Thank you for this helpful article. I have self-published three books and am preparing to release a fourth.
I agree an outstanding book cover is vital. 99Designs.com is another way to create a professional-looking book cover. I’ve also used a freelance graphic designer who is in the business.
The paperback and hardcover versions need an interior layout. I researched details as to what to include as part of the front and back end material, typical trim and margin sizes, handling of page numbering, etc. It’s easy to scream amateur if done incorrectly. Joel Friedlander’s site, The Book Designer, has loads of useful information, plus templates for sale. I did my own with the help of Adobe InDesign. Be prepared for a steep learning curve, but it is well worth it.
Then there’s the book launch party. It takes time and preparation to do it right, with press releases, virtual blog tours, guest interviews on podcasts, and charging up your fan base to promote it. Hopefully, you have built a large email list (MailChimp, SubStack, Convertkit) I plan to offer a raffle and reward fans who do the most in spreading the word.
An effective launch may require a monthly fee for a social media calendar organizer, such as CoSchedule, the cost of prizes, and the service of a virtual assistant to handle the coordination of the various aspects leading up to and including the release date.
An author website with your own email address are important. I designed mine to save money. Even for DIYers, there are the costs of purchasing a domain name, WordPress theme, some WP plugins, and the yearly hosting fee. Wix.com, and GoDaddy, to name two, offer templates — for a monthly fee, of course. Oh, and don’t forget your custom email address, which also comes at an expense.
Finally, if the book is a memoir, it may need to be reviewed by an attorney who specializes in the area of potential litigious published works.
Given all this cost and labor, wouldn’t it be advantageous to pursue traditional publishing? Yes, traditional publishers will handle the cost of book interior and cover design, and the potential legalities, but some expenses will be yours, especially marketing. Then there’s the added problem of obtaining such an offer — another uphill battle.
Thank you! Great article!
BTW- I’m open to mentoring those who are considering self-publishing for the first time!