 15 % ) of the net receipts from sales of your book
book listed on most of the major ebookselling websites, including the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble’s ebookstore, the Sony bookstore, Kobo and many others
unable to upload and publish your book to Kindle automatically. However, you can take the Mobi file that you need and publish it on the Kindle store yourself using Kindle’s
BookBaby BookBaby differs from Smashwords in one key respect. They will charge you for uploading, converting and distributing your book in all the popular ebook file formats. There is a $ 99 upfront fee, followed by an annual fee of $ 19 per title that you register with BookBaby
They distribute to the biggest ebook retailers in the world, including Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, and ebookPie. And remember
BookBaby forwards 100 % of net sales back to their authors
Booktango’s service is free, and they will also pay you 100 % of your royalties from sales through their own bookstore, and 100 % of the net receipts from sales through the various ebook distributors. They do offer additional, premium services and upgrades if you need them, but there are no charges for their basic service .
Option 3: Outsourcing the Conversion of Your Ebook
An IT student in the Far East might charge as little as $ 50, whilst a company from the UK or US might want $
Creating Illustrated, Colour - Rich Ebooks
iBooks Author iBooks Author is free software from Apple that allows you to build interactive, graphics - rich ebooks that you can upload and sell in the iBookstore and view in the iBooks 2 app on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch
You will need your own ISBN in order to publish your book
only make your book available for Apple products
Book Creator Book Creator is an iPad application that makes designing and publishing colourful, illustrated books absurdly simple
Uploading and Publishing Your Ebook Manually
There are literally hundreds of ebook sellers on the internet, but currently there are four from which most of your sales will come: Amazon’s Kindle store Apple’s iBookstore
The Kobo bookstore Barnes and Noble’s PubIt
The Kindle Store
upload your manuscript, enter some compelling sales copy and a price, and your book is published
they offer a free previewing tool called Kindle Previewer. This software emulates how books will look on each of the various incarnations of Kindle devices and applications
Kindle will accept and convert your manuscript from a variety of file formats, including: Word (. doc or. docx ) HTML (. zip ,. htm, or. html ) Mobipocket (. mobi or .
ePub (. epub ) Plain Text (
for experienced users, that will create a book that is guaranteed to work on all Kindle devices and apps. Called KindleGen, it is not nearly as intuitive to use as their consumer publishing tool, but it may suit you if you are an advanced IT user. You can download it at http: / / / gp / feature.html? ie = UTF8 & docId = 1000765211 .
Apple’s iBookstore
quite a complicated
Before you start, there are several separate steps that you need to take
Apple ID
You will need your own ISBN
You will need your own unique US Tax ID. Even if you are a UK resident, you will still need this
get a US Tax ID from the US tax authorities ( IRS ) with a simple phone call or fax
complete an application form that ensures that you will not need to pay US tax at source
You will need your ebook available in the EPUB file format
The Kobo Bookstore
need to set up a free Kobo Writing Life account, which you can do online at
Barnes and Noble’s PubIt store At the time of writing, PubIt is currently for US publishers only. In order to publish your book using PubIt you must have a US Bank Account, a US Credit Card and a US Tax ID
Digital Rights Management, or DRM as it is often referred to, is the process by which publishers can protect their published work from being copied or distributed illegally
You will need to convert your ebook into the three popular ebook file formats (EPUB, Mobi and PDF)
Chapter 5: The Economics of Self-Publishing
The prices and estimates that follow relate to typical 50,000 word manuscript. As a rule of thumb, you should allow
Editing ( anything between £ 350 and £ 1,250 depending on the work required
Designing your cover – anything between £ 50 ( mate’s rate ) to £ 750 ( a really professional cover
Proofreading – 8 to 10 hours @ £ 25 per hour. Allow £ 250. Applying for your ISBNs – approx £
£ 1,000 represents a realistic investment if you want your book to stand tall alongside the very best published competition
99p represents an impulse purchase, just like the special offers that you see in a supermarket just before you reach the checkout
low price ebooks work for two reasons: They seem great value when compared to mainstream published books on a similar topic, or for the same readership. They encourage impulse, or throwaway sales
Charge between £ 2.99 and £ 5.99 for your ebook, and your potential reader’s assumption is that this is a quality product priced accordingly
fewer sales overall, but you will make a better margin, or profit, on each sale
The Kindle store, for example, will pay you just a 30 % royalty on your sales if you charge £ 1.49 or less for your book. Charge £ 1.50 and above, and you will earn a 70 % royalty. Other retailers adopt a similar policy
Charge £ 1.40 for your book, and you will earn just 42p for each book sold. Charge £ 1.60, and you will earn £
Publishing ebooks is not a realistic ‘ get rich quick ’ scheme
statistic is that most self - published authors sell fewer than 300 copies of their book
7 self - published authors sold 1,000,000 copies or more of their ebook in 2011 27 self - published authors sold 250,000 copies or more of their ebook in 2011 165 self - published authors sold at least 50,000 copies of their ebook in 2011
Chapter 6: Using a Self-Publishing Company to Publish your Printed Book
Lulu: Lulu is one of the largest and longest standing self - publishing companies. They offer several publishing packages, at a range of price points for authors with varying budgets
‘ Laureate ’ package is probably the one you should opt for. At the time of writing ( September 2012 ), the price of this package is £
Authorhouse Authorhouse are another of the major self - publishing players in the marketplace. They offer several publishing packages starting from as low as £
Createspace is Amazon’s own service
Chapter 7: Marketing and Publicity
many self-published authors tend to find out too late that publishing their book is the easy leg of the journey. The hard work starts when you begin to promote and sell it
Getting reviews: Book reviews have always been important to authors, but never more so than today
So make a list of every newspaper, journal, trade magazine, newsletter, interest group or community website that might just agree to review your book
You can also ask friends, business colleagues and family for a review
Building a mailing list of potential readers
Smart business people build their prospect list by offering something for free ( an audio interview ; a video ; a report ; a PDF ; an ebook ) in return for a name and an email address
chapter of your book? A short story involving the same principal characters as your book? Some additional poems that didn’t make it into the final book
tips booklet for people interested in the same subject that your book is about? A recording of the interview about your book with a local radio station
Send out complimentary copies of your book
sending a few copies out to your library, local reading clubs or your regional hospital? Anywhere, in fact, where readers meet and talk about books they have read and enjoyed
Quotes, endorsements and testimonials
How did he persuade so many notable writers to contribute their endorsement? Wait for it … he asked them
He simply emailed or posted a copy of his manuscript, and asked each person in turn if they would kindly write a few comments on
So make a list now of the best known and influential people in your field. Who could you ask for an endorsement? Resolve now to contact each one in turn and start to build your bank of quotes, endorsements and testimonials
Look out for speaking opportunities
Putting together your marketing collateral As a self - published author you should be ready to take advantage of every marketing or promotional opportunity that presents itself
Your author biography – journals, magazines, newspapers and people offering you speaking engagements will often ask you for a biography, and so you should have this ready and prepared. A brief summary of what your book is about – you should be able to sum up your book, and explain who it is written for in about 250 words. Quotes and testimonials – every time someone sends you a quote, endorsement or testimonial, save it into your book marketing folder. It is far easier than searching through your email inbox trying to find them when you come to need them. Images of your book – you will often be asked for a picture of your front cover
Links to websites – make a single document which lists all of the web pages that you might need to refer to quickly
Your author website
Book launches A launch party, or other event, to celebrate the publication of your book can mark both the culmination of your self - publishing journey, as well as the start of your promotional and marketing one
An effective social media strategy
the four that you should consider having a presence on are: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Pinterest
1. Get blogging
2. Bring your characters or content to life If you are a fiction author then you can use Facebook and Twitter to bring the characters of your book to life
3. Make your own video trailer for your book
Engaging with Goodreads ( ) Goodreads is an online forum where readers review, recommend and buy books
They run a free programme for authors that will enable you to: Get your book listed ( if it is not already in their database ) Create an author profile page Share excerpts and chapters with potential readers Publicise book signings, launches and other promotion events Post videos about you or your book List a book giveaway to generate pre - launch interest in your book Advertise your book ( at additional cost
Share what you are reading with other readers
Join the Amazon Advantage programme. If you want your book’s presence on Amazon to be on an equal footing with mainstream published books then you need to join the Amazon Advantage Programme. In return for a £ 23.50 annual fee, and agreeing to supply Amazon at a 60 % discount, Amazon
will guarantee to keep your book in stock all the time. This availability status alone will help your book to sell
Make use of your book page’s title, sub - title and description. An Amazon book page provides lots of information about a book, including a description, author biography, title and sub - title, reviews and other information
Sign up to Search Inside. You may have noticed that some book cover images on Amazon have a small caption that reads
‘ click here to search inside ’. When customers click on this they are able to read and review sample content from the book on screen
Make use of your Amazon author page. If your book or books are available on Amazon then you are entitled to create a free author profile page, where all your books will be listed together
Get as many honest reviews on Amazon as you can
No matter how good your book is, if your book page displays 30 five - star reviews, with no reviews scoring between one and four stars, then potential readers will treat them with suspicion. No book satisfies every reader
Start work on your tags. Halfway down your Amazon book page you will see a set of tags that have been associated with your book
You can add tags yourself, as can your readers
Sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate programme
As an affiliate you can earn up to 8 % commission for any sales that you drive to Amazon. Many self - published authors use this to offset the 60 % discount that they have had to give Amazon in the first place