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How I Self-Publish My Books

Thank you to the Sylvan Lake Library for inviting me to do an author talk via ZOOM. During my presentation, I said that I would share some key learnings. So, here it all is, in brief.

I would caution you that even if something worked for me, it may not work for you. Please conduct your own due diligence and ensure that you consult legal advice.

The other thing is that I'm Canadian, so this is what works up here. This said, if you don't live in Canada, I believe that much of all this can also still be applied.

Alrighty.... let's get started....

So, you've got a great story idea....or, maybe you've written a few lines already....or, even an entire book. Now, what do you do?

STEP 1: Pitch or self-publish?

The first thing that you will need to decide is if you want to pitch it to a publisher or self-publish.

I decided to self-publish. I’ve been happy doing so, but to be honest, it’s quite a bit of work. You need to be prepared to invest a lot of time! But, if I can do it, so can YOU!

STEP 2: Copyright your idea

Again, I must reiterate that you should consult a lawyer or legal advisor for any of this.

To protect your idea, you will need to copyright via the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) which is a federal agency responsible for the administration and processing of intellectual property rights in Canada, including the registration. Here is the link:

The cost is $50 if you do it all online, and it takes about 2 weeks to get your certificate. It’s great to get an official government certificate that you can frame!

STEP 3: Register for an ISBN

What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for ‘International Standard Book Number’ and is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. This means that you will need to get one for your book.

As a Canadian publisher or self-publisher, you can apply to obtain an ISBN through the ISBN Canada online system, or request that a form be sent to you by email, fax or regular mail.

STEP 4: Design a book cover

How do you design a book cover?

I've been working hard to learn PhotoShop so that I can create my own art for my books, like I did for the Q&A Kids series. But for SkyTalons, I'm NO WHERE close to doing my own cover!

I used which has been a great experience! However, you do get what you pay for, so you need to expect that it may not be perfect. You may have to go back to ask for changes a number of times. I would suggest that you get a package that includes modifications.

The cost varies, but I’d say that if you want good results, you can expect to pay $100 - $200. But there are even less expensive options.

STEP 5: Final editing & proof reading

If you can afford to get a professional editor or proof-reader, I would highly encourage you to do so! But be prepared to spend around $1,000.

If you’re like me, and can’t afford this, get a team of “beta readers” that have a keen eye for detail and are good at spotting errors. Having many people with their eyes on every page will reduce your risk of errors. But here’s a tip: do not stress - you will likely have at least one mistake! Even the most popular and successful books can have errors.

STEP 6: How to self-publish

I have self-published both eBooks and printed books.

Rakuten Kobo is great for those that like eBooks. Their system is super easy to navigate but they do not do print versions yet.

Amazon offers your book in both digital and print versions. The great thing about Amazon is that they offer a “print on demand” service for free. This means that you won’t have big boxes of books in your garage waiting to get sold.

Here's the good news: you don’t need to choose one or the other, unless you choose to be exclusive to one. I've published with both.

STEP 7: Promote your book

If you think that writing is hard, promoting your book is what I found to be the toughest part of all! I suggest that you start with your local libraries – let them know that you’re a local author and provide them with your book descriptor, ISBN, and any other information they might need.

Pitch your local paper, and publicize with a church or community group. Seek out book fairs that will promote you, and allow you to sell your books.

I hope this helps. I believe in you! Good luck!!



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