How to Publish a Book in 2020: Tips for New Authors

If you tried learning how to publish a book in the past, then you would have got pointed in the direction of a traditional publisher. In fact, that still happens a lot of the time since most people are under the belief that all successful authors are working with traditional publishers. But that’s far from the truth.

Self-publishing is the method that most authors are opting for in 2020. The only problem here is that beginners get swept away in the sheer volume of everything that must be done to self-publish their book. This guide is written in a way that will help guide and direct new authors toward their goal of learning how to publish a book.

What is the Cost of Self-Publishing a Book?

One of the biggest concerns with those new to self-publishing is the cost associated with it. This can be quite an intimidating topic. Plus there is so much misinformation online and so many different opinions. Here are a few facts.

First of all, new authors can theoretically publish a book without it costing anything, but that’s not recommended. Assuming they do everything themselves – editing, cover design, marketing – then it would cost nothing. However, writers are not editors, a common misconception made by those inexperienced to publishing. This will be explained in more detail later in the post.

With that in mind, I encourage new authors to invest in the success of their book. Otherwise, their chances are quite slim. Here are some of the factors that will affect cost.

  • Length of the book. This affects everything from editing to printing costs.
  • Book Editing Fees.
  • Cover Design Fees
  • This one is too important to skip.

Tip #1: Get Feedback Before Sending the Book to an Editor

It’s important to start getting feedback as soon as possible when writing and publishing a book. This feedback is a step most new authors miss and it can save a lot of money in the end.

Both fiction and non-fiction books need beta readers so this is a great time to get creative. Writers tend to get swept up in their writing and will retreat to a place where their mindset is centered on the message or story that they want to convey. So it’s easy to miss things that will be seen from an outside perspective.

A fresh perspective will provide ideas that will tighten up the book and will help provide insight that improves the readability of the book.

Furthermore, the tighter the book is before sending it to an editor, the lower the editorial costs will be. This is a win-win situation!

Finally, put the book through powerful tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor. While it’s important that an author not depend on software, these tools can provide a few insights that might not have been considered.

Tip #2: Editing is the Most Important Step in Publishing a Book

When new authors ask how to publish a book, the first piece of advice that the majority of experts will provide is going to be “hire an editor.”

Seriously, that is the single best piece of advice that an author will ever receive. Editing will make or break the success of a book. It’s going to be the difference between publishing a mediocre book and potentially becoming a best-selling author.

Fortunately, there are some amazingly affordable editors on Upwork so that’s going to be the best place to start.

Then make sure that the editor is a good fit. Pay a smaller fee for a trial edit of a smaller portion of the book to make sure they are compatible. Even the best editors will not be compatible with all authors so this is an essential step. Most freelance editors will actually recommend this step. It’s much cheaper to invest $25-$50 in a trial edit than it is to waste hundreds for an incompatible editor who does not provide what your book needs.

Tip #3: Design an Amazing Book Cover

Books are judged by their cover, a fact expressed a lot by professionals and goes against everything people are raised to believe. When selling any product (including a book), there is a process called the “Buyer’s Journey.” Mapping out this journey is essential when selling, well, anything.

The buyer’s journey for buying a book starts with a search. That search can be performed by either browsing through categories or by using specific keywords.

The reader will then see a list of books and their covers. Books with covers that stand out are going to grab attention so in order for a reader to actually read a book description, they will have to be compelled enough by the cover to actually click it. Most new authors lose their buyers on this step because of a mediocre cover.

It doesn’t matter how well-written a book is, if the cover is subpar, then no one is ever going to read at it. Here are some tips to ensuring a cover design compels readers to click through.

  • Don’t get too fancy. Try keeping the styles simple so that the message and theme of the book is clear. Studies show that minimalist covers convert more readers than fancy, elaborate covers.
  • Hire a professional cover designer. Professionals understand the items on the cover that will actually convert into clicks. This goes beyond the artistic design.
  • Make sure the title and subtitle are both clear and easy to read, even when the cover is viewed as a thumbnail.
  • The design theme must be a fit for its intended audience.

Tip #4: Make Sure the Book is Formatted Properly

This is a step that authors can do themselves but only if they have the technical knowledge to properly design the interior of their book. Take a look at the Amazon Forums and see all of the specifications for formatting a book for Kindle.

There are also a lot of free resources that will help with formatting. With that said, if you’re unsure about your ability to properly format your book, then you will need to hire a professional.

It’s essential that your book be laid out in a way that’s as professional as possible. This must be done perfectly.

In short, if you don’t understand what the terms reflowable and fixed layout mean, or if you don’t understand basic HTML and CSS, then you’ll want to hire a professional. If you are fluent in these terms, then this can be done yourself.

Make Sure you Understand How to Publish Your Book

It’s important that you understand how to publish a book before taking such a huge step. Writing a book is a huge accomplishment in itself but it’s only about half of the work involved with publishing. The rest is all technical and requires the right skills to execute.