If you don’t want to give your book rights to a publisher or spend tons of money to publish a book, this article is for you! The average publisher gives you back 5%-15% of your book’s listing price in royalties, but with self-publishing, you can receive 60%-70% of your book’s listing price! As an author of 8 books, I believe that self-publishing is the best way to take the power into your own hands and it doesn’t take any money to do it! Check out this step-by-step self-publish guide to assist any aspiring authors in their endeavors.
Although this guide will be applicable to any service you decide to go with, I prefer Amazon’s publishing and distribution service for self-published authors, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). KDP has features that help you throughout the entire process for publishing paperbacks and ebooks, including but not limited to:
- Free ISBN for your book
- Interior formatting assistance
- Book cover design tools and resources
- Extensive distribution options including listing your book on Amazon with Prime Shipping, Barnes & Noble, and libraries for FREE
- Print-on-Demand (when someone orders your book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, KDP prints and ships the book to the customer. They take out minimal royalties and shipping costs.)
- Author copies, which are helpful if you desire to sell your books in person or on your own platform. You can order author copies for a minimal price ($3-$5).
- Quality review of your book for proper formatting and design before you publish it.
- Simple editing tools (even after you publish your book, you can still go back in weeks, months, or years later and make changes to the cover, interior, price, and etc.)
Step 1: Format the Interior Structure of the Book Correctly
There are a few traditional rules for formatting the internal pages of your book. Some portions are optional and some are required. You can format your book in Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or any book formatting software. Make sure that you format your book with the appropriate margins. To make things easier, KDP has instructions and interior templates for you to download.
- First: Title Page
The title page includes the title of your book and your name as the author of the book.
- Second: Copyright and/or ISBN Page
- Copy and paste the ISBN information on this page.
- Copyright information is only applicable if you choose to copyright your book. If you choose not to copyright your work, then the entire book publishing process is free. If you choose to copyright your work, then it will require a fee and application. Depending on the content of your book, you may or may not want to copyright your book before you finish publishing. To copyright, your book, complete an application at by clicking here. Once you follow the process, click here for examples of text to use on the copyright page.
- Third: Table of Contents
This page will include a layout of the chapters/sections of your book with page numbers.
- Fourth: Dedication
This page will name the special person or people that you want to dedicate your book to. It will also include the reason why you chose to dedicate your book to that person.
- Fifth: Acknowledgements
This page will acknowledge the person or people that were instrumental in writing your book. This can include those that assisted directly by helping you actually write the book or those that assisted indirectly by supporting you or helping you become the person that you are today.
- Sixth: Foreword
If applicable, seek a well-known published author to provide a recommendation on your book. This is helpful for marketing the book. If you do not know a well-known author, then skip this page.
- Seventh: Preface/Introduction
This page will give a backstory on how the book was developed and what inspired you to write the book. The purpose of this page is to introduce your readers to the piece of work that you have written.
- Eighth: Book Content
Now, you can input the body of your book separated by chapters/sections/parts.
- Ninth: Glossary
This page will define the uncommon terminology that you may have used in the book.
- Tenth: Index
This section includes which pages the reader can easily find information that discusses a particular character or topic. (Ex: Samantha Jones: Pages 1,3,7,11)
- Eleventh: References
This page will cite the external works that you may have referenced throughout the book. This section is mandatory for books that include factual information because it gives the credit back to the original source and also serves as a credit enhancement for your own book.
Step 2: Find a Print-on-Demand Provider
Even as a self-publisher, you need a company to assist in printing your book. Print-on-demand providers allow you to publish your book and not have to worry about the shipping, keeping inventory, or anything else moving forward. There are many companies that offer these services, like Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon, Book Baby, Lulu, Spark, Thomson, Hillcrest, etc. You can search the internet for more providers. I personally chose KDP because they provide a free ISBN and because of the affiliation with Amazon, which means that for free they list your book on Amazon, make your book available for Prime 2-Day Shipping at no cost to you, and take minimal royalties compared to other providers. Also, if you want to have your own inventory, you can order “Author Copies” at an average of $3-5 each, which is helpful if you desire to sell on your own. Below you will find the average royalties that some of the popular providers take per book. Kindle Direct Publishing gives you 60% of your book’ss listing price in royalties for paperbacks and 70% for ebooks.
Step 3: Create Your Own Book Cover
There are tons of book cover creators online to assist in creating your own book cover/back. Some of the creators only have templates for the front of the book and some of them have creators that assist in designing the full cover. If you only plan to sell your book as an ebook, then the front-cover only creators are great for you. If you plan to print your book, then the full-cover creators would be easier to work with. Make sure that before you upload your book to the print-on-demand service, it has a resolution of 300dpi. *If you are using KDP and want to use an external source for design, click here for full book cover templates to ensure proper positioning of elements.*
FREE Full-Cover Creators: Kindle Direct Publishing (click “Launch Cover Creator” as you go through the setup process).
Step 4: Select Distribution Options for Your Book
If you create your book through KDP, as you follow the setup instructions you will reach a “distribute” section, where you can choose to list your book on Amazon & Amazon Europe for free. It also gives you expanded distribution options where you can list your book in Barnes & Noble, Libraries & Academic Institutions, and Bookstores and Online Retailers. You can also choose to list your book as an ebook on Kindle.
These are all of the steps necessary to self-publish your book for FREE! Comment below if this helps! When you finish publishing your book, let me know by sending a message here and we may feature it!