I decided to throw together a few items that I felt were necessary for anyone about to publish their first book. The list isn’t comprehensive and I apologize if I’ve left anything out. But, hopefully, it’ll still be of use:


I mentioned this several posts earlier but, in case you missed it, these should definitely be at the top of your list. International Standard Book Numbers are like your books fingerprint. It distinguishes your work and allows stores across the world to find items you’ve produced. Each format should have one (e-book, paperback, hard cover, etc.) and if you’re confused about where to find them rest assured that only one place has them…Bowker.


Something I scrambled to get at the last minute was my copyright registration. If you haven’t done so, do yourself a favor and visit the U.S. Copyright Office website. The process didn’t take long but, in fair warning, there’s a fee for each registration (about $55 for my book). In the long-run, though, not going through with this step is the equivalent of going on vacation and leaving your front door wide open. Not smart.

And on a side note, make sure you have a different copyright page for each format of your book (along with a different ISBN). If you’re unsure about how your copyright page should look, check out the link.

Email Marketing

If you plan on self-publishing then you might want to consider building an email list. It comes in handy when you have new books to release or special promotions you’d like to offer. Some of the more popular services include Aweber, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor to name a few. But, regardless of which one you choose, the point is that it keeps you in contact with your fans. And that, as I’m sure many people would agree, is really the foundation of your career. If you’re not writing for your fans then you’re just writing for fun (but, in my opinion, it’s a lot more fun to make book sales).


An easier way to acquire emails for the list you’re building is to offer something of value to potential fans. This is made all the more expedient with platforms like Gleam, Rafflecopter, and ViralSweep. They allow you to put together giveaways, competitions, and more to post to your Facebook page or other sites that host these kind of events. They’re simple to construct and, in some cases, they’re free to use. The most important thing is that they should be totally compatible with whatever email marketing service you utilize. Just make sure, if you take this route, to start your giveaways at least two months before you publish. This way you’ll have a fairly decent list before your book launches.


One of the most crucial steps when it comes to self-publishing, in my opinion, would be ensuring your work is formatted properly. If you’re using a publisher like CreateSpace you should know the final dimensions of your book. Afterward you’ll probably want to download the accompanying interior template and put the finishing touches on everything. If you’re writing a novel make sure the text is justified and that you hyphenate words where appropriate (to prevent awkward spacing with lines that have too few words). Finally, you’ll want to download your cover template. The back cover, spine, and front cover will be displayed in PDF format and will show the exact dimensions for your convenience. But, if at the end of the day you’re still drowning in questions, I suggest a quick YouTube tutorial. With so many “experts” on the site you’re bound to find one with the answers you’re looking for…

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