FAQsAnswers to your frequently asked questions about self publishing
What are the advantages of self publishing?
Traditional publishing houses reject 98% of all unsolicited manuscripts. This is largely due to the fact they cannot guarantee to make money on unknown authors. Consequently, it is very difficult for new writers to achieve their goal of transforming their hard work into a printed book. In addition, as most book production decisions are made by the publisher, authors often don’t have much say in the creative design of their book.
The main advantage of self publishing is that, as the author of your book, you retain control throughout the publishing process. You are able to provide input into all aspects of your book’s production including cover design, title, illustrations, formatting, printing, as well as promotion and marketing of your book.
Printed book or eBook – which is the best format for self publishing?
There are benefits to both types of book formats. In terms of printing costs, eBooks are cheaper to publish than printed books. However, not everyone has the technological capability to read an eBook (e-readers, tablets etc) so you could be restricting your readership if you decide to only publish an eBook. If your budget is limited, eBooks are a great place to start, but if you can afford to publish your manuscript as a printed book it will widen your potential readership. Also, printed books are generally easier to read than reading from a screen. And, for any author, there is something truly magical about holding your printed book in your hands!
What is Print on Demand (POD) publishing?
Print on demand publishing (or POD) is an innovative and affordable method of book printing using digital technology. Instead of having to bulk print a large quantity of books (and then store them), print on demand gives you the flexibility to only print single copies of your book as and when it’s ordered. This also means that your book can be available for an extended period of time without becoming ‘out of print’.
Print on demand is a great way to keep your publishing costs down. It is also the recommended route if you want to sell your books with online retailers such as Amazon and Book Depository. There is a set up charge to upload your book files prior to printing. Following that, customers are able to order your book, and a copy is printed off and shipped directly to them without further cost to you.
What is an ISBN and do I require one for my book?
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 10- or 13-digit identification number that uniquely identifies any published book worldwide. The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher. An ISBN is assigned to a book title by its publisher for tracking and ordering purposes. It allows publishers, librarians, and book sellers to locate specific titles and maintain their inventories.
If you plan to sell your book in bookshops or through online retailers, you will need to obtain an ISBN. Moreover, each version of your book – paperback, hardcover, second edition, ePub etc. – will require a separate ISBN.
In Australia, ISBNs are available for purchase as a single identification number or in blocks of 10 from Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services. A definite benefit of having an ISBN for your book is that once you register it with your title data in your account on the MyIdentifiers website, your book is listed in Books in Print – the quintessential book publishing record used by all commercial book retailers and also libraries.
Do I need a ISBN barcode for my book?
If you intend to publish a printed version (paperback or hardback book – i.e. a physical object your customer will receive) of your book in order to sell it through a ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshop or via an online book retailer such as Amazon, you’ll require a barcode encoded with an ISBN. This barcode is placed on the back cover of your book in the lower right corner near to the spine. Barcodes are not necessary for ISBNs which are being used for electronic versions of books such as mobi or ePUB files.
What is the Prepublication Data Service (provided by the National Library of Australia)?
The National Library of Australia manages the Prepublication Data Service – offering a free cataloguing service to publishers in order to provide a comprehensive record of new books published by Australian writers. The catalogue record for your book is added to the Australian National Bibliographic Database (Trove) which provides advance notice of newly published books to libraries, booksellers and the general public.
Before applying to the Prepublication Data service you must first obtain a valid Australian ISBN. Applications for your prepublication catalogue entry are processed instantly and you will be able to view your book’s record on Trove within 48 hours.
What is legal deposit?
According to Copyright Act 1968, it is a legal requirement for publishers (including self publishers) to deposit a copy of any printed book they publish in Australia with the National Library of Australia and their relevant state library.
What is an imprint page? Do I need to include an imprint page in my book?
Also known as the copyright page, the imprint page contains bibliographic information about a book and is generally printed on the verso (or back) of the title page. When deciding what to include on your book’s imprint page consider including the CiP data and ISBN as well as a copyright line. Details of the editor, designer and printer may also be included. As part of our commitment to high-quality book production, all books produced by Brisbane Self Publishing Service contain a comprehensive imprint page.
Should I have a manuscript appraisal done before publishing my book?
A manuscript appraisal is a written editorial report reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript. It doesn’t offer solutions for fixing any of your writing problems. However, it does provide you with a yardstick against which you can gauge the current state of your manuscript and identify any areas that still require work.
A manuscript critique report is a good option for writers who have a hard time distinguishing flaws in their own work but are capable of fixing the problem areas once highlighted. It is also helpful for anyone still in the early stages of the writing process wanting guidance to ensure that their writing is reasonably polished before embarking on the (more costly) editing stage.
Does my book require professional editing? What does an editor actually do?
At Brisbane Self Publishing Service we consider professional editing (or, at the very minimum, proofreading) to be a crucial step in ensuring the success of your book. One of most common problems with self published books is the occurrence of easily avoidable spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos. Anything that compromises the reader’s experience will detract from their appreciation of your book and their overall assessment of your ability as a writer.
Many new authors think that once they finish their first draft manuscript, an editor will ‘fix’ everything for them and that their book will be immediately ready for publication. This is a critical misunderstanding of the editing role in the publishing process. A professional editor will typically suggest changes that will make your book tighter and more cohesive. They might recommend re-writing certain sections and/or changing the order of your ideas (or whole chapters). In addition, they might recommend that you elaborate on an idea, trim something down, or even delete whole sections of your manuscript that are redundant. Likewise, they may point out inconsistencies in point-of-view, verb tense or continuity, and make suggestions about how best to fix them. Finally, a copy editor will read every line of your manuscript – word by word, checking spelling and grammar, as well as sentence structure, continuity and repetition. Often they will prepare an editorial style sheet, noting such things as preferred spellings, how numbers are shown, and abbreviations, so they appear consistently throughout the book.
Why should I get my book's interior pages professionally typeset?
A well-formatted and designed book is critical to your success as an author. You have worked hard on your manuscript and may have spent money to have it professionally edited. However, without an attractive page layout design and proper formatting to ensure the best possible reading experience for your audience, your book may not get the attention it deserves.
Professionally formatted text is an important aspect of book design. A clear hierarchy and readable typeface help to create an interior page layout that is inviting to your readers. When you examine self-published books that stand the test of time and that constantly make the bestseller lists, all of them have been formatted and typeset using professional desktop publishing software such as Adobe InDesign
What is the purpose of an index?
An index is typically placed at the back of a book and can include any word, topic or term that you think might be useful for readers, together with the page number on which it is found. If you have written a complex reference, historical or educational manuscript then an index might be a beneficial addition to your book. Standard novels or memoirs do not usually require an index.
Before deciding whether to include an index in your book, you should be aware that they can be very time consuming and difficult to construct and update. If something changes in the manuscript, the index must be updated each time to ensure the page numbers are still correct. At Brisbane Self Publishing Service we use professional indexing software to ensure your book’s index meets best practice industry standards.
I have an idea for an image for my book's front cover. Can you create it for me?
The front and back cover designs we produce for your book depend on what you have in mind. We do not create content for book covers, meaning that we do not do photo-shoots or produce original illustrations. However, there are tens of thousands of amazing illustrations and photographs available in stock photo libraries. We recommend DepositPhotos.com where you can browse by subject and style, and find an image you prefer (or we can locate one for you). Let us know which image you would like to use, and we can download it and use it as the basis for your book cover. We’ll design a unique front and back cover to complement your book size and page count and add the barcode with your ISBN.