Self-Publishing Business Overview
by Ron Kurtus (revised 8 April 2016)
If you decided to have a self-publishing business in order to publish your own books, as well as possibly publishing the books of others, the following overview explains the factors involved in successfully achieving your goals.
The process begins with starting your own publishing business. Then you design and format your book and send it out to be produced and distributed as a hardcopy book and e-book. Finally, you market and promote your book to increase its sales.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you start a publishing business?
- How are books produced?
- How are books distributed and sold?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Starting publishing business
Before starting up a publishing business, you need to see that it is a worthwhile venture. Your motivation may be to publish your own book or because you are interested in the publishing business and see its potential.
Do market research
You need to study the market for your book idea to determine your target audience and their potential interest, as well as to determine the best route to take to get your book published.
The result of your research is a determining factor on your decision to start a publishing business.
As with any business, it must be organized as a legal business entity. You also need to get a work location, proper equipment and software, and support personnel.
You do need some up-front funding to start up your publishing business.
The goal of the publishing process is to deliver a product—hard copy book or e-book—and make it ready for marketing and sales.
This production process consists of:
- Write or receive a proposal for a book
- Determine if a worthwhile venture
- Decide to publish it
- Write or obtain the manuscript
- Edit the material
- Format the material according to book design
- Create a book cover
For a p-book or hardcopy book, you then:
- Transform manuscript and cover into PDF files
- Send them to the printer
- Review proof copies
- Send them to printer to get copies to sell
For an e-book, you:
- Convert into various e-book formats
- Verify e-book formats are correct
Then, you can move toward marketing and selling your books.
In order to get your hardcopy book in bookstores, you usually need to go through a distributor such as Ingram or Baker & Taylor. Major bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, seldom carry self-published books.
A distributor is also needed to get your book listed in online stores, such as Amazon.com.
Promotion consists of letting people know about your book. In many cases, this part of marketing is supposed to start before the book is published.
Ideally, you want to market to a niche audience. Methods to use include:
- Newspaper reviews
- Social media
You can also sell your books from your own website.
Starting an independent publishing business requires that it is organized as a legal business entity. You also need to get a work location, proper equipment and software, and support personnel.
The publishing process includes accepting an manuscript and preparing it for a print version, as well as e-book versions. You then need to market and sell the books.
Know all the rules
Resources and references
Questions and comments
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