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DIY publishing: What you should, can, and really can’t do yourself

If you’ve decided to go the self-publishing route, you’ve probably already got an idea of what you want done to your book and what you think you can do yourself. Here is where we come in to point you in the right direction.

What you can do yourself

  • Interior layout and design: Most printers now supply templates online that allow you to pretty easily lay out your own interior (we provide one as well). By following a few instructions, you can produce a professional-looking book (though possibly generic).
  • Creating a print-ready PDF: This is a bit tougher than creating the layout, but if you have Adobe Photoshop Pro and are bit more technically proficient, this is definitely a doable task.
  • Promotion: Although this will take a lot of work, there are authors who do manage to do all promotion for their books alone. You’ll need a lot of research, time, and elbow grease.

What you need to do yourself

  • ISBN: As a self-publishing writer, you are required to obtain your own ISBNs.
  • Distribution: As well as getting an ISBN, you’ll need to submit your print book and/or ebook for distribution. (A breakdown of your distribution options is described in detail here.)

What you need a professional for

  • Editing: Your friend with the English degree is not a substitute for a professionally trained editor. Trained and experienced editors will catch problems with your plot, style, grammar, spelling, and punctuation that your friend will miss. Trust us; it’s worth it.
  • Cover design: Like editing, cover design is not something you can fake. (Take a look at the blog Lousy Book Covers if you want a reason!) Unless you have a design background and are familiar with design tools (like Adobe CS), hire a professional.