Skip to content

14 Steps to Self-Publishing a Book (article)

As a new author, one of the most common questions I am asked is how to self-publish a book. So I decided to write this article to explain the 14 steps that I followed to self-publish my award-winning debut book, Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors.

The process of self-publishing my first book in eBook, paperback and hardcover versions took a little more than two months. I started this process in mid-August (2016) when I received the last of two dozen rejections for the book proposal that I had submitted to traditional publishing companies. Honestly, “plan A” was that a traditional publisher would pick up my book and I wouldn’t have to deal with self-publishing. When “plan A” didn’t work out, self-publishing was my only option. Ultimately, it worked out well because I learned a ton of useful information about the book publishing process, how to create a website, and how to run a small business. The best part is that self-publishing allows me to keep more royalties from each book sale as compared to traditional publishing. My self-publishing journey ended when I finally published my new book on Oct. 21, 2016 — what a great day that was!

The GOOD NEWS is that the internet is overflowing with advice on how to turn a manuscript into a self-published book available for sale to the general public. The BAD NEWS is that the amount of advice is huge and usually spread out in pieces here and there. Many times it’s hard to tell the solid, unbiased advice from that of vendors who are just pushing their services. Although I found several helpful resources on this topic (the best of which I share at the end of this article), none of them seemed to capture the exact practical steps required to self-publish a book like mine in one concise resource. To that end, I hope this brief article fills that need for other authors who are interested in self-publishing their books.

Here’s one last word of caution before I begin. What follows are the steps that I took to self-publish my book, but they are not necessarily the only way or the best way. Undoubtedly, there are faster and easier ways to self-publish. For example, you could hire a full-service vendor to do all of the steps below and all you have to do is upload the book files to the distributor’s website. That is a much easier route, but doing all of these steps on your own will enable you to save a pretty penny and provide you with the opportunity to learn more about the book publishing process. I took the 14 steps below because I thought they would be best for my particular book, and I’m more than happy with the final product.

PRO TIP: Beware of vanity presses and scam artists that promise to publish your book for you at egregious prices and with predatory terms. Check the internet for reviews ( before you hire anyone to work on your book project.

Before we jump into the details of each step, here is a summary of the 14 steps.

STEP 1: Finalize the book manuscript.
STEP 2: Create a new business to self-publish and market your book.
STEP 3: Buy a domain name for your book’s website and build the webpages.
STEP 4: Buy a set of 10 ISBN numbers from Bowkers and pay the applicable fee.
STEP 5: Apply for an LCCN number from the U.S. Library of Congress.
STEP 6: Apply for a merchant account at your preferred shipping company.
STEP 7: Create a Social Media Platform.
STEP 8: Decide where you want to sell your book and in what formats.
STEP 9: Hire a professional cover designer to make your book cover.
STEP 10: Hire a professional interior designer to make the interior pages of your print book and/or convert your manuscript to an eBook.
STEP 11: Purchase an editorial book review well before the book launch date.
STEP 12: Upload your book files onto the distributor’s website.
STEP 13: Register your book with the U.S. Copyright Office within three months after the publication date.
STEP 14: Market your book.


You can find out all about the above steps in my NEW self-publishing guide called 14 STEPS TO SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK (please click this link to find out more!)


Copyright @ 2016 Mike Kowis, Esq.

Lecture PRO Publishing