Self-publishing timetable, part one of three

Posted By on March 9, 2013

When I start working with a new client, I always set up an initial meeting. A colleague of mine called it a strategy session, and that is a good description as it is a discussion of the approach we’ll take to the project. We discuss what is involved in all phases of the project, from editing to production to marketing. We also decide on a tentative publication date.

If you haven’t self-published yet, chances are you’ve done plenty of research as to what is all involved. And there is a lot involved! I’ve but together this checklist to help keep you on task—and to ensure you don’t forget anything. Here is part one of the self-publishing plan; I’ll post parts two and three later this week.

Step one: Set yourself up as a self-publisher by establishing yourself as a commercial entity. Start your own publishing company and obtain a block of at least 10 ISBNs (you’ll need one for each version of the book).

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and discuss local business license requirements, regulations, and procedures. File a fictitious name statement (if required in your area). Obtain a post office box, if needed, and designate a phone number.

Decide on a publishing company name and make sure there isn’t another publishing company with the same name. You can check Google and the Bowker site.

Have letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, and business cards printed if you have the budget for it. Or simply create letterhead on your computer that looks professional.

Open a business checking account. Obtain your resale tax permit.

Join the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Start developing a marketing mind-set!

Step two: After making sure you’ve got a marketable subject, finish writing your manuscript. Start thinking about your specific marketing, promotions, and distribution strategies.

Research your chosen title to see if it is already in use. The best way to do this is to check both Amazon and the Bowker site.

Decide on a good, descriptive subtitle.

Get any needed permissions. Wrap up last-minute research and verifications.

Establish your publication date. Draw up a production schedule so you’ll have books ahead of it—at least one or two or three months prior.

Ask competent friends or associates to read/critique/edit the manuscript. Revise accordingly. Then have your manuscript professionally edited.

Send out your edited manuscript to authorities on your topic and key reviewers for advance comments and perhaps a foreword.

Gather any interior artwork, such as photographs or illustrations. Write captions for interior art and prepare a keyed list.

Design and lay out the interior of the book if you are well versed in a program such as Adobe InDesign—or pay to have it done if you aren’t. Don’t try to do it yourself in Word.

Assign an ISBN to the book. (Remember: The ebook version will need a different ISBN.)

Complete and submit the ABI form.

Get professional help to design the cover. Nothing screams “Self-published!” like an amateurish cover design. And that’s exactly what you’ll have if you do it yourself and you’re not an experienced graphic designer.

Write benefit-oriented back cover copy. Also write an author bio to include along with a headshot.

Request price quotations from offset and/or digital printers, depending on your needs.

Determine the retail sales price based on printing coasts and on other books in your genre. Hit the bookstores and check to research.

Obtain a Bookland EAN Scanning Symbol after you decide on a price. (Ask your cover designer about this; he or she will often do it for you.)

Index your book if it is nonfiction.

Write the Library of Congress to get your LCCN after you have an accurate page count.

Proofread the pages, then double-check that all revisions were made by your book designer. Hiring a proofreader is a good idea as well. It’s tough to proofread your own work accurately—especially given that you’ve probably read through the manuscript dozens of times at this point.

Decide on a source for creating your ebook; I like BookBaby for great service and reasonable prices.



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3 Responses to “Self-publishing timetable, part one of three”

  1. [...] Self-publishing timetable, part one of three [...]

  2. [...] Collier presents Self-publishing timetable, part one of three posted at Self-Publishing [...]

  3. [...] you don’t forget anything. Here is part three of the self-publishing plan. You can find part one here and part two [...]

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