Saturday, March 23, 2019


Print on demand has radically democratized the publishing process. Authors are feeling empowered to pursue their own dreams for their writing. And they’re losing their fear of the learning curve involved in tackling the publishing process.

The Self-Publisher’s Checklist below will help authors get a handle on all the steps involved in becoming their own book publisher. As I write more here in my blog about each of these stages, I’ll include links to the relevant blog post. So check back often and follow the bold links to learn more.

There are many many steps in the process of producing a professional-looking book, requiring many different kinds of skills, from cover design to editing to photo research and beyond. Check who among your own network of friends, family and work colleagues has some of the skills you’ll need along the way. The more you can do with volunteer labor, the less you’ll have to pay out of your pocket.

A Self-Publisher’s Checklist

In the spirit of the old-fashioned cookbooks, first write your book. Then, when you feel you’ve said what you need to say, here are the stages your manuscript will go through to become a self-published book:

  • selecting a printer (or print-on-demand publisher) for your finished manuscript,
  • making sure you understand what you will need to provide to the printer so they can print your book (how much will it cost? what format do the final computer files need to be in?),
  • choosing a page size for your book from among those offered by the printer you’ll be using,
  • editing the manuscript so that it meets the standards that today’s sophisticated readers expect,
  • requesting permissions from the copyright holders of any text you have quoted at length,
  • marking up headings etc. by applying the correct formatting Styles,
  • selecting or commissioning any photos or illustrations needed and making sure these have the right resolution and file format,
  • making sure the copyright page includes all the necessary info,
  • making sure all the needed front and back-matter pages (acknowledgments, dedication, table of contents, index, etc.) are present and correct,
  • designing the text (type size, font, indents, spacing, heading styles, etc.),
  • doing the layout of the text block,
  • proofreading the text,
  • inputting corrections to the text,
  • writing cover copy,
  • making arrangements to get an ISBN, if desired,
  • making arrangements to get a barcode for back of the book, if you wish to sell it through retailers,
  • commissioning or finding an illustration or photo for the cover,
  • calculating the spine width, based on the number of pages in your finished book.
  • designing and laying out the cover,
  • proofreading the cover,
  • outputting all files in a format that the printer can use,
  • getting files to the printer,
  • checking a proof of the printed book,
  • making corrections or checking that they are made by the printer as requested,
  • delivering revised files to the printer,
  • celebrating the arrival of your completed book!

If you’re an author who wants to take up the self-publishing challenge (or even the traditional publishing challenge) and you need some guidance, drop me an email telling me briefly about your project and I’ll provide you with price list of the services I offer:

Email jane (at) mjaneross (dot) com or call 512 323-6595