10 Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book

By Jennifer Thompson


May 22, 2020

So, you’ve decided to write a book! Congratulations!

10 Steps to Self-Publishing your book

Photo by Aaron-Burden

There are three publishing platforms available. The traditional route, the self-publishing way, or the hybrid path. Penguin Random House, Simon, and Shuster and MacMillan are examples of traditional publishing houses.

 The book publishing market is competitive. If this is your first book, it will be challenging to get a book contract with one of these big publishing houses. Unless you have a compelling story! If you do want to go through the traditional route, you will need a literary agent.
A literary agent will pitch your novel to publishers that deal with books of your genre. It saves you the time of having to do that kind of research on your own. It does not mean they will look at it. It means that they accept books of a similar kind as yours.

Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, and More

If a traditional publishing company decides to publish your book, they will do the editing, designing the cover, marketing, and distributing your book.


With a traditional publisher, a percentage of your sales goes to your agent, and a part goes to the publisher. What that amount is will depend on your contract. Well-known authors get advances on their books. It is rare for new authors to get lucrative advances unless they have a great story, 


The next route that has grown in popularity over the last ten years is the self-publishing option. Within the self-publishing domain, Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing is currently the largest. Lulu.com is another popular name.

It costs nothing to publish on either of these platforms. You decide on what you would like to sell your book for, and these platforms keep about 30% to 70% from the sale of each book.


Finally, there is a hybrid option where you pay the publisher to publish your book. 

These publishers offer editing and formatting and even the marketing of your book. Depending on the package you select, it will cost you anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 for this. But you get to keep all the revenue from the sale of your book.

Acorn Publishing is a big name on this platform.

This article focuses on the 10 Steps for Self-Publishing

Decide under what category your book falls

10 Steps to Self-Publishing

Photo by Cody-Board

Within fiction and non-fiction are a whole range of categories

Within fiction, you may have romance, thriller, sci-fi, etc.

Within the non-fiction, there are many options—business and finance, travel, self-help, health, wellness, etc.

Knowing your book category will be helping when it comes to marketing your book.

When I published my book on women and money, I selected for the category of self-improvement first before business and personal finance only because my approach in the book was really one of self-improvement through personal finance. Women are not singularly focused when it comes to the topic of money.


Set yourself apart

Do your research on what’s already out there. Decide on your unique approach. You’re the expert.

Be clear about the message you want the reader to receive. A novel approach to a popular topic will help your book stand out.



Write your book

10 Steps to Self-Publishing

Photo by Toa-Heftiba


How serious are you about writing your book? Writing requires discipline.

How much time are you willing to put aside each day towards completing your book.

If you have a full-time job, are you able to take time off from work to focus on your writing? 

Give yourself a realistic deadline on when you believe you’ll complete the first draft of your book.

Kelly Notaras’  book, “The Book You Were Born to Write: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom onto the Page and Into the World” provides both inspiration and practical ideas on getting your book completed.





Have your book edited by a professional editor

10 Steps to Self-Publishing Compelling 365 J

Photo by Christina-Wocintechat


Once you have completed a few edits of your book, you must send it to a professional editor. It can be costly to get your book edited by a professional editor, depending on the number of words.

No matter how many times you may have edited your book, it is still a good idea to send it to a professional book editor.

I believe this is a “non-negotiable”  step.

Format your book

10 Steps to Self-Publishing

Photo by Daria-Nepriakhina

Do all our work on Microsoft Word. Make sure the size of your Word document or PDF file fits with the dimensions offered on Amazon Kindle and Lulu.

Trim Size. Your trim size refers to your book’s dimensions. You can choose from a variety of standard trim sizes from 5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm) to 8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm).

The most common trim size for paperbacks in the U.S. is 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm). When setting up your book, this is the default in the “Print Options” section of the Paperback Content tab. You can also customize your trim size if that is what you prefer.

Upload a manuscript of your book interior content. For best results, use a formatted PDF file to create your paperback. Do not forget gutters.

Your book will need an ISBN No. You can choose either a free ISBN assigned by Amazon or attain one from your jurisdiction.

Create Your Book Cover


10 Steps to Self Publishing

Photo by Josh-Felise


Unless you are a graphic designer, I would suggest you hire a professional cover designer. Your book cover is the first thing a reader sees. It should be enticing. Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing provides a Cover Creator tool online. It is an inexpensive option.



Open an account with Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing or Lulu or both.

10 Steps to Self-Publishing

Photo by Andrew-Neel

Create an account with Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing or Lulu or both. It costs nothing to open an account with either one. When it comes to publishing rights, there are two options. Copyrighted or public domain.

In Canada, you can register your work at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. In the U.S. you can register your work at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Upload your manuscript and get a free ISBN 

Both of these platforms offer step by step instructions on how to upload your manuscript. They provide a preview of your entire document with the cover. Error messages will pop up if you have made any mistakes on trim and cover size or gutter spacing.

Order a proof copy and approve it for distribution

Photo by Thought-Catalog

Once you have corrected any error mistakes, your book is ready for approval for publication. If you need to have an actual copy of the book in your hands before approving publication then you can order an actual copy of it.

If viewing the preview of the book online is good enough for you then you can approve publication right away.

Some people prefer looking at a hard copy of the book before it’s approved for publishing.

Once you’ve clicked the ‘approval’ button, it may take up to 72 hours before your book becomes “live” on Amazon.

Launch, promote and market your book

What’s the purpose of writing your book? If it was for the joy of writing, then it may be of no concern to you if no one reads your book

If you wanted to write your book because you had a message to convey, then marketing it will be of great importance. The completion of your book is the beginning of your writer’s journey.


Jennifer Thompson coaches women on ways to live life on their terms. Having worked in finance and banking for twenty years before discovering another passion – a passion for writing. She has numerous self-published books on money: Women and Money: 7 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know to Be Financially Prepared in Any Economy and Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in an Age of Uncertainty.

Her passion is to help you live yours!
Check out her 21 Day Challenge to Re-Script Your Life of Abundance!




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