A Guide to Self-Publishing Your Book

Every day, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre receives questions from aspiring authors who want to try self-publishing their book. In partnership with FriesenPress, we’ve created this guide to answer some of those questions and help turn literary dreams into reality.

unnamed (9)What is the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing?

In traditional publishing, aspiring authors submit their manuscripts to publishers or literary agencies, and hope for the best. If a publisher chooses a manuscript for publication, they manage the production, printing, distributing and marketing of the book, and the author gets a percentage of the profits and possibly an advance to finance the completion of the writing.

Self-publishing offers full control to the author, who covers the costs of designing, printing and marketing the book. There are several advantages: “Self-publishing allows authors to take their book to market more quickly, allows them to retain all rights and creative control, and offers significantly higher royalties than the traditional route,” says Tammara Kennelly, President at FriesenPress.

How does self-publishing work?

In the past, self-publishing meant that authors were left to their own devices when it came to editing and designing their books, not to mention distributing and marketing them. Some platforms offered further help with production, but authors were generally left to navigate the process unassisted.

Full-service companies like FriesenPress offer a fully defined production process, provide authors with a dedicated team of vetted professionals, and deliver expert support and advice throughout the publishing process. They ensure authors have a top-quality book able to compete with the best in the marketplace.

Which self-publishing service is right for me?

unnamed (15)It’s important to do research and choose a publishing service that offers what you need, within your budget. It’s also crucial to remember that you’re not just paying to print the book—professional editing, design, and marketing are essential components to producing a successful book.

“Trying to do everything yourself in the name of saving a couple of hundred dollars can result in a poor-quality book that no one wants to buy,” says Kennelly. “Just as traditional publishers work hard to make sure each book they publish is as good as it can be, independent authors also need to be strategic. Investing your money in the right areas can pay great dividends. For example, if your budget is limited, I’d advise you focus your investment on editing and cover design.”

How do self-published authors integrate illustrations into their work?

Unlike in traditional publishing, self-published authors have the luxury of selecting and hiring their illustrators themselves, but it can be a daunting task. For picture books, it’s vital to select the right illustrations for your work—it’s what your readers see first, and people will judge your book by its cover.

Services like FriesenPress make the process easier by giving you a wide variety of illustration styles to choose from. They are also able to work with authors to help them decide which style of illustration might be best suited to their book.

unnamed (11)What advantages does a full-service company like FriesenPress offer over less comprehensive publishing services?

The publishing process at FriesenPress was built to mirror the steps of traditional publishing.

  • They offer a full spectrum of editing services, from basic proofreading to developmental editing, which can help a struggling author to advance or complete their story. They also provide content editing to fix aspects like spelling and punctuation, as well as to offer feedback on aspects like plot, character development, pacing, etc.
  • Distribution is a roadblock many self-published authors encounter. FriesenPress offers wide distribution to ensure your print book is available worldwide through up to 39,000 book retailers globally, and can distribute your eBook on Amazon, Google, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo and the FriesenPress bookstore.
  • FriesenPress will also help you develop your sales and marketing plan with the support and guidance of one of their experts. You can purchase the individual components that best complement your plan, such as a website, an external book review service, a social media plan, a press release or a spot in the widely distributed FriesenPress catalogue.

I want to self-publish my book. What’s the first step I should take?

Make sure you’ve done your homework on every aspect of publishing a book, and have a plan prepared for once it’s published. Don’t rush into it—take your time with every step of the process, and make sure you’re doing it right. Thousands of books are published in Canada every year, and for your book to stand out, you want it to be of high quality and marketed well.

“I always say self-publishing is like completing a triathlon,” says Kennelly. “You need to pace yourself and be equally invested and committed at each stage to successfully finish the race. Stage one is the writing. Stage two is the production of the book. And stage three is the sales and marketing aspect. All three are equally important and equally demanding. You are an authorpreneur, embrace that and invest in the success of your book.”

FP2015_Logo Blue Visit FriesenPress.com to start your publishing journey. Mention the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and receive 10% off any publishing service package.
This post was sponsored by FriesenPress.