Self Publishing
What you need to know
Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author
Self Publishing what you need to know

It is really easy to self publish today but the choice is not an easy one or one you should take lightly.

To self publish today it is seriously as easy as the click of a button and you can have your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and any other number of book sites, in a matter of hours. It truly is simple. But the work to make it happen, not so much.


The world of publishing is wide open now.
Photo by Wil Stewart – Unsplash

There are really three parts to self publishing.

  1. Preparation for Publishing
  2. Pre- Publishing
  3. Publishing

I’m not discussing branding and marketing in this article.

“Self publishing is an amazing journey but it is not for everyone.”

The Preparation Phase

1. Writing the novel
2. Rewriting the novel
3. Editing
4. Beta team feedbac
5. Rewrites
6. Editing

The PrePublication Phase

1. Format Novel – different for ebook vs paperback
2. Book Cover
4. Bar Code (paperback)
5. Paperback – who are you getting to print it
6. What work are you hiring out

The Publication Phase

1. Ebook

a. determine if DIY (do it yourself) or hiring it out
b. formatting – is different for a few ebook sites
c. uploading – upload to each site yourself or use a company to do it for you or use an aggregate
d. ensure front matter – ISBN, copyright, table of contents and other information as determined by ebook seller or aggregate

2. Paperback

a. determine if DIY (do it yourself) or hiring a company to oversee
b. printing of paperback
c. distribution of paperback books
d. include bar code
e. include ISBN

3. Audiobook

a. determine if DIY (do it yourself) or hiring someone to do it for you
b. the recording – if hiring someone, pay up front or split royalties
c. where distributing it through

What does all this mean for you?

That you have a lot of choices to make:

to self publish or not self publish?

to do an ebook?

an audiobook?

a paperback book?

diy – do it all yourself?

hire someone for all? or parts of it?

Even with all the choices and steps, it truly is quite easy to self publish.


If you are going to be publishing an ebook, here are your options:

1. Hire a company to format and upload – there are several, too many to list but do your research, ask questions

2. Format and upload the ebook yourself

This is a list of the big name ebook sellers, there are others.

a. Amazon
– distributes ebooks in kindle format (there are a couple of versions but is different than every other ebook seller)
– you will need an account at
– to ensure that any images (i.e. your bio picture, maybe pictures of your other published books, etc.) stay where you want them to, you need to format in a certain way. To learn what Amazon needs you to do to ensure your ebook is formatted correctly, click here

b. Barnes and Noble
– sells in epub format (standard for most ebook sellers)
– if you are from Canada you cannot upload directly to them, you must use an aggregate
(more information here: Nook Press)
– to learn more, click here

c. Kobo
– sells in epub format (standard for most ebook sellers)
– Kobo is Canadian but can be used internationally – click here to learn more

d. iBooks (iTunes)
– sells in epub format (standard for most ebook sellers)
– can be used internationally – click here to learn more


Use an Aggregate

If you don’t want the headache of uploading to all of the sites, then use an aggregate. And if you are Canadian you have to use one anyway to upload to Barnes and Noble. I’ve only listed the big name ebook sellers, there are many others, which is why using an aggregate is a good idea. You expand the availability of your books. They are free to use but do keep a percentage of your royalties – usually 10 – 15% (note that’s on top of the percentage that the ebook seller keeps). There are more than this but these are the ones that I know of and know are quite popular.

1. Smashwords

2. Draft2Digital

For Print Books

That you have a lot of choices to make.

If you are going to be publishing a print book (paperback or hardcover), there truly are a lot of options today. Here are but a few:

1. Format and get your book printed and distributed yourself – there are a few companies who do this, these are two that are fairly popular and seem to have a good reputation but again, do your own research. Both of these are American companies (for those of us who are international there are other things to consider – the dollar exchange being one of them).

a. Create Space
     – besides publishing your novel they also offer other services, click here

b. Ingram Sparks
– provides a lot of information and does digital and paperback books, click here

2. Hire a company to format and do all the publishing for you – known as vanity press or subsidy press and sometimes as print on demand (see below) – do your research so you know their reputation, how they handle conflict, whether they deliver, the costs and what are the limitations and additional costs – ask a lot of questions. People tend to choose this option as they feel it is easy. However it can be very expensive. Do your research, ensure they are legit and are going to deliver on what they say. There are often hidden costs and a limited amount of changes that you can make. They often own the ISBN and the cover so if you leave they get to keep those and sometimes can own the rights to your book. Many don’t look after distribution, so you have to ensure that you figure that out as well.

Note: Print on demand, means what it says. It can get confusing though because some vanity or subsidy presses will use this term as well. It’s really a marketing ploy on their part and can get confusing. When you publish through Create Space and Ingram Sparks, you do not have to print off a whole lot of books anymore. You can print some that you keep for marketing and the rest can be print on demand. So what that means is when someone orders a book through Amazon, if you’ve gone with Create Space, they will print and ship the paperback book (check what their distribution areas are though as I understand there are some restrictions and variations). It really is quite fast.

There are a lot of things to do and to decide on, if you determine you want to self publish. You don’t have to do all of those parts yourself but you do need to make sure that you do your research and understand all that is required. If you hire someone, do your research. Ask questions. Ensure they have a good reputation and are legit. Make sure it is clear what they will do for you and what it will cost. There can be a lot of hidden costs, ask what they are.

Self publishing gives you a lot of control but if you choose this route there are a lot of things you need to do.

The journey is worth it. Just know what you’re getting into.

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.

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