Write for the Love of it!

Self Publishing – From Manuscript to Publication

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

You’ve got this idea and have either written the book or thinking about doing it. And then what? Have you thought about publishing? About how you are going to share your story with the world?

Deciding to self publish is a big step. The good news is that it is really quite acceptable these days to do just that. If you are going to self publish though there are several things that you will need to do yourself or hire out for someone else to do. There are a lot of steps and some take time but really it is really not that difficult.

Get It Written then Worry about the Steps

Well the first thing you need to do is to finish writing your book or novel. Actually several of these steps can be started before you are done and in fact some should be (I’ll discuss that as we go through). And of course marketing should start a month or two before you are finished writing your novel. You can read more about marketing here.

To keep yourself from getting into overwhelm get the first draft done. Take a breath. Congratulate yourself and then start doing all the steps. Know that you will need a few months from finishing first draft to publication date. The more you write and publish the more you’ll be able to do several of these things at the same time.


Self publishing - from manuscript to publication

What you need to do

So when you decide to self publish, there are several steps that you need to complete. These are all that need to be completed and are linear but they do not all need to be completed in this order.

  • editing
  • rewriting
  • how you’re publishing – self or tradition
  • formatting – ebook and paperback
  • getting your ISBN
  • getting your barcode
  • bookcover
  • ebook publishing
    • Direct
    • Aggregate
  • paperback publishing
    • Create Space
    • Ingram Spark
    • Amazon
    • Indie Publishers (small press)


Set a plan to succeed with writing.

“Self Publishing is an amazing option but you need to decide if it is for you or not.”

When you are finished first draft.

When you finish writing your first draft, at least the first time around so that you don’t get overwhelmed, that’s really when you need to start doing some of the steps so that you can pick a publication date, do your marketing and have it all ready for launch day.


Writing is a gift meant to be shared.

The things to do sooner than later

Choose a publication date – give yourself about 2 months to get your book edited and rewritten. Ensure that your editor has time to get the editing done and that you have time to go through and ensure you are happy with the edits.

The Book Cover. Get the cover created as soon as possible. This is a great way to help build anticipation about your book release. I suggest doing a cover reveal about 4 – 6 weeks prior to publication day. Note: If you are doing an ebook and a paperback, you will need two different style of covers. Get them made at the same time as this will save you a lot of headache later on.

ISBN – you will need a 13 digit ISBN for each type of book that you are putting out there—ebook, paperback, audio, hardcover. You can apply for this at anytime. If it is your first time applying, go in an set up your account and then order the ISBN immediately. In Canada (they are free), it takes about two weeks before you will get your first ISBN. After that it takes a minute or so. In the US (you have to pay for them or use the ISBN given by either the aggregate like (Smashwords, Pronoun, Draft2Digital) or the Print on Demand (Amazon, Create Space, Ingram Spark…). Know that if you use their ISBN, then it puts them as the publisher and if you ever want to move your book, you will need an new ISBN and anything you’ve built up (reviews, links…) will be lost.

Barcode – this is a must for paperback and hardcover. When you get one, you need to include the price of your book in it. The barcode will then need to be inserted onto the backcover for print.


Getting ready for publication

As I mention in this article, there are several steps to go through when you are finished writing your story and have it to where it is good—send to your beta team and get feedback, send to your editor and have it edited, do rewrites – review what the editor has said and see what you need to do to make your story stronger, re-read your story or hire a proofreader, then it is ready for the formatting and publication process.


The Key Steps for Publication

Editing – Make sure that you’ve talked with an editor a few months in advance and set a date with them so that you are sure that they are free and able to do your work in the time frame that you want. Most need at least two weeks to get through your novel. The type of editing and length of your novel will make a difference. Be prepared and plan for this. It can take longer than you think.

Rewrites – go through what the editor has done and see what needs fixed in your story and of course the grammar and punctuation.

Reread your story to make sure it is what you want and that nothing has been lost in the process.

Publication Format – Ebook, Paperback, Audio – what format are you publishing in (remember you will need an ISBN for each format).

~ Ebook Options – Direct to each (Amazon, iBooks, B&N (although if from anywhere but US have to use aggregate), Kobo)- –    Use an aggregate – Smashwords, Pronoun, Draft2Digital

~ Paperback Options – Print On Demand – Create Space, Amazon, Ingram Spark – each has their benefits and quirks

~ Indie Press or other Print on Demand – if you are paying for someone to do all the work of formatting to publishing for you, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Not all are created equal. Some are better than others but there are options so that you are not paying someone to publish you. Read this article.

~ Audio – Audible (Amazon and iTunes)—most well known; Others to consider – Voices for Books, Bee Audio, E-Audio Productions, Common Mode (Note: that depending on where you are listing your audiobooks i.e. Amazon, be sure to read what they’re stipulations are for uploading from another source – do your research).

Writing is a gift meant to be shared.

As with everything, once you are ready to look at publication, do your research. There is a lot of information out there. Join some author groups and ask other authors their experiences with each company, each part of the process.

Congratulations on taking this journey. Write your book and publish it. You decide whether you want to self publish it or traditionally publish it. Take that leap!

Glenna Mageau, a prolific writer and award-winning suspense/thriller author. Having written most of her life, she is on a quest to inspire women to find their voice through writing. Writing is an amazing gift but it pulls and pushes at the same time. It pulls you to want to write but it also pushes you away. At times, it can feel daunting and you may find you become proficient at procrastination. I can help you to get started and keep going so that you get your story, your message written. Step into your gift of writing, I’ll show you the way.

Write for the Love of it!

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