What You Should Know Before Self-Publishing

What You Should Know Before Self-Publishing

Very few people know what all goes into the publishing process. If you dream of a career as a writer, the more information you have on the marketplace and the publishing process, the better chance of making your dreams come true. Another reason you may want to jump into the publishing pool is creating an additional form of credibility and/or revenue. If you are an expert in any field, sharing your experiences and that expertise helps others around you grow as well. 

What is self-publishing?  


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Publishing Magazines

Successful magazines tend to have a special niche or have an identifiable distinction from other magazines on the market. Successful titles serve a relevance or a need for the consumer market they cover. When planning, ask yourself: what are the costs associated with publishing? And what are the total revenues earned? Evaluate your projected revenue and analyze the operating costs. Sources of revenue include advertisers, subscriptions and newsstand sales.

A great resource:

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To be successful, publishers need to address these questions:

  1. Is there a market big enough to support the magazine?
  2. Are there subscribers willing to pay for such a magazine? and how much are they willing to pay ?
  3. Are advertisers interested in reaching this market and willing to pay for ads to do so?


Concentrate on markets that you know very well. Listen to readers and advertisers and develop a product responsive to their needs. Look for readers who will need you in the future just as much as much as they need you today. Adopt good ideas whenever you come across them. Study the results of your actions to figure out how to keep good trends moving. The one thing you can count on is change, so make sure you have a plan set for a rainy day. Your publication will always need to evolve with the evolving needs and interests with the readers. Most magazines are easy to start but difficult to maintain, so make sure you plan very well before you leap into printing.


Publishing Books

While you’re still in the stages of finishing up your manuscript, you should also be conducting some market research. Scope out your local bookstore to get a better understanding of the market. Pay attention to how things are set up and envision where you want your book to be placed. Read books of same genre, by authors you’re unfamiliar with and note how they are packaged and priced. Build your credibility as a market-savvy author by showing publishers that you understand the market. Once you figure out exactly where your work belongs on the shelf, reflect that knowledge in the cover letter accompanying your submissions to agents or editors.

Book publishing is a lengthy process and a competitive business. Publishing houses rely on agents to bring them publishable possibilities. Timing is also very important. If you submit your manuscript for publishing, and an editor actually reads it, it can possibly be bumped for another work with a similar title. Today’s book industry is so competitive that most acquired manuscripts don’t require serious editorial fixes. Those needing lots of editing rarely make it past the agent. Scheduling of the book’s release could be anywhere from one to two years from the day of acquisition. The release date depends on time relevancy, how many other books are scheduled with similar titles, and when your publisher thinks your book has the greatest chance of success on the market. Publishers separate their list of titles into seasons and have a conference with sales reps who buy for the big chain bookstores. Then books are distributed and put on the shelves for sales.


Publishing E-Books

Surprisingly, publishing an e-book is not as daunting a task as it sounds. Once you’ve created your manuscript with trusted editors, you can work on formatting a layout for your online book. Choose a front page and relevant images, create a copyright page amongst other legal book matters, and create your cover page. Services like Nook, Kindle, and Apple all allow you to publish your e-book straight from your desktop, or you can even sell a PDF from your website through an e-commerce tool. As for your marketing, if you don’t already have an established audience, your ebook will be your catalyst to build one. The marketing, however, will require much time and investment. Build ongoing marketing into your schedule. Most importantly, plan ahead. In between writing sessions, make yourself familiar with the publishing process. Note where you feel strongest and where you think you may need other’s help.

Great read: 

Tips for a More Professional Layout Design

  1. Make sure your layouts are print friendly.
  2. Know your font types and choose them wisely. Pick something easy to read, especially if your work is particularly lengthy.
  3. Be careful with line and paragraph spacing: don’t make spaces so big that it looks amatuer, or too small that it’s unreadable.
  4. Don’t try to save pages by making the font super small. No one wants to squint or pull out the magnifying glass to read your work.
  5. Don’t forget page numbers and chapter titles if necessary.
  6. Watch for orphans (the first line of a paragraph ending a page) and widows (less than 10 words at the end of a paragraph at the top of a page). As you are making your final passthrough, fix them if they are particularly bothersome.


Publishing is a very competitive business. There are a number of entities to work with to ensure your published work is a success. Publishers help you to design the work, market, and work with advertisers. If you decide to publish your first work on your own, be sure to follow these guidelines, and learn from the process as to better improve your tactics should you try to publish another work beyond that.

Need some assistance? 

Design Moves has been doing editorial work since day one. If you either have a question or need guidance feel free to give us a call at:  (954) 338-3004  or email us at