Regardless of whether a book is self-published or traditionally published, there are five steps to publishing.


Darn, eh? You can’t publish a book without first writing it. If you’re reading this guide, you probably have an idea for a book, or you’ve already written some or all of it.


When you write a book you make thousands of creative decisions. By the time you’re done your first or second or third draft, it becomes nearly impossible for you to grasp how a reader would experience your manuscript for the first time. An editor provides fresh eyes and improves the quality of your writing.


Once the manuscript is edited, a designer creates a compelling cover that will help the book sell. The designer also does the interior layout of the book to ensure a comfortable reading experience, and ensures the design files meet all the specifications so that the book can be distributed, both in print and ebook formats.


Once you have a finished product, you need to make it available for people to buy. Nowadays, most sales channels are available to self-published authors. Also, because print-on-demand (POD) technology permits printing one book at a time, it isn’t necessary to spend any money on printing.

Distribution includes listing your book with major online retailers like, making your book available to brick-and-mortar bookstores through a distributor, and automatically printing and fulfilling orders, collecting payment, and issuing royalties. Distribution also includes ebook sales via the Kindle, and other ebookstores. Brick-and-mortar bookstores can’t be forced to stock your book, but they can be given easy access to it via mainstream distributors.


Once your book is available for sale, you need to get people to hear about it and create “buzz.” Promoting activities include issuing press releases and approaching traditional print and broadcast media for interviews or book reviews, online marketing using social media, and events, such as a book launch.