Dr Harry Singh, the author of two books, provides a guide to self-publishing for anyone looking to get their manuscript printed.
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Are you a budding author in search of a book deal? In my pursuit of sharing what I have learned with like-minded colleagues, I chose to self-publish. With two books now under my belt – Achieving Financial Freedom: Learn how you can escape the rat race and stop trading time for money and Get Moving in Property for Freedom and Profits: Learn how to invest in the asset of the rich and master the rules of the professional property game – and in keeping with my sharing ethos, I felt duty bound to let others know how they can do it, too.
Do not publish and be damned!
Irrespective of genre, your first big step is to brave showing your manuscript to someone you trust because it’s important to get constructive feedback and they’ll be able to point out any big mistakes you’ve made in terms of spelling or grammar. Plus, if you can afford an editor that will really add to its readability!
As a quick aside, while one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover we all do! So, give great thought as to the title – it should grab attention and be easy to find following a search on Amazon and Google – as well as the colours and images you use for the cover. (I politely suggest you do not put yourself on the cover.)
Once you’re happy to share your thoughts with the wider world, the next decision is whether to have a company publish your book or to create your own publishing company.
I chose to publish with CreateSpace (www.createspace.com), which offers a step-by-step guide including, for example, an automated print check for common errors, a cover creator, distribution options and royalties guidance. There are quite a few companies out there like this, so it’s best to decide what’s most important to you and Google to find your best fit.
The alternative, to create your own publishing company, is easy to do, too. To look professional, you simply buy a block of 10 ISBNs (the smallest amount you can buy in the UK) for £144.00 including VAT, think of a company name, add an address and away you go, more or less. When choosing a printer, do go with someone experienced and well-established. While a self-published book is unlikely to look as polished as, say, one from Penguin, you can still achieve a high level of quality from a reputable printer.
I chose not to create my own publishing company because, as the publisher, you are personally responsible for debts (unless you set up a limited company). My books aren’t controversial and you may not consider yours to be either, but if you should publish something actionable and have to pay damages your personal assets are at risk – including your home.
Fame and Fortune
Self-publishing continues to grow in popularity; so much so that The Guardian has a dedicated section at http://www.theguardian.com/books/self-publishing, which is a great resource for all would-be authors. Also worth searching is Amazon itself, as that’s a great site through which to sell your title and they offer publisher and vendor guides (see http://amzn.to/1gj0mOD).
Will you make your fortune and achieve fame? Probably not, although there are stories every now and then of massive hits – did you know that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy started out as fan fiction on the internet and was then picked up by an Australian publishing house? So never say never!
You may not be the next EL James but you can certainly take pride in sharing your expertise and vision with like-minded individuals. So, good luck and send me a link to your first book!