How I self-published my business book

How I self-published mu busienss book blog post

I have self-published a business book!

My eBook is called Tall Tartan Talks: My Collection of blog Posts – Tips on Running a Business. I’ve written it as a freelancer for freelancers, sharing many tips I’ve learnt while running my proofreading business.

I used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). If you would like to buy my book, the link is at the end.

I will explain the how, what and why of the process.

Why did I self-publish?

I have been asked why I used the process of self-publishing. Mainly I did it because my indie children’s book authors asked me about the process. They were looking for support. I wanted to answer their questions.

When I had a lull in proofreading work, I realised I had the time to implement my project.

What did I write?

I already had a collection of over 30 blog posts on my website which I had written to support other freelancers. Why not copy the draft versions from Word and paste them into a single document, I thought? Rather than write something new I could create one manuscript using writing I already had.

If you have an idea for a fiction or non-fiction book, for adults or children, do write it. And keep writing. If the ideas flow, great! When you’ve finished a draft, ask friends / colleagues to read it. This will gauge if the audience thinks your book works. You will feel the need to redraft your manuscript several times.

How did I format my book?

Each blog post is around 1,000 words; the collection totalled around 30,000 words.

Once I had created my manuscript I spent time copyediting the text. I ensured consistency with the styling of subheadings and use of terminology. I added to my style sheet.

I spent a further week proofreading the manuscript. By then I realised I was far too close to the text and fed up with it. I knew there must still be errors, but I wasn’t in a position to look at it objectively.

Using a trained editor or proofreader

I needed an independent, fresh pair of eyes; I needed a proofreader I could trust and who appreciated my blog posts. A kind edibuddy offered her proofreading as a skill swap – in return I would proofread her blog posts. She provided a comprehensive service in an efficient way.

Asking someone else to check your text is essential before publishing. I recommend you either:

  • Pay a trained copyeditor to style your Word document. Or …
  • Pay a trained proofreader. This could be the same editor you ask to copyedit your manuscript. Many freelancers provide both services – though a gap in time between passes is recommended for fresh eyes.

Ideally your professional would be trained by a trusted organisation like the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (ciep.uk).

Creating a Table of Contents

Once I had formatted my Word document with styles for levels of headings, I could insert a Contents page.

I needed help to format the page numbers so that page 1 started at the beginning of Chapter 1 after the Contents page rather than on the first page of my manuscript. I found some support in the Amazon KDP Help pages. In the end my edibuddy formatted the page numbers for me.

Creating a book cover

I was certain I would self-publish my book in the form of an eBook as the cover, as, being a single page, it would be simpler to design.

I designed my eBook cover by finding a template in Canva. I used the tartan which is the design on my website and replicated my website fonts. That way I could keep my design consistent with my branding.

The cover of a paperback includes the front cover, spine and back cover in one template. I tried using KDP Cover Creator. Its limitations meant that I couldn’t use the fonts on my website as they weren’t available in the software. As I wanted to make my branding consistent, I would have to find another way to use my chosen fonts.

If you have many images to insert in your non-fiction or children’s picture book, I suggest you use a book designer who is skilled in formatting illustrations. I can recommend a couple.

Creating my KDP account

I completed the account details for my eBook. I could edit the details on my Amazon KDP Bookshelf. It was helpful that I could save, stop, or continue as time allowed.

KDP asks for personal and tax details to be completed. Next, enter the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). I bought mine from Nielson. Upload your content. Finally, choose a pricing option.

Consider when you want to tell your target audience that your book is available. Plan ahead because KDP needs at least 48 hours to process your account, your manuscript and cover.

Also consider, do you want your readers to pre-order? This is an effective strategy for advertising when your book will be published; it creates anticipation.

How I can help you to self-publish

I can help you self-publish depending on the type of book you want to write. My specialisms are non-fiction, education, middle grade chapter books and picture books.

If you want to self-publish an adult fiction book, that’s not my area, so I can’t help you. But I can refer you to edibuddies who can.

Buy my book

Amazon link to my book published in April 2024: Tall Tartan Talks: My Collection of blog Posts – Tips on Running a Business

Reading resources

I discovered many tips about self-publishing by being a Partner Member of the Alliance of Independent Authors: www.allianceindependentauthors.org

Strong arm. I did it!
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Writing a Children’s Book

writing a childfren's book blog post

Are you writing a children’s book? Are you an independent author who hopes to self-publish? Not sure how to go about it? I receive many proofreading requests from first-time authors seeking help. Most of the requests that I receive are from indie authors who have found my website and are seeking help to get their children’s book ready for self-publishing. The most common phrase is, I’ve written a children’s story. I am new to all this. What do I do next?” I thought it would be helpful if I put all the information that I give to clients here, in one place. Indeed some of this advice will answer questions asked by any indie authors, regardless of the audience age. So read on if you write any kind of fiction or are an editor for indie authors.

Proofread or proof-edit?

When you ask for help are you asking for a proofread or a proof-edit of your book? They are slightly different and I explain the difference in my services here. If you’re not really sure what kind of help you want, that’s fine.

Age bands in children’s books

I will ask you which age group you are aiming at, and what kind of story you’ve written. Generally, there are a lot of ways to categorise books. But all published children’s books must be given BIC marketing categories, which have specified age groups based on interest level (not reading level), so publishers will categorise their books into age bands.

Age bands

Children’s fiction and non-fiction are split into these age groups: 0-5 years, 5-7 years, 7-9 years, 9-11 years, 12+ years. Most non-fiction for primary age is for the 5-7, 7-9 and 9-11 ages. The 0-5 age group can be broken down into 0-2 and 3-5 to specify board books or picture books.

Terminology for each type of book

Board books 0-2 Picture books 3-5 Early Readers 5-7 Young Fiction 7-9 Middle Grade 9-12 Teen 12-15 Young Adult (YA) 16+

Genres (types) of children’s books

  • Fiction: fantasy, horror (eg Goosebumps), personal and social issues (by authors like Jacqueline Wilson)
  • Non-fiction: hobbies and interests, reference (for topic research, eg volcanoes).

Use bookshops for ideas

Visit any bookshop and flick through a variety of children’s books. Choose a selection of ages and genres. This will help if you are unsure of where to pitch the vocabulary in your book. Looking at a selection will give you examples of how the writing and illustrations are presented. Also, see how the speech (dialogue) is punctuated, if applicable.

Choosing an illustrator

children's book Have you written a book for younger children? You will need illustrations. Most new clients send me a Word document with the text. It would be useful to know how you visualise your story. The illustrations tell the story as much as the words do. Placement of the illustrations is crucial to the impact of your story. Have you chosen an illustrator? Have you thought about your cover?

If you need help choosing an artist, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has a directory (see below). From there you can choose a Partner Member who offers a service, eg illustration, book designer, etc. Perhaps you are going to illustrate your story yourself? Marvellous!

Writing a blurb

Have you written a blurb for your story? A blurb is a synopsis found on the back cover which summarises the story … without giving away the ending. There is a particular skill in keeping the blurb succinct. I can help you. I will offer to proofread your blurb, included as part of the final proofread of your PDF.

How can I help you?

I proofread children’s books using my decades of knowledge teaching reading in the primary classroom. Showing my students how to value books and enjoy well-written stories, I modelled how they could improve their writing by discussing how the stories were written. I continue to share reading time with my tutees as part of our tuition lessons. See the blog post I have written: How I Teach English

What next?

If you are a children’s author, see my Rates page for the packages I provide. I have supported several independent children’s authors to self-publication. They’ve told me they’ve seen my Partner Member profile in the directory of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Use the link to join.

Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) As mentioned earlier ALLi has a range of helpful resources and guidebooks to support indie authors in the self-publishing process from editing to designing to publication. You want to be proud of the book you’ve written. You need it to be the best it can be. Your editor or proofreader will polish your book or know who to recommend. Good luck! I look forward to seeing your book published.

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Sources

Source for children’s book age bands and categories – credit to Lisa Davis, Children’s Book Editor and Publishing Consultant. Fellow CIEP member.

Recommended resource: ‘Pen to Published Podcast’ by Alexa Whitten (independent book publisher) and Alexa Tewkesbury (author, editor and proofreader).

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Contact me by email to check my availability for proofreading non-fiction and children’s books.