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 seeing their hard work transformed into a published 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 entire publication process. You are able to provide input into all aspects of your book’s production, including cover design, title, illustrations, page layout/formatting, printing, as well as promoting and marketing your book to get it into readers’ hands.
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. However, if you can afford to publish your manuscript as a printed book, it will help to widen your potential readership. Also, printed books are generally considered to be easier to read than reading from a screen. And, as any new author will tell you, there is something truly magical about holding your printed book in your hands!
What is Print on Demand (POD)?
Print on demand (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 of keeping 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. Depending on which POD service you use (Amazon KDP Print, IngramSpark, Lulu etc), there may be a set-up fee associated with uploading your book’s interior pages and book cover PDF files for printing. Once your title is set up for POD, customers are able to order a single copy of your book, and it is printed and then shipped directly to them without further cost (or physical involvement) to you.
What is an ISBN and do I require one for my book?
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) 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 eBook 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 NLA Cataloguing Statement graphic and ISBN, as well as a copyright line. Details of the editor, designer and printer may also be included on this page.
As we are committed to producing a high-quality outcome, 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 concrete 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 require additional work.
A manuscript assessment is a good option for writers who struggle to identify flaws in their own work but can fix the problem areas once they are pointed out. It is also helpful for anyone who is still in the early stages of writing their book and wants some initial 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 (and marketability) of your book. One of most common problems with self published books are 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 role that an editor plays in the publishing process.
A professional editor will typically suggest structural changes to your manuscript that will make your narrative 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 they consider to be redundant. Likewise, they may point out inconsistencies in point-of-view, verb tense or continuity, and make suggestions about how best to fix them.
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?
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?
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 stock image libraries such as DepositPhotos and iStock where you can browse by subject and style in order find a high-resolution, royalty-free image you’d like incorporated on your book cover (or we can locate one for you). Once you have found an image you like, we can download it for you 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.