You have written a book. Now what?

Below is an outline of the steps to take to publish your book.

#1 – Get it professionally edited and proofread.

  • If you are still searching for a good editor, look no further. Cindy Draughon has edited hundreds of manuscripts, from children’s books to fiction to non-fiction. She offers comprehensive book editing services, bringing both an intuitive edge and professional expertise to her work. Her focus is to edit out issues and then further develop and polish the language, imagery and pace to ensure the book is both exciting and appropriate for the sensibilities of the reader.

#2 – Choose a platform—printer and/or digital.

The printer you select will have specifications for printing and, possibly, for helping to market your book. Some suggestions (but there are more, so do some research):

    • Amazon KDP – if you plan to list your book on Amazon
    • IngramSpark – if you plan to pursue other and/or more traditional markets 

If you plan to list it on Amazon AND pursue other avenues, consider choosing both KDP Print and IngramSpark.

    • Lulu
    • Blurb
    • Look for specialty publishers. For example, Balboa Press is the self-publishing division of Hay House, which publishes self-help/inspirational/spiritual-type books.

#3 – Choose a size.

This is needed early on, especially if you will be including images or illustrations. You will want them sized properly to fit the page. Example: Children’s books often have illustrations that bleed off the edge of the page. If the book/page size is known, the illustrator can size the illustrations and provide you a high-resolution file. General book sizes (in inches) for different genres are:

    • Mass Market Paperback 4.25 x 6.87
    • Young Adult 5 x 7 or Middle School 5 x 8
    • Trade paperback 5 x 8 to 6 x 9
    • Inspirational/Spiritual 5 x 8
    • Mysteries/Thrillers 5.25 x 8
    • Self-Help or Memoir 5.25 x 8
    • Business 5.25 x  8, 5.5 x 8.25
    • Nonfiction 5.5 x 8.5
    • Fiction 6 x 9
    • Hardback 6 x 9
    • Reference 6 x 9, 7 x 10
    • Textbook 6 x 9 and variations up to 8.5 x 11
    • Children’s picture book 8.5 x 8.5 or 7 x 10

Even though these are “standard,” you can select the size of your choice within the printer’s parameters.

#4 – Have any illustrations completed.

Or pull together any images you want to include. Don’t forget a picture of you to include on the author bio page!

Tip: Have your illustrations designed using RGB colors. RGB provides a richer, more vibrant color palette. Your book can be converted to CMYK with a click of a button after typesetting and layout are complete. What is the difference, you might ask? RGB colors are primarily for digital media. For the printed page, printing presses use a baseline of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) to build colors, so documents and books with images and illustrations in color need to be converted to CMYK.

#5 – Get the cover created.

And have it based on the size you have chosen and the printer specifications. Don’t forget about the ISBN (which will be needed for the copyright page) and the barcode (to place on the back cover). You will want this ISBN if you plan to market your book widely. It is your book’s personal identification number and allows distributors, bookstores, libraries and more to easily purchase and track the sale of your book. [For more information. see our post ISBNs and Barcodes.]

There are different avenues to getting an ISBN. is the main source in the United States. If you will be writing several books, you can bulk-buy ISBNs.

Some publishers might provide you an ISBN for free, but it will be for their use only. For example, if you use Amazon’s free ISBN, you can only use that ISBN for that book at Amazon. You will need a different ISBN for the same book elsewhere. Better to have your own.

#6 – Choose a typesetter – ME!

Once you have selected a typesetter (ME!), you will need to provide the following material:

    • Cover, if you have it (and even if it is not yet completed. I often use this to get ideas for typeface, font, and other small design elements for the book, depending on the genre.)
    • Title, subtitle (if any), and complete author name
    • Copyright information (include ISBN if you have one)
    • Dedication
    • Acknowledgments, if any
    • Author bio and photo (if you want to include one)
    • Text – the FINAL, FINAL version of your body copy with all editing done. (Inevitably, you might have some minor corrections or text changes along the way, which I can incorporate.)
    • Illustrations, graphics, images, figures, tables, and other added material
    • Will you need a table of contents (TOC) or an index? I can generate both. TOCs are part of the book generation. There will be an extra charge for an index. Please note: TOCs and indexes are not needed for ebooks.
    • Any specifications or instructions you have or layout ideas you have in mind
    • Printer selection