Writing a book can be a tedious task. But one question that I get asked most often by others who are interested in self-publishing a book is, what are the next steps?
After completing a manuscript, you will have to decide whether or not you want to copyright your work prior to moving forward with working with others for tasks such as editing, illustrating, translating etc. Now according to Writers Digest, you don't need to copyright your work once you have committed it to paper.
Your work automatically becomes protected under the copyright law, however if you want greater power to litigate and collect damages should someone steal your work, then it would be wise to pay $45 (single author copyright) and register your work with https://copyright.gov/. It is a fairly simplistic process, in which I did myself, that will provide piece of mind that should someone try to claim your work as their own, you have documented/registered proof stating otherwise.
Okay, so after you actually write the book and decide to copyright (or not), it is important that you have your work edited professionally. There are sites that you can use to assist you with finding editors. I know you are thinking; you can always just edit it yourself but it's imperative to have it looked at by eyes other than your own. I learned this the hard way. While working on one of my first books, DLee's Color Hunt, I was sure that I had edited my story to the point of perfection. I mean I did review it probably hundreds of times and had it looked at by several family members. I didn't see any issues with it and nor did they. Therefore, I went ahead and published it and ordered myself copies without purchasing an author copy first (because I was sure it was perfect). When I received my books, I was so excited! It was such an amazing feeling to see my book officially come to life. I opened the book and started to look through it. And as I am turning through the pages, I noticed that I overlooked something. Something so ridiculous, I couldn't believe it...on one page I was missing a period! I was so upset and dumbfounded that of all things, I missed a period. But that's the thing, when it's your work, you can easily overlook the tiniest things. Therefore, do get yourself someone professional to review your work prior to publishing. You can use sites like www.fiverr.com or www.upwork.com. Remember your name is tied to this work and you only want to put out the best version of it especially if you want to be taken seriously as a writer and professional.
Also if you are writing a children's book like I did, then you will need someone to illustrate your work (if you aren't doing it yourself). I fortunately found a friend of my sister-in-laws to assist me in creating what I call DLee's World magic, but using the sites I mentioned above, you can totally find someone worthy of working on your book with you. If you are working with someone, you will want to ensure that you are: A. Maintaining All Rights to the work or B. Willing to share those rights. I made sure to mention that I wanted to maintain all the rights to the work created, thus I had a signed Work For Hire agreement drawn up to have it officially documented. For something like this, you can use sites like www.rocketlawyer.com. I also found a template that may be helpful, which can be edited and customized to fit your needs: https://www.jotform.com/pdf-editor/new/2093253603361048.
Now once you have written, edited and illustrated your book, it is time to think about how you will go about independently publishing. For the DLee's World series, I use Amazon KDP and IngramSpark. I like using Amazon KDP because it is simple to use. Did I mention, it is free?! So if you are on a budget, this may be a great option for you. Ingram is a little more complicated however you will have options of printing Hardcover books which Amazon KDP does not offer. Ingram does charge a fee to publish. The prices are as follows: Print and Ebook- $49, Print Book Only- $49, and/or eBook Only- $25. Fortunately, sometimes you can google search Ingram Spark Coupon codes and you may end up finding a code that makes your upload free or a discounted cost. Although IngramSpark may costs money to publish, one of the big benefits of using them is that bookstores and other brick-and-mortar retailers are already used to buying books from Ingram (the distribution channel) as a part of their regular purchasing process. Hence, your books will be visible to larger book retailers and libraries.
Here is a link to a simple coupon code search I did for IngramSpark: https://couponlawn.com/store-coupons/ingramspark-promo-codes/158665/
Finger's crossed that one of them works!
Finally, after selecting the platform or platforms that you will use to publish, the site you select will give you the step by step process. Through either website you will have to think about such things as book size, cover finish (matte or glossy), etc. The process can be tedious the first time around but don't give up! If I can do it, with no prior knowledge to this, so can you. With help from your illustrator, you will eventually get all the specs correct. Additionally, there will be a digitial way you can view the work prior to submitting along with an option to order an author copy to review before fully publishing.
One more thing, if you are planning on publishing a book, you will need an ISBN for each imprint or version of the book (Paperback or Hardcover, Bilingual versus English etc). An ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies your book. You need an ISBN if you want your book to be available for sale in bookstores or with an online retailer or wholesaler. If you are going to be publishing multiple books you may want to consider purchasing ISBN's through Bowker Identifier Services. Although both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark do provide you with an option to use a Free ISBN provided through them, there are stipulations to using their ISBN's versus buying your own. If you use a free ISBN with Amazon or IngramSpark, your publisher imprint will not be associated with your book—it will hold Amazon KDP or Ingram Spark’s imprint, Indy Pub. It may also limit where you can print and distribute your own title. So just be sure to look into this some more prior to publishing.
Here are some links for frequently asked questions about Free ISBN's from both sites:
I truly hope that this post is helpful and best of luck on your author journey!
For more information about the DLee's World Book Series, please visit www.dleesworld.com.