When it comes to writing a book, the first decision that needs to be made is whether to seek publication or to self-publish. Each option has its benefits and shortcomings, and the choice ultimately depends on individual circumstances.
Regardless of whether you choose to self-publish or seek publication through a publisher, you will need to work on a manuscript. If working with a publisher, they may assist with proofreading and editing. However, if self-publishing, you will need to handle these tasks yourself. It is recommended to read through other books in your technical field to get an idea of their layout and structure before starting your own.
If you choose to seek publication, a publisher will work with you on various aspects of your book, such as the title, cover, copy editing, technical editing, and distribution. However, you may not have control over the copyright and distribution rights for your book.
If seeking publication, almost all publishers will have a mechanism to contact them and will usually require specific information for a book proposal, including the title, subtitle, author(s), market description, audience, topic, keywords, competitors, and a book outline. Some technical publishers include Apress, O’Reiley, No Starch Press, Wiley, and Packt.
On the other hand, if you choose to self-publish, you will be solely responsible for managing the distribution and creation of your book. However, you will retain the copyright and all distribution rights.
If self-publishing, there are several options for hiring professionals to assist with various tasks to get your book published. However, it is important to note that you can also fulfill these roles yourself.
Getting the book reviewed by a copy editor, proofreader, and technical editor is essential. Each of these roles fills a different purpose, but at the most fundamental level, you will need another pair of eyes to look over your book for spelling, grammar, and logical errors. Additionally, having someone review the technical content is also beneficial.
Depending on whether you plan to release a physical copy, digital copy, or both, you may want to consider formatting your book. This involves creating chapter pages and other formatting changes to your physical copy, creating an appendix and contents page, as well as adding hyperlinks for digital copies. There are various tools and services available to assist with formatting, such as FormattedBooks or freelancers on platforms like Fiverr.
Creating a Cover
Your cover should be eye-catching and have the ability to make people stop and check it out. Similarly, you should work on the back contents of your book, including a blurb and bio for yourself if you think it’s necessary. Looking at other book covers and back material for books in your technical area for inspiration is a good starting point. You can use tools such as Canva or reach out to a freelancer on Fiverr for help.
Depending on where you live, you may need an ISBN to publish your book. In the UK, you can obtain one from Nielson, and if distributing via Amazon, you can get one for free. However, getting an ISBN from Amazon limits your distribution solely to their platform.
The last thing to consider when self-publishing is how you will distribute your book. Whether you plan to have a digital and paperback/hardback copy or just one or the other, there are common distributors for both options. Two of the most well-known are Kindle Direct Publishing and Ingram Spark. Ingram Spark costs a small upfront fee, but they distribute to many providers, including Amazon and Google Books, making it a better all-round option.
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