HOW I SELF-PUBLISHED MY FIRST BOOK

I have received a plethora of messages, comments and enquires regarding how I went about self-publishing my first ever book (Melancholy Mind). It would take me an eternity to answer you all individually so I reckoned I would write a blog post and walk you through each individual step of the process so that it answers all of your Qs!

This is literally going to be a step-by-step guide on how to self-publish (based on my own experience). If you have any further Qs feel free to pop me a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer. Additionally, I’d be extrememly grateful if you picked up a copy of my BOOK. Or recommended it to a friend. Or requested it at your library. Or if you’ve read it leave me a review. Anything helps. Now, enough about me and my book, and here’s how YOU can do it, too.

  • Firstly, you need to pick which platform you want to use to self-publish with. Do your research beforehand and pick what works best for you. In this case, I used Createspace and so I’ll be using this as my example throughout this post.

 

  • The very first thing CreateSpace requires you to do is pick your title. I already had my title which is ‘Melancholy Mind’ so I typed that in and moved on to the next section.

 

  • You are then required to provide an ISBN (which is a barcode on the back cover of every book). You can privately buy your own ISBN and then provide them with it or alternatively you can get a free one from CreateSpace. Once you have got your ISBN this is locked and there is no going back or changing it. This is your books identity!

  • Moving swiftly onwards to the intricate but exciting part – you now have to work on and submit your interior; this is the contents of your book and the most time consuming part of the whole process. It has to be just right. I created my book on Microsoft word and within this I had 184 pages of poetry, sub headings, blog snippets, twitter feedback, about the author, acknowledgements, help and contacts etc. – everything that was going to be inside my book! The alignment has to be right (which was tricky for me as the form and structure played an important part of my book as I didn’t want illustrations). There was a lot of readjusting, realigning and resubmitting to CreateSpace. I reiterate that this is a very time consuming and strenuous process however it’s 100% worth it in the end. You would think because you are self-publishing that when you upload your interior to the site that they would just accept it and you would be ready to go; but in actual fact I got my interior rejected roughly 4 times before I got it right. The self-publishing site review your interior and make sure that everything looks OK before they let you publish it.

  • Once everything is looking good with the interior; you are then required to submit a cover for your book. Front and back. At this stage, most people would contact a professional and have one designed for them. However I had a clear image in my head of what I wanted my book to look like. Minimalist and mysterious. Fortunately, my boyfriend had the skillset to design a cover for me. Again, a lengthy and time consuming process but totally worth it in the long run. He designed my cover within a few days, went through the whole submitting and resubmitting process again with Createspace until we got it just right, and then finally it was accepted! And I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out.

  • Then we have the ‘complete set up’ process. CreateSpace ask you to look over what you have submitted, make sure there are no errors and ensure that you are happy with everything. Then you go ahead and submit your book for publication.

 

  • And it’s a waiting game. A sleepless night whilst you wait in anticipation for the 24 hours in which they review your book and alert you (via email) to tell you if your book is ready to go out into the world.

  • Finally! My book has been accepted! And what a wonderful feeling it is! The next thing CreateSpace requires you to do is Proof Your Book. Now, I was lucky enough to have a cousin who is a proof reader for a living and has done 4 years at University studying English, and so we met up and I let her read over my book from start to finish. There were 2 small grammatical errors that were easily fixed and that was it! She gave me the ‘go ahead’. You have the option to receive a proof copy or your book or you can proof it digitally, online, and they show you your work in book copy. I opted for the digital proof so that I could get my work out there quicker. I was happy with how everything was looking so far.

 

  • After proof reading your book and agreeing that you are happy with how it’s looking: you are almost ready to share it with the world! CreateSpace have a ‘distribute’ section which you are required to fill out containing things such as channels, pricing, cover finish, description and publishing on kindle. You can choose if you want to allow your book to be sold in libraries etc, you can choose if you want Third parties to sell your book or just amazon. Then you can choose a price, they educate you on royalties (the % of money you receive per book) and show you in £ how much you will receive per book per Amazon territory when you set your book a certain price; they allow you to choose if you want a matte or glossy finish on the cover of your book; whether you want cream or white pages; whether or not you will be publishing on kindle… there are a lot of things to consider! I opted for a matte finish, cream pages (because they are easy on the eye) and I went through the publishing on kindle process a week after my book launch. I focused on getting the paperback out there first.

  • Once you have done all this, your book is ready to be distributed to everyone! I done an online book launch (a few days later – once I had received my own copy of Melancholy Mind). And I began self-promoting on all of my social media platforms.

 

  • Sales and Marketing is a massive part of self-publishing. Your sales are all down to YOU. CreateSpace allows you to track your sales, check your royalties, get ideas in resources and they also offer promotional resources (at a price) which I decided not to use.

 

  • And then it’s all down to YOU. Use your platforms. Use your voice. Market. Research. Invest. Inquire. Use the people around you to help with your success. You are now a self-published author so it’s all down to you. You need to hustle a little. You’ll have good months, bad months, it’s all part and parcel of the process. But you are now an author. CONGRATULATIONS!

I really hope that this post has been interesting and of course, fruitful, to some of you thinking about self-publishing. Feel free to ask me any further questions below and PLEASE consider picking up a copy of mybook… let me know if this post has helped(!)

(All of the photos used in this post are from social media platforms that my readers have shared – thank you so much to those of you who endlessly support me and leave me reviews, share photos and recommend my book to your friends & family. You’re all amazing)!

CHARLENE MCELHINNEY

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Email: charlenemcelhinney@icloud.com

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18 Comments

  1. February 28, 2018 / 6:44 pm

    That sounds like such an interesting process! I remember when you told me you were self-publishing – I didn’t even know it was a concept before then. It’s so great that the author has so much control, I know how controlling creatives can be over their work (at least I definitely am!) You’ve done so well in terms of getting the book to publication stage and then promoting it – you should be incredibly proud of yourself! Xx

  2. Lisa's Notebook
    March 1, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    Charlene, this is so interesting. I had no idea how to go about self-publishing, or how much work was involved before you actually got the finished product. I love your book, I’ve recommended it to several friends, but I’ve got whole new appreciation of your work now. Thank you so much for sharing xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  3. March 2, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    I know from experience how hard it is to self publish a book, I helped create an anthology the proceeds of which went to charity through createspace, and I’ve been contemplating self publishing my own work in the future. Great tips for those interested in going down this route.

  4. March 3, 2018 / 2:50 pm

    this is fantasic, thank you for sharing this, it was a really interesting read. Maybe one day one I have an idea….

  5. March 3, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    This was such an interesting read and full of information that will be really helpful for anyone that is wanting to self publish. Just shows how much work goes into a book!

  6. March 3, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    This post comes at perfect timing. I’ve been researching self-publishing my own novels for a little while now, so to know what happens from someone based on first-hand experience is really helpful. I had no idea that Createspace would reject your book if it wasn’t formatted properly. I had this nightmare of me submitting it and it looking an absolute mess when it turned up in the ebook store. I can imagine this would’ve been so much harder with your book, especially as your format wasn’t completely straight forwards!

    Thanks for writing such an interesting, informative post.

  7. March 3, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    My process pretty much mirrors your process, it definitely was exciting getting everything proof read and re-read and I remember getting my layout rejected atleast 6 times thankfully Nick helped me a lot, I would’ve been helpless without him. I feel like I actually failed my self-published novel because I’ve dropped the ball on all the self-promoting of it all and I can’t really see anyone actually buying it now.

  8. March 3, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    Very nice advice! I actually had to learn this all myself for university because our tutor was usless, haha. I was going to write a post on hot to go about it, but seeing as you did I’ll just direct people here ^-^

  9. March 4, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    This is so interesting – thank you for sharing! Xx

  10. March 4, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    This was so interesting to read. Wish you all the success with your book, hopefully one day I’ll have a book out there!

  11. March 5, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    What an amazing achievement!! Congratulations on your book, I think it’s an incredible thing to have done. I’ve wanted to know more about self publishing as I have a few plots I want to run with so this is so helpful thank you very much!

  12. March 6, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    I am so happy you shared your story when it comes to publishing a book! I really want to write a book one day so this information is really helpful! Thank you Charlene!

    Tabitha x
    http://www.whattabithaloves.co.uk/

  13. March 30, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    It’s quite a process. Never heard of create space.

  14. July 1, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    Great post! Very interesting process and sounds like very hard work, but totally worth the end product. Proud of you!

  15. September 20, 2018 / 11:28 am

    Thanks for sharing! Do you know how Create Space is with photos? I’m looking at self publishing a children’s book but it’s mostly photos so I’m nervous!

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