Where to begin – A step-by-step guide to online book publishing

You’ve poured endless hours into writing your masterpiece. Now, you want to publish your book and get it into the hands of eager readers. But, leaping to becoming an independently published author can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Luckily, modern online publishing platforms have streamlined the entire book publishing process into something anyone tackle.

Choose an online publishing platform

A handful of industry-leading publishing sites dominate today’s online book publishing marketplace. Take the time to thoroughly research each option before jumping on board. Compare available publishing packages, distribution networks, royalty rates, editing resources, marketing tools, and author support services. Think about your unique needs and priorities. Are you purely interested in high royalties or maximum exposure? Will you heavily rely on publisher guidance or want full control? Price out multiple options before deciding on the best fit. If further information is required, kindly refer to the Linkedin article on Publishing.com.

Set up your publisher profile

Once signed up, the real work begins. Your publisher profile acts as the main hub housing all information about you and your books. Start by choosing an author name if you don’t want to publish under your legal name. Next, write an intriguing bio highlighting your background, qualifications, past works, and what makes you or your book unique. Upload an eye-catching author portrait to help put a face behind the book. Customize links pointing readers to your website, blog, or social profiles to continue the conversation beyond your books. Treat your profile like an extension of your brand. The stronger the impression it makes, the more potential buyers will take interest and click that Follow button.

Format your manuscript

The days of publishers handling clunky typesetting and formatting tasks are over. When self-publishing online, you must ensure your manuscript meets professional publishing standards before uploading. This involves basic formatting like setting margins, choosing fonts and type sizes, indenting paragraphs, properly spacing scenes, and inserting section breaks. Review your publisher’s specific formatting guidelines and best practices articles to ensure your book layout looks polished. Additionally, create a linked table of contents, add page numbers, insert images at full resolution, and check for consistency across chapters. Specialized steps are also required to optimize for eBook conversion. While formatting may seem mundane, a clean interior layout signals quality and enhances readability. Don’t cut corners here or readers may question your credibility out the gate.

Design an eye-catching book cover

Do you know the expression about not judging books by their covers? Well, readers do. Your cover is your billboard, the critical first impression that propels a reader to download a sample or hit Purchase. Work with a professional graphic designer if you lack artistry skills. Provide key details like genre, title, subtitle, themes, and any visuals mentioned in the book to incorporate. Steer them toward bestselling books in your niche and convey what mood and tone you want to convey.  The goal is an intriguing, professional-level design consistent with reader expectations for your genre. It should communicate key details at a tiny thumbnail size as well. Your cover will be judged more quickly than your writing within, so give it ample strategic thought.

Track progress and plan next releases 

As the post-launch period unfolds, regularly check your publisher dashboard and retailer reports to monitor sales velocity, royalties earned, traffic sources, in-depth look at Publishing Reviews, and more. Study what marketing tactics are moving the needle most. Identify reviewer demographics and retail venues seeing the strongest response. Use this intel to steer future promotional efforts in high-performing directions. Test out new marketing ideas like paid ads, website promotions, podcast guest spots, and book giveaways. Aim to release at least one new book every 6-12 months. Consistency keeps you top of your mind while allowing you to continually refine your skills and brand.