Self-publish a great nonfiction book: What to do after writing

by Anna Kiousi

A common myth in publishing is that the hard work is over once you’re done writing your book. But what follows the writing process is just as important as the writing itself. In fact, what comes after might be more important, as how you prepare your book for publishing will largely determine its success. So, how do you prepare to self-publish your nonfiction book after writing it? Here is our step-by-step guide fit for first-time writers and return authors alike:

1.  Think about marketing (very) early

For the sake of all the work you’ve put into this project, don’t neglect the marketing. If no one knows you’re writing a book, no one is going to buy it on launch day (or thereafter).

The most affordable way you can market your book yourself is through social media. Use it to build or add to your audience as you count down to launch day:

  • Update your followers on the process: how do you feel, what have you learned etc.
  • Celebrate small milestones such as picking the final cover or finding an editor.
  • Interact with your audience by commenting and posting Q&As or polls.
  • Share sneak peeks and visually appealing quotes from your book.
  • Run a giveaway contest for advance or signed copies.
  • Look for alpha and beta readers to get early reviews.

There’s so much joy in creating excitement and a platform for your book with an online community!

🔔 Remember that the earlier you start letting people know you have something great in the works, the more likely it is your target audience will make its way to you.

2.  Find your editor or editing team

When you’re done working on your manuscript, it’s time for someone else to have a look, specifically, an expert editor. This should come as good news since, at this point, you’ve probably looked it over a hundred times yourself and could use a break.

✏️ Note: Some authors seek alpha beta reader feedback while others don’t. Either way is fine, but beta readers do not replace the need for an editor. Ideally, get beta feedback to help you self-edit before working with an editor.

This means it’s up to you to find the right editor or editing team for your book. You may be thinking “But how do I choose one?”. To identify the best person or people to work with for your book, you need to consider:

  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • What type of editing do you need?
  • Do you have any specific requirements or preferences for your editor?

If you need a little more help, feel free to read our blog on how to choose your editor or proofreader. You also need to be aware of editor red flags, so you don’t end up with an inexperienced or nightmarish editor.

❗And, we hope it goes without saying: yes, you do need an editor if you want your book to do well.

3.  Time for editing and proofreading

Now that you’ve hired your editor or team, it’s time to let them do their job. You’re probably wondering how long editing and proofreading will take at this stage, and the answer is that it really depends on your project.

✏️ Note: Some authors have their manuscript proofread before design and others after. If you’re unsure about the right order of services for your book, get in touch.

Some authors only need (or want) some light editing and proofreading to keep their book error-free, while other projects heavily depend on content editing so the book is well-structured and addresses its intended target audience.

If you’re wondering which is the right approach for you, you can ask our team or get in touch with our book coach to discuss your manuscript 1-2-1.

4.  Onto design and e-book creation

When the editing is finished, it’s time for your manuscript to transform from a Microsoft Word document into something that looks like a book. Words aside, your book needs to look good inside and out, and this is where cover design and typesetting come in.

With book covers, it’s a good idea to think about what you’d like your cover to look like. But be warned: don’t get too attached to your ideas and be open to changing them or letting some of them go (in fact, this is a great piece of advice for any stage of self-publishing). After you share your ideas with a professional cover designer, they will interpret them and make suggestions based on their experience and knowledge of what makes a good book cover.

With typesetting, you can also gather ideas on what you’d like the inside of your book to look like. However, typesetting is not just about the visuals but ensuring that your book looks professional and polished (such as checking all of the margins, word placements, and blank pages).

You can DIY this part using software if you feel confident, but reach out to us if you want a professional typesetter to take care of your book and turn it into a potentially award-winning design.

Your typesetter will also create an e-book version of your book so it’s available in multiple formats.

5.  Self-publishing (and the most important final step!)

When your book is all formatted correctly and beautifully designed, it’s ready for upload. There are various platforms where you can self-publish your book, with the most well-known and widely used being Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

If you want your book to be orderable in physical bookstores (this doesn’t mean they will stock it, just that they can), it also needs to be uploaded to IngramSpark, and you will need to buy an ISBN.

If you need help with self-publishing platforms such as which to choose and how to upload, we can help.

And… you’re published!

Now what? Again, it’s a myth that all the hard work is over once launch day is here.

So what can you do to market your book once it’s out?

  • Participate in Amazon Kindle free promo days
  • Share reviews, and thought leadership content to entice your audience
  • Run paid ad campaigns on Amazon or social media (a professional marketer can help you with that).
  • Organise giveaways

All in all, talking about your book once it’s out might just be the most important step to its success!

We have a dedicated blog on the book marketing trends we think you should follow, but how you market your book post-launch is really up to you. However, if you prefer to leave marketing up to the professionals, we’ve got you covered – chat with us here.

Bottom Line:

The key message here is that it’s not just about writing a great book. If your book is well written but looks poor, it won’t do well. And if you don’t market it in advance, it certainly won’t do well. Finally, if your book is not edited or proofread, you might sell copies, but you will get bad reviews once people start reading it.

Above all, self-publishing a nonfiction book is a rewarding journey! If writing and self-publishing a book sounds right for you, get in touch with us today.

📖 PS. Haven’t started writing yet? Here is how to get started (even with zero prior experience).