How to Self-Publish A Book

Read this to understand why I didn't use Ingram:

As a self-published author, I feel confident that this is a topic that I can fluently write about. I began my search for a self-publishing platform about a year ago when I was 16. I started at Ingram Spark, where my attempts were met with constant dissatisfaction and failure. Now, as much as I disliked Ingram and their misleading 24 hour contact server, I am not in any way {maybe a little} telling you to not use them. My issues pertained to poor file conversion quality, cover issues, ISBN issues, foreign language issues, and retailing prices. The process was unpleasant and took me three months! It took me about five months to publish my mind. Keep in mind I just compiled a collection of poetry I have written over the course of four years that were on hundreds upon hundreds of loose leaf paper, and a mirror {how?).

Back to Ingram, the issues were that, in my humble opinion, their system was too old and was therefore unable to accept modernized approaches. Like they say, 'Modern problems require modern solutions', I approached the Internet as my greatest consultant. I finally discovered Kindle Direct Publishing {KDP}, and was greatly surprised by how well the software worked. The platform was 1000x easier to navigate than Ingram and more efficient. Within 35 minutes, I officially published my book. The only step that took the longest was the payment process; lining your KDP account with your bank. Also, do note that KDP is connected to Amazon, where all of your books will be published and sold. So, wrapping up this little story, I'll give you the break down.

1. Where to Publish Your Book ~ KDP

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few choices, and I mean very few, where you can self-publish your book successfully. Many other articles I read about this subject give me tooo many options and I do not feel like researching15+ platforms and then go through hours of trial and error to see what works. Rather, I stick with one or two, read reviews, and go by other's experience. Some might call it lazy I call it 'spontaneous laziness {whoo glitter and sparkles this is luxurious}. Now, you lucky person who would like to publish your book is saved hours and let' say about three months of soul searching and frustration. You should be happy.

Moral of the story: Save yourself money and time and use KDP.

2. File Formatting and Conversions ~ Fiverr

Now before you think I'm hosting a KDP cult {is it that obvious?} I want you to know that KDP worked great for me and you might have different luck. However, I still encourage you to try it. Now, the "fun" part: file formatting. So, to explain it simply, you need the right size ring to fit that finger. In this sense, KDP has certain file submission requirements that must be met in order to publish your book. If you are able to convert your content file into a pdf and your cover into a jpeg, then you're set and do not need to pay people to convert your files. However, unless you need your book designed and are unable to do that, then your expenses will vary. If you do not want to use Fiverr for your conversions, look up word file to pdf converter, there are many. The only issue I had, was that the quality was not the best and some of my unique fonts were changed as well as blurred. Also, if your book is like mine and includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hebrew, Ingram Spark will not accept them and other file converter sites will be unable to read and identify the characters, replacing them with empty blocks and or question marks.

The point: Use Fiverr for File Conversions

3. Cover Book Design ~ Canva/ Fiverr

I created my cover on Canva for 100% FREE {don't you just love free things?}. However, the complete cover design FOR ME was around $20 {this price may vary}. There are some people who are just really really really lucky and tech savvy and they have no issues converting their files into jpeg files that meet the submission requirements in KDP {yea, that person is not me}. So, I sourced help from no other than Fiverr. I highly recommend this platform if you are technologically challenged. Instead of looking up "Person to convert File", which is a little too generic, I simply went with "Book Cover Design Artists", they have to send you the e-version of your file anyway so its not an issue. Some people charge under $10, however, some people don't reply in time and I had a set deadline. So I went with the first guy who responded, a great choice by the way. I was overjoyed that he could help me and I even overpaid him. He was so kind and understanding, honestly, he deserved it. Disclaimer: choosing whether you want your book to be

a hard or soft cover changes the price. KDP gives you the option of a hard cover, which is more expensive than a soft cover. I recommend, due to my painful experience watching the corners of my books fold up, that a hard cover is a better choice.

Real quick tip: Make an account on Canva if you don't have one already, you can use them to make book marks and business cards, as well a s a variety of other products. Also, don't hesitate to make a quick on Fiverr, if you have a business, this is a great place to showcase it an your personal skills. You can work virtually, who doesn't love that?

Tools: Canva and Fiverr and order a Hard Cover

4. Considering the Costs of Your Book ~ Profit

Due to my very extensive and very professional experience with trial and error in the self-publishing industry, I know what I'm talking about. That's a joke, if you want it to be. I noticed that most self-publishing platforms will offer large lists enabling you to choose your book price in your host country and foreign countries. Due to tax and shipping rates, the price of your book can increase and decrease. For example, your book that is $4.50 in the USA would be $6.50 in Canada and vice versa. I'm sure you want to profit off of your book, so be sure to set a price that will cover the cost of making at least 3 more books and over $5 profit. For example, my book was $4.15 to make. So with KDP, when you order author copies before you release your book into the world, you only pay $4.15 as opposed to the market price, which I set for $14.78. If I only sold one of my books, I would be able to send in an order for three new ones, generating a net total of $44.34. With that money alone, I could make about 10 copies of my book.

Keep in mind, I bought hard copies and sold them in person, whereas if I only sell my books on Amazon, I only earn about $5, which is only enough to make one book. If I could go back in time, I would increase the price of my 278 page book to $16.25. I could then make 4 books and $65 in revenue. However, I am using the income from my book to fund other ventures, so this "profit" I'm talking about is the money left over from buying perhaps 10 or more of my books to sell in person.

5. Final Physical Book Proofing ~Author Copy

Shoutout to KDP for enabling you to change the contents of your book! You cannot change your name, title, ISBN, or price after your book has been officially published, but if you would like to edit or improve certain parts, KDP allows you to do that! It takes a little less than a day for the change to be approved by the KDP Team and they will send you a nice email informing you of the approval. I'll be honest, I sold 20+ copies of my book with terrible errors. I actually had some of my buyers tell me they noticed errors in my book, which I read thoroughly ONLINE, NOT A PHYSICAL COPY. My advice: Order a cheap author copy of your book and review it before you tell people you published a book. This will prevent embarrassing mistakes that will cause you to look like an incompetent fool, such as I. Luckily, KDP has the amazing flexibility of being able to edit the contents of your book and republish, otherwise, I would have been mortified for years to come.

To do: Order an Author Copy

6. Where You Want to Sell Your Book

In the next article, I will cover how and where to sell and or distribute your book; in libraries, book stores, local businesses. As of now, I can say that selling your book in person enables you to earn more income than selling online. Consider planning an author signing where you can sell your book and sign purchased copies. Get to know your audience and the reader; its a great opportunity for feedback and criticism. Don't be afraid to reach out to local books stores in your area and talk to them about special events they have and if you can sell your book in their store through and online review and submissions on their website. For example, a bookstore near where I live does not sell books from KDP, which is one of the only downsides of working with them. Rather, that bookstore typically approves and sell books that have been published by Ingram Spark. However, other books stores will be different so do not be discouraged.

I hope these 6 resources will help you publish your book!

If you have any questions, leave a comment and or text the chat!

Please check out my next article: "How to Write a Book"

Have a great day!

~ Serenaty Lumpkin