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Self Publishing 101

The advent of new technology such as ebooks and print on demand (POD) have made self publishing much cheaper and easier for the average writer. There are a number of considerations when preparing to self-publish but the following pages should give you a solid guideline as to what steps you need to take.


Formulate and outline a detailed marketing plan so you can begin to promote your book prior to it’s release. There are a number of ways in which to market your book and I suggest outlining the process you choose well in advance of actually publishing so that you can begin to implement it and create ‘buzz’ around your book prior to release.


Choose a trim size and decide what software you want to create your book layout in. Typesetting your book can be a difficult process but the layout, look and feel are an important aspect to creating a professional final product. Always check the interior specifications of your chosen printer to ensure you provide adequate margins, bleed, etc. I would also suggest submitting your interior as a pdf if your printer allow you to so you can be sure what you submit is exactly what is printed.


Print and eBook formatting are drastically different items. eBooks allow text to flow, have no headers or page numbers and allow the end user to make some of the formatting decisions such as font, font size, and in some cases leading. There are a number of different eBook distributors available as well as a few aggregators who will submit your book to distribution channels. Each requires specific file formats and have formatting guidelines that must be followed


Depending on the printer or POD service you decide to use, there are a few ISBN options available

Free option – some services offer free ISBNs but there are a few things to consider with this option. If you choose to print your book elsewhere you will need to assign a different ISBN at that time and cannot continue to use the free ISBN provided with a different printer. It also means that Amazon etc will list the POD’s imprint as the Imprint of Record for your book.

POD owned but modified Imprint option – you still have to get a separate ISBN to print elsewhere but you (or a publishing name you choose) will be listed as the Imprint of Record on Amazon etc

Purchased option – you can purchase your own ISBN via most POD services or directly from the ISBN governing body for your nation. (Canadians should note that they can sign up as a publisher with the CISS to receive and assign ISBNs under their own imprint free of charge)


You will need to design (or have designed) a cover, some POD services provide cover creation software but it is often limited in capability. Most will accept a custom designed PDF cover file which allows you to control every aspect of how your cover looks and feels. Be sure to check the cover specifications of your POD service provider to ensure you setup up your cover correctly.


Most POD providers have multiple levels of free and paid distribution. You need to decide what distribution channels are best suited for your book. As a general rule, more distribution is usually a good thing as it provides availability for your book to a greater audience.

Tax Considerations (for those outside of the US)

Most of the POD and eBook distributors are located in the US and many of them pay royalties as opposed to revenue. If this is the case with your provider then you need to know that royalties are taxed in the nation earned (in this case the US for most POD companies) As a foreign national using these services you have two option

1) Ignore the tax id number requirement and the service will withhold up to 30% of all royalties to cover the taxes

2)Apply for a US ITIN or EIN (EIN is easier and quicker and can be done with a 15 min phone call to the IRS) and fill out a W8-BEN to file with your service provider. By doing this you activate any tax treaty currently in effect with your country of origin and your provider will only withhold the treaty specified amount (0% for Canada, 5% for AUS, 0% for UK).

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