How to Self-Publish Your First Book: Step-by-step tutorial for beginners



a few months ago I made a couple of videos about my first book how I wrote it and how I got it published and ever since then I've been getting a whole lot of questions about exactly how to self publish your first book people have been asking me for a step-by-step tutorial on exactly what you should do to get your own book published so in today's video that's exactly what I'm gonna do we're gonna hop onto my computer and I'm going to show you on the different websites that I use to actually get my book published and the best thing about this information that I'm sharing with you today is that these days you can actually self publish your book completely for free yeah that's right there are no upfront cost associated with publishing your own book now personally I would recommend you hire a few people to help you like someone to proofread and edit your book and maybe someone to design a great cover for your book those are optional expenses and you can either hire someone who is very affordable or you could pay a whole lot of money for that part of it but the actual publishing is completely free so if you are writing your first book or you wrote it or you're just thinking about maybe becoming an author in the future then keep on watching to find out how you can publish your own book for free alright so the obvious first step is that you need to write your book now for this I like to use Google Drive and the reason that I like it is because not only is it free but it means that I can access the files anywhere I am and normally what I do when I'm writing a book is I just create a different file for each different chapter of the book I do create also an actual structured chapter outline to keep me on track as I'm writing and if I add chapters in the middle then I put them into the outline and so each of these documents just looks like this it just has the chapter name up here and then I put all of the text into the document and then after I have written the entire book that's when I normally start to do the editing now for the editing I use a multi-step process the first step is I just used the little like spell check here just to catch any small errors because I find that when you are proof reading something and editing it that the fewer errors there are when you start the more of the errors you'll be able to catch so that the better the final draft is if you started editing something that was super messy and full of errors then it would be very hard to clean them all out so that's why I use this multi-step process then I copy all of this control all control copy and I hop over to this website called grammarly which is also completely free almost everything in this video I'm going to show you is free so you just create a new document on grammarly and what Graham really is is it's basically like a heavy-duty spell checker or a free automatic editor so you just paste your text in here and then you have to wait a moment as it actually checks the document so it tells you about like the basic grammar out errors for free but you could upgrade to be told about the stylistic errors so obviously it just has the mistakes highlighted here and you can click them and they will correct like this or sometimes I like to actually just like switch between this and the document and be correcting them on the actual document but you can do it either way and then after you've corrected all of these errors then you make sure that you actually have the corrected copy saved now after I do this step then that is when I do my first round of editing so then I go back to the now corrected document and I read through all the words and obviously I have to be careful to read carefully and not just like skim over it and most people like to read through their piece multiple times maybe the first time looking for more stylistic things of course you still catch any punctuation errors as you see them but then the second time looking very carefully for the punctuation and other grammar things like that so that point your draft is probably mostly clean but it really helps to have a second set of eyes on it because you just become so intimate and familiar with your writing that it can be really difficult to see errors and it starts to get really boring to read your own writing over and over again and even if you're trying to keep yourself interested and engaged the more bored your mind gets the worse it is at paying attention to details so to bring in a second set of eyes I like to hire someone on up work I work is a free website for or hiring freelancers to do work for you online so you can post a new job here and say that you are looking for an editor for your book and then you can also go in and look at the lists of freelancers and so here's how you create the listing for your job and it's quite straightforward and if you're not sure how much to pay the person then that's okay you can just say that you're not sure or you can give a big range or you can just say like whether you want to pay someone a minimum amount or you want to pay someone who's more skilled and more experienced and then people are going to bid on your job and tell you how much they will do it for so it's okay if you don't know the exact right price you can also go in and look at these lists of freelancers and normally when you post a job it's a good idea to go find some people who seem like a good match to you and then invite them a to bid on your job because otherwise you might not have any good offers on your job for people who seem like they're really qualified and like they can really help you so you can click on any of these people the price range for hiring these people it varies greatly anywhere from about $4 per hour all the way up to a couple hundred dollars per hour probably but most of the time it's between about 10 and 30 or 40 dollars an hour but just remember that it's not all about finding someone who is cheap what is much more important is finding someone who can work fast and well because it would be way better to hire someone for 50 dollars an hour who can completely edit your whole book you know in five hours then to hire someone who only charges $10 per hour but it will take them a couple days and the end result won't be very good when I published my first book I actually hired two different people to edit it on top of all the edge' techni I was doing because each of them did an okay job but I was still finding mistakes so I wanted to run it through to people and to be honest even after I added it and two other people edit it there are still a couple typos so just be aware of that that you do have to find who is very careful and precise and you need to check their work it's often a good idea to hire them in phases so you say that you'll pay them a certain amount to edit the first couple chapters of your book and then you check their work and you see how it's going and then you can decide whether or not you want them to be editing the rest of your book and whether you want to pay for that or not so just know that you don't need to just hand someone your entire book pay them hundreds of dollars and then be like oh wait actually you did a terrible job okay so the next phase after you do this is that your book needs to be formatted so even if all the words are the right words and there's no typos it still has to be on the page in a particular way to show up right in the book because you don't want the lines to be weird or it to be in the wrong part of the page so honestly I would really recommend that you hire someone to do this for you because otherwise it's just going to be a skill that you have to learn and you won't be certain if you're doing it right now that it's super complicated it's just a very particular sort of thing but if you want to do it yourself you can download this free software called Scribus and it is very similar to Adobe InDesign it allows you to or to like format text on a page to look attractive like I said it's completely free and you can use that or if you have Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Publisher you could use either of those tools also the alternative obviously is to hire someone on up work to actually format your book you want to make sure that you are hiring someone who says that they can format an e-book and a paperback book or else you'll have to hire two people obviously which isn't the biggest problem but just know that the formatting for each of those formats is different so you do need two different book files then the next step is to get a cover design now there's a few different ways that you can do this but know that the cover design is so important honestly you know it's important for your book to be edited very well but what's even more important than that as far as book sales are concerned is your cover design because you need a cover design that really pops but also looks attractive and not tacky and you want your book to look like it's worth the money so there's a couple different options one is you could hire someone on up work or on Fiverr or something like that I don't like that option so much unless you know exactly what you want your book cover to look like already and you have a really good idea just because if you go one of those are at you will get one design and it's from someone who doesn't have the same vision for your book as you do and you don't even necessarily know how skilled they're so what I would recommend instead is to use the service called 99designs now this is not free so I'll get into that in a minute but basically 99designs is a place where you can put a kind of like an offer or you put a posting up that says what you want your design for you say that you want it for a book and what your book is about and then you say any specifications that you do want for your book design and then you have a lot of different graphic designers who bid on your jobs that you put up and how they bid on it is they actually make book covers for you and they make like draft of book covers and you can look at all of the different book covers and then you could choose the one you want and you only pay if you find one that you really like now if you do decide to pay then you pay $300 or more depending on how many designers you asked to bid on your job normally for like the 300 dollar fee you get somewhere between like 30 and 70 different designs and if you didn't give a lot of specifications they'll all be really different now that's great because if you don't know what she wants your design to look like this can be an amazing way to actually get different design ideas so then if you see one design that you like pretty well but you want some changes you can pay the fee and then you can start working with the designer and they'll normally give you a couple additional like changes to the cover so that you can get exactly how you want so a moderately expensive route but you end up with a really good result the alternative which is about the same price is to hire a graphic designer and I would recommend this woman I'd epheus if Evanson she works with a lot of different self-publishing authors this is a list of all of the book cover she's designed and as you can see down here here is my actual book cover for my own book but obviously she's designed a whole lot of book covers because she works with a few different people in the self-publishing industry and she charges a similar rate is a little bit more expensive I don't know what it is off the top of my head it might be four hundred and fifty dollars I think that's how much I paid her but yeah I would highly recommend her services she does an amazing job I think her designs are probably higher quality than most of the designs that you will see on 99designs so if you can give her a little bit more direction then this could be the best route if you really have no idea what you want then you might start here just to get ideas and if you want the cheapest route then I would definitely say you know look around get different ideas look at lots of different book covers find some that you think are attractive and that you think would fit well with your book and then give them to an upwork designer as inspiration and tell them you know what you want different in your book obviously do not copy but you can always use other people's art as inspiration and to help to communicate your ideas to one of these designers you can say like I like how this cover looks you know like I like how the font on this cover looks or I like the color on this cover instead of just trying to be like I want it to be a Bluegreen color that way you just have like a frame of reference basically so once you have your book cover designed and do make sure that you get a front and a back and a spine obviously books don't just have a friend they have to go all the way around then it's time to actually move on to the publishing so when you are self-publishing your own book you can just publish an ebook but I would highly recommend that you actually publish your book as a paperback and the reason for this is because a you make more money B it makes you look a lot more legitimate as an author and C it doesn't cost anything more so why not I think that you end up selling a lot more books both paperback and ebooks when you publish as a paper rack also because when there's a paperback copy of your book it looks so much more legitimate that people are a lot more likely to buy the e-book so for publishing the paperback I would recommend createspace which is a company that is very closely related to Amazon here you can see it's as an Amazon company originally it was not an Amazon company but Amazon like teamed up with them and now it has actually become an Amazon company so this is very simple once you have your different files ready so once your book is formatted properly and your cover design is formatted properly then self-publishing is a piece of cake so all you have to do is click start title for free and then you log in and then once you log in you tell them a name for the project and you tell them whether it's a paperback or not you CD or dvd obviously we're doing a paperback now it says you can do a guided or an expert now I would recommend that you probably do the guided because you really have all the same features that you normally would but it just they just help you out a little bit more in the process so then you just click get started and then you type in the title for the book or the subtitle and all of these things are very important so make sure that you fill them out very accurately this is all pretty straightforward so I'm not gonna go through all of this it walks you right through the process a great resource on this website for figuring as some different things out is if you go up here to books and then you click on publish a trade paperback then it takes you to this page right here and on this page you can find out a lot of different information about how the cover should be formatted and how the interior should be formatted they also have a lot of opportunities here to hire people to do this work for you I probably won't hire someone to do like art here for the cover but I might hire someone I haven't done this myself but to do the book formatting because I think that the people who would be working with them would be very familiar with this and that is the key to hiring someone to format your book properly it's someone who has a lot of experience because it's not necessarily very technical but I actually had some people mess up on mine and I had to have it redone because they just were not fully aware of all of these specification now if you're wondering how much you get paid it's a very valid question they have this cool tool in here where you can figure out how much you will get paid you have to tell them about your book so like black and white and then how big it is let's say it's six by nine and let's say your book is 250 pages so let's say that we're selling this book for $14.99 and then you push calculate down here okay so if it's sold on Amazon then you get paid five dollars if it's sold on there East or which you don't make nearly as many sales there but then you'd get paid eight dollars if it gets sold in a bookstore that's this then you'd get paid two dollars and if it got sold on Amazon Europe then you would get paid three dollars or if it was printed in continental Europe then it would be four well.not dollars obviously pounds and this is euros I believe um and this also shows the price that it would be being sold for over in Europe so that can give you a really good idea you can play with these numbers you can see like what if my book was longer then how much would I get paid and the answers you'd get paid less because their printing costs are a little bit higher if your book is shorter then you'll get paid a little bit more now one thing that's cool about this is that this is how much you get paid regardless of how much Amazon actually sells the book for so if you list it for $14.99 sometimes Amazon will put your book on for sale for $12.99 or 1099 but you will still get the same royalty which is just a really cool opportunity for my own book I do make right around five or six dollars very similar to this that's about the specifications of my own book for every book that is sold and that is actually much more than most people make with traditional book deals this number right here for being sold in a bookstore is a much closer number to the number that authors make with traditional publishing and so you'd make the same amount if your book got sold in a bookstore but because you're working more directly with Amazon you're able to get a much higher rate for sales on Amazon and I know that I said that this was free but if you were wondering like how that works exactly basically when or someone buys a copy of your book they actually print a copy of it right then and they a mail it to them the customer pays this much and you get paid this much they pay for the printing cost and they take a cut of the profit if you want to buy copies of it yourself it works very similarly but you get to buy them for a lot cheaper because you're not paying your part of the profit obviously so you can type in the same things down here to find out how much your book will actually cost for you to buy copies of it let's say you want to buy 10 copies of it then you would pay 325 each that's pretty common for these books which means you know that's a low enough cost that you can actually self publish them buy them this way for 325 each and then be able to sell them locally if you want to now the final step in the publishing process is to publish it on Kindle now there is a way to publish an e-book through CreateSpace you can like check a box somewhere in the publishing process and say yes I want it to be an e-book too but it doesn't end up getting listed in quite the same way and it's a little bit harder for people to find and for you to edit so I wouldn't recommend doing that I'd recommend eBook publishing directly with Kindle direct publishing this is also a really simple process now what you will see when you got here though is that you can do a Kindle eBook or you can do a paperback so you can't actually do the same thing that you do with create space via Kindle now right now I would not recommend that because they're paperback printing still is in beta and not only is it not completely streamlined but also the rates that they pay are not quite as good as the CreateSpace rates right now and CreateSpace just work so well that i would go that route i think that eventually they're probably going to phase out create space I don't know for sure but seems like since they've brought paperback in to Kindle Direct that that's probably the route that they are going but for now create space works really well and this is not as tested so I would use this just for publishing the e-book so you can see down here my own book and you can see that I'm selling my ebook for 690 Amazon and for every $6.99 transaction that I sell on Amazon I make about four dollars four to five dollars so it's a little bit less than it is for the paperback but it is a greater percentage because there isn't the printing costs I think that Amazon takes about the same cut but there's no printing cost involved so you get to keep all of the rest of it so when you want to start your own ebook then you just click add a Kindle eBook and then you'll basically go through the exact same process you'll just be uploading the actual files for your book and the cover files it's very similar here you just type in your book title and subtitle make sure that you do enter good keywords that will help people to find your book so that's kind of your search engine optimization here but know that you can get really fancy with the description you can actually put some HTML into here and make your description be a lot more dynamic with like bolded text or big text and different things like that but also you can put keywords in here to help people find your book on Amazon better Amazon lets you select two different categories to list your book in and this affects how your book does a lot because these categories are very specific it's not just like fiction or nonfiction inside of nonfiction you can find a whole lot of subcategories like architecture but then inside of architecture adaptive reuse and renovation or codes standards criticism so it gives a very detailed and you get to choose two different of these categories but the reason that it matters so much is because different categories are competitive differently so one of them might be extremely competitive there might be a million books in a category and another category it might be very not competitive now here's why this matters because when your book comes out and a certain number of people buy it especially when they buy it right away if you are in a very competitive category then even if you sell 100 copies of your book that's nothing and you're not anywhere near the most popular book in that category so you don't get any boost from this but if you choose a very popular category with not very many books in it then you sell 100 copies of your book that might put you into a best-selling status for that specific category now why that matters is because once you get into that best-selling status you then get featured on the front page of different parts of Amazon so in a person goes and clicks on that category they will see you up in the number-one spot right away and it also can mean that you get featured in the like one hundred most popular books for that day this can give your book a huge boost and it's a strategy that I highly recommend so once you fill out all these things then you just click Save and continue and then here you can see is that the next step content you'll just actually upload the book and then you will decide on the actual pricing and they do help you out with that they give you some recommendations and then you can actually decide when you want it to be published you can give them a specific date you want it to come out even if you do everything right when you self publish your book that is no guarantee that it will be successful just sticking it up on Amazon and then you you know you post about it on Facebook and you tell your mom about it and your best friend and you know you'll get maybe a handful of sales your closest family and friends will buy it but beyond that there is so many books on Amazon that your book will just get lost in that abyss of all those books and no one will ever find it even if it's an amazing book and even if you publish it properly so in order to take care of that there are a few more steps that you need to take and these things don't have to be super extensive fancy marketing tactics or anything like that but there are just some basic little tweaks that you can make when you're going through the publishing process things like what day you scheduled your book to be released on how you announce it where you announce it picking the right category to actually publish your book and where that's not that competitive and some different things that you can do with offering your book for free for a limited period of time to give it a big boost in the rankings different things like this so I put together this checklist for you that details these things it's just like a simple checklist with a list of all the different things that you need to do in order for it to be successful and I also wanted to let you guys know that later this month at the end of November on November 29th I'm going to be hosting this best-selling a book launch a workshop this is a paid workshop it cost twenty nine dollars but inside the workshop I'm going to be going through everything you need to do to have a really successful book launch so basically everything that is on that checklist I'm going to be actually showing you how to do it and then at the end we will also have a Q&A session so if there's anything that you are unclear about or specific questions you have about launching your book then we will get to all of those things as well but you will be getting the 90-minute workshop and also include a workbook and I'm adding in a bonus of two free chapters of my own best-selling Amazon book so that is an amazing deal for just $29 so if you're interested in joining us for that workshop and learning how to turn your first book into a best-seller then head on over to the link that's down in the description bar below it's just Gillian perkins calm slash bestseller – books – launch – workshop but I'll pop the link down below and I hope that you decide to join us because this will really have a huge impact on how successful your first book ends up being I really hope that you enjoyed this video and you found the information helpful if so it would really help me out if you gave this video a thumbs up by clicking that like button down below I make two videos every single week about entrepreneurship intentional living and success if you haven't already I would love to have you subscribe so that you can join me for the next one all you have to do is click that big red button that says subscribe and it's completely free thank you so much for watching my name is Gillian Perkins of Gillian Perkins calm and I hope you join me for my next video

39 thoughts on “How to Self-Publish Your First Book: Step-by-step tutorial for beginners

  1. Thank you ,you gave me great insight I have a book that I want to get out I have so many ppl waiting I jus didn't know where to begin it's my life story and o know it will sell everyone that has the rough draft think am crazy for not writing my story I want this so bad but I jus don't have the money but have the time and new laptop that was brought for me from my daughter because she says she believe in me her and my twin sister says I have to write this book and other am a great story teller but my life story is crazy ppl would not put the book down and that is a fact if there is anyone that can help me further my name is the same on fb as here on YouTube am also a cancer survivor and have
    MS i been through alot and have a story that will help other to live and move on in life I jus need more encouragment thank you your a beautiful soul for sharing your tips thank you ❤️😘 ❤️😘 ❤️ pls if you also have more work shop pls I will pay and be front row new sub !!!!!! Thanks 😘

  2. I thank you for your video. It is guiding me very well in the self publishing of my book. I wanted to ask you how did you get book testimonials ?

  3. It would have been helpful to show the web pages you metion as some times I am uncertain as to what you've said. For instance, the website "Google-Lee" having trouble finding it. Have tried "googlele," "google-ly," "googley," "googlelee," and so on.

  4. I tried searching my ebook by title on amazon today and its not showing in the results. It was showing a coupe weeks ago. I don't know what to do!

  5. You said free but you show I need to pay more than 2000 dollars in your video, It would be better to give to the publisher and they do all this wasting time

  6. I am Greg’s son I found an old screenplay I did when I was 12 in my computer docs when I was 9 I wanted to make a show on Netflix I don’t know what to do

  7. Great video,thanks for the ideas.I am writing a book in my first language which is Spanish,as soon as i finish i would like to translate it to English.Any idea on how to do this ?Thank you ..

  8. Should I opt for 35% royalties or 70% royalties? If I opt for 70% royalties, they'll be able to lend the book and that's what troubles me.

  9. For a Children's Book with Illustrations already…how do you get a Cover that flows with the Illustrations?

  10. This was.. unbelievable great information…I am going to so use these tips.. …for the two books I wrote..❤
    Thank you for this video ❤

  11. Hey I hear of persons having problems with these things that sound so good. What are some of the problems we can expect?

  12. Thanks for the tips. It has been hard having people find my books in the sea of books on Amazon. Thanks for the tips about changing the catergories. I will try it…

  13. this video is amazing, although unfortunately (by no fault of yours) i do think createspace has been all but phased out… although, i'm a very new person to the platform so i'm curious if the Amazon paperback option is better since this happened?

  14. I love your video. It is helping me a lot. I wanted to ask you though, how does one acquire testimonials for a book and how does one insert them into the back-cover?

  15. The publishing process is geared towards traditional book publishing. I think digital book publishing should be more like publishing software or Software as a Service (SaaS).

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed you video. Two issues you it appears you did not touch: 1. how to deal with copyright when publishing on create space, and 2. how do you deal with the ISBN number. Your comments on these two would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

  17. thank you for making this video. it was helpful. I want to write my book for a while now, but just had no push to publish it thank you very much

  18. Great Video.. New YouTuber beginning journey of becoming a hybrid published author.. self for Poetry & traditional for everything else! Excellent information to unpack. Can’t wait to enjoy more!

  19. I’m 13 and I see so many people in the comment section who are around or near my age. I wish I knew people like this irl so I could write a book with someone.

  20. I am writing a book right now. It is about a dog finding the way of life, and finding his girl. I love dogs+books+writing so i thought i could write a chapter book its like 30 chapters. Hope it goes in!

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