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5 Steps to Get Started: How to Publish a Book Step by Step

Let’s face it: Writing one article can’t cover the whole process on how to publish a book from start to finish. Publishing is not some kind of 10-minute creative craft that can be done in one sitting. How to publish a book step by step can be a relentless skirmish, with all throes of rejection and waiting.

So, why are you still reading this? How to Publish a Book Step by Step

Well, we don’t know about you, but the feeling of holding your own book in your hands is beyond exciting. You’ve reached a plateau as a writer, a milestone you couldn’t imagine possible.

Just a full disclaimer: we’ll not talk about a highly comprehensive expert’s guide on how to publish a book. But we will try to cover the essential, nitty-gritty aspects to note in publishing your book.

Here are the crucial steps and guidance on how to publish a book.

Step 1:  Get to Know Your Readers

Before you give your all-out effort, figure out your niche first. Your target readers’ profiles, interests, and among others can help you write a suitable content for your reader.

Whether you opt to get into fiction or non-fiction, having an ideal reader in mind is a good start. But if you’re having a hard time pulling out an idea, you can start digging your personal/professional interests. Be these about hobbies or hard-earned skills, writing something you love will never bore you. You can visit your local book store and check out related genres, or join online writing communities and ask about the heebie-jeebies in publishing.

Step 2: Write

Perhaps you have that one-sliced pie of idea. But most certainly, the whole pie isn’t ready yet.

The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect—you can add new elements for your book from time to time. Write a rough map first—the highlights, the crucial conflicts, the story’s plot. This allows you to craft the story with more creative freedom. For the first thirty to fifty pages, write without following an outline. Let the story take you to where it wants to take you.

expert’s guide on how to publish a bookHere are some tips:

  • Some ideas don’t come in full form; some of them often take time.
  • It’s either you keep it simple, stupid, (KISS), or keep it complicated, kid (KICK).
  • Sometimes, writing the ending can lead the direction of your story. Fun fact: Audrey Niffenegger, author of the Time Traveler’s Wife, wrote the last scene of the novel first.
  • A complete manuscript usually consists of 80, 000 words. Set a realistic deadline for your word count and commit with it.

Here’s a list of highly recommended books on writing:

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
  • How to Write Bestselling Fiction by Dean Koontz
  • On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

Step 3: Edit

As a writer, you should never skip this step nor treat this as trivial work. Editing, revising, and rewriting are the crucial trio in publishing your book. They help strengthen your writing by fixing weak spots and correcting errors.

If you want to learn how to publish a book step by step, get an editorial help either from stand-alone editorial houses or from publishing houses. Hiring a professional editor will give your work constructive feedback and comments.

Step 4: Design

A compelling book cover design sells a book. No matter where your book is displayed, people will always judge your book by its cover.

In an experimental study “What Makes People Want to Read a Book?” by Alain d’Astous, Francois Colbert, and Mene Mbarek, people’s interest are driven by three factors: author’s reputation, publisher’s reputation, and most importantly, book cover design. In short, design matters. So, do yourself a favor. Find a professional designer who can visualize your book’s vision and your story’s message.

Step 5: Publish

If you decide to pitch your book the traditional way, you won’t have to worry about your book’s cover. Traditional publishing will take care of everything, from print to publication to promotion. But if you choose the self-publisher’s way—which most of today’s authors do—you take part of the hard work.

Here’s how traditional publishing and self-publishing differ:

Traditional Publishing

  • Author has to send a salable book proposal.
  • Publisher pays all production, distribution, and marketing costs.
  • Publisher secures the ISBN, barcode, and book delivery.
  • Publisher will provide assistance on editing, designing, and layout.
  • Getting a book contract takes six months to five years long.
  • Author will lose creative control, the book’s price, and possibly, the book title.


    • Author secures ISBN, barcode, and interior layout.
    • Author doesn’t have to look for agents and publishers, or deal with the rejections.
    • Author may determine book price and number of books to publish.
    • Author receives the book’s sales directly.
    • Author pays all publishing and marketing costs, and the risks are high.
    • Author may choose Print-on-Demand to sell small runs.
    • Author has complete, creative control of the book.

For traditional publishers, you can get the best book deal through checking this book, Guide to Literary Agents 2018. As for self-publishers, you have a handful of options for marketing and fine-tuning your book. You can partner with self-publishing companies to help you create a best-selling work. Remember to treat all publishing houses with caution. If you’ve already decided your publishing route, don’t forget to ask your writing peers for an advice, or research thoroughly before you move forward.

So you’re done with publishing, what’s next?

how to publish a book from start to finishPublishing your book is only the beginning; promoting your book is the challenging part. In order for your book to truly exist, you have to plan and be creative in your publicity and marketing strategies. It can be a daunting process along the way.

Start building your empire of reviewers even if your book is not released yet. Join online forums and communities, and interact with other professionals in the field. Sign up to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and slowly build relationships and join groups.

The challenges involved on how to publish a book step by step can be too intimidating. The reality is, your book may go unfinished. If you aren’t serious in every step of the process, you’ll surely fall behind. But if you are passionate and committed to see your book on shelved, get the work done and publish your best-seller.