Introduction to Print Book Self-Publishing

You wrote a book and now you are thinking about self-publishing, but don’t know what steps to take. First, it’s important to understand what self-publishing means and what options are available to you.

When self-publishing a book, you can publish it to eBook, to print-on-demand, or both. Last week we talked about eBooks. Today we’ll focus on self-publishing in Print.

Benefits of Self-Publishing a Print Book

Tablet computer and pile books on the background of the fireplacWhile eBooks make up the majority of self-published authors’ sales, the industry continues to beat us over the head with one simple fact: print publishing is not dead. A good portion of readers still prefer print. So, from a logical standpoint, having a print option available will help you reach more readers.

In addition, print books are useful marketing tools. Giving away signed print copies of your books is a common options for all authors. Having print copies for contests, for reviewers who only read print, or for conventions and book signing opportunities is also handy.

Plus, there’s the simple satisfaction of holding a copy of YOUR BOOK in your hand.

Print Book Options

You have two options when it comes to getting your book in print:

1. Traditional Press

Traditional presses still exist to help you print and distribute your books. In fact, most small presses out there use traditional presses rather than option 2 below. Traditional presses hold inventory, and work through bookstores. They can be cheaper per copy than print-on-demand. However, you have to commit to a minimum print run (1000 copies or more). This means a hefty up-front cost which you may never recoup if those print copies don’t sell.

2. Print-On-Demand

Print-on-Demand is just that. They hold no inventory. They only print a copy when one is ordered. This means zero up-front cost and no inventory to sell in order to recoup your investment. However, most bookstores don’t bother stocking print-on-demand books.

When deciding between these two options, you should consider the reasons you want/need a print book, the monetary investment you are willing to make, the pros and cons with both options.

Print-On-Demand Options

The majority of self-published authors go with the  Print-On-Demand option for various reasons. So, when going with POD, who do you publish with?

There are several companies out there you can use. We recommend CreateSpace which is a division of Amazon. Your print book will sell on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (website only). Just remember, as POD, your book will not be in bookstores.

Another option we’ve seen recommended is also publishing through Ingram Spark, a major wholesaler in the U.S. Ingram does not sell through Amazon, however, independent bookstores might be more inclined to work with Ingram to stock your book in their stores, potentially allowing you to reach more readers.

Formatting for Publication

Once you are ready to publish your written (and hopefully well edited) book, it’s time to format the content to get it ready to publish via the press or POD solution(s) you’ve selected.

The traditional press will format for you. But the POD companies will require you format your own book before uploading to them. (Note: Many do offer the service for a charge.) Each company has their own “rules” about how to format (tabs, spacing, font size, etc.) and even about what types of files to upload (.doc, .docx, .pdf, etc.).

The good news is, each POD company provides detailed formatting instructions. Many provide online tutorials. And most also provide an online tool so you can view your book page-by-page to check and make sure it’s perfect before you ever print a letter.

Print book formatting is much more complicated than eBook, because the eBook devices (like Kindles and Nooks) do a lot of the work for you. But with print books, you have to ensure every single detail on each page looks good. In addition, you have to set up details like page numbering (but not on things like title pages), mirrored margins, justification, the headers at the tops of the pages, and so on. Formatting for print requires some advanced working knowledge of Word.

If your book is straight text with no images, the formatting piece is fairly straight forward. However, if you have images (like a children’s book or a non-fiction book), the formatting gets even more complicated, and you may want to consider getting help.


The below topics were also discussed in the eBook Publishing post as they apply to both and we’ve adjusted the information slightly to be specific to Print books…



We are not lawyers, so this is NOT legal advice. Make sure you research all legal advice about your books thoroughly.

Your Rights

When you self-publish a book–eBook or print–regardless of retailer or distributor or print company you use, you retain ALL rights to that book. That means, if a traditional publisher comes knocking, you still have the right to “unpublish” your self-published work, and sign a contract to publish with that publisher. At that point, read your contract, because your rights change.

HOWEVER–because print copies of your original work now exist in the world, online distributors like Amazon will continue to offer the print version on their websites for those instances of used book sales. They will “unpublish” the book so that no new copies will be printed, but old copies they still must account for. Many traditional publishers won’t like this. Just be aware of the potential impact!

Copyrighting / Licensing

Your book is considered copyrighted as soon as you write it. You don’t have to put the copyright symbol on it. However, you definitely want to register your copyright as this makes it public record.

You can register your copyright through

While we’re on the topic, beware of any copyright infringement issues you may have with your own work–both text and images. Make sure you have the right to publish everything in that book. This is an entire topic by itself.

More Info on Copyrighting


An ISBN is required for print books. However, most POD companies give you the option of using an ISBN they have already purchased.

If you’re US-based, you can buy  ISBNs through Unfortunately, this is an expensive process for a block of ISBNs.



Once your book is edited and the content is formatted for whichever option you will publish through, there is still some additional info you want to have at the ready for when you go to publish that book. Make sure you have the following:

  • Book Title
  • Book Subtitle (if any)
  • Series Title (if any), & Volume #
  • Edition # (if any – this is if you have multiple versions out there)
  • Publisher (if any, for self leave it blank unless directed otherwise)
  • Description (this is your book blurb)
  • Contributors (typically just the author, although you can put the editor, cover designer, graphic artist in if you wish)
  • Language
  • ISBN # (see above info)
  • Public Domain OR you hold the publishing rights (original work created by you)
  • Categories (differs by retailer and distributor – usually there’s a selection)
  • Age and/or Grade (optional, and not on all retailer or distributor sites)
  • Keywords (common search terms you think people would use to find your book)
  • Book File (formatted to the POD specifications, and checked a thousand times)
  • Book Cover File (also formatted to the retailer or distributor specifications – cover image sizes/types are fairly standard)
  • Pricing (your royalty % may differ depending on the price you choose)
  • Distribution (options will depend on the POD company you choose)


Finally, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with information, let’s talk about how to get all this done–whether you do it yourself (DIY), contract a couple of freelancers (like Authors On A Dime) to help you, or go with a full-service option.

Publishing an eBook is a multi-staged process:

  • Write the book
  • Edit the content of the book (plot, conflict, character development, etc.)
  • Edit the grammar (make it as clean as possible)
  • Design a book cover
  • Take Care of Legalities (copyright, ISBN, licensing, etc.)
  • Format the book for publication
  • Convert the book to Print-On-Demand format
  • Publish the book with POD companies

Depending on your experience and skill sets, you may do all these steps yourself or you may get help.

100% Free – Do It Yourself (DIY): In today’s world of self-publishing, the process to actually publish a Print book is “FREE” and relatively easy. The POD company(s) you publish with get a percentage of each Print book sold as their “fee” for allowing you to publish through them and for printing each copy. But beyond that, you don’t pay to publish.

Free/Paid Combo – Freelance Services:  You may want help with various other aspects, like the editing or book cover, or, especially for print, the formatting. There are tons of freelancers (like Authors On A Dime) out there who can help you with different aspects of self-publishing as needed. From editing, to formatting, to publishing, to marketing, there’s help available for everything.

100% Paid – Full Service: There are several full-service vendors out there who not only publish your book, but have people to help with editing, creating the cover etc. They do this for an up-front fee. Just a heads up, the fee can be very pricey. In addition, some POD companies also offer editing, formatting, and publishing services for a fee.

Pro und Contra, gut und schlecht, ja und nein

Which to choose? 

At the very least, almost every self-publishing book and article out there will recommend you get help with editing and with the book cover. But the actual publishing–formatting, uploading (converting) can be done by you, the author, for free. And we highly recommend taking advantage of that option.

That, however, is easier done with eBook than with print because of the additional formatting needs. If you are not an advanced Word user, we recommend you add formatting to your “get outside help with this” list.

Do you need help with editing or book cover, and for print, the formatting? For the average author, the answer is absolutely. As Authors On A Dime offers those services, obviously we recommend using freelancers to help  you with those steps. Going with freelancers:

  • Allows you to pick and choose which services you truly need.
  • Allows you to select a freelancer who YOU think will do the best work for your vision.
  • Will most likely save you quite a bit of money (vs. full-service) as well as time (vs. 100% DIY).

Our advice is to look at your skills and ALL the options before you decide on where you need help and who the best provider might be for that help.


Feel free to ask in the comments or contact Authors On A Dime directly. We’re happy to talk to you about any of this!🙂 Don’t forget to check out our full range of helpful self-publishing services!

We also regularly run a workshop on this topic: Get Started Self-Publishing! Check our workshops for the next opportunity!


Service Spotlight: Formatting for POD

welcome-open-for-business-shop-neon-light-signFormatting to publish an eBook is relatively easy, particularly if the book is text-only. You don’t have to worry about things like mirrored margins, how the pages are breaking, how the text is spacing out, orphan lines, etc. But with Print-On-Demand (POD) books, you have to check for all those things, and more!

Authors On A Dime offers a few different packages to help you get your self-published book print ready. Let’s look at the service options:

Formatting your content to self-publish a Print-on-Demand book includes the below formatting for Amazon Create Space:

  • Creating/formatting front matter as requested
    • Title Page
    • Dedication
    • Copyright Page
    • Table of Contents
  • Formatting manuscript content
    • Mirrored page format with margins
    • Chapter breaks
    • Chapter headers
    • Proper indentation and space between paragraphs/lines
    • Font size/style
    • Page titles (author’s name on even pages, book title on odd pages)
    • Page numbers
  • Creating/formatting back matter as requested
    • About the Author
    • Letter from the Author

You will be provided one document ready to upload in CreateSpace.


The basic formatting package (see pricing below) includes all of the above. In addition, you can add formatting for other more complicated elements, including pictures, tables, and additional front or back matter pages. Those elements are added on an “as requested” basis for the additional pricing listed below.


  • Basic Formatting Package / 1-250 page manuscript ($40/book)
  • Basic Formatting Package / 251-500 page manuscript ($75/book)
  • Basic Formatting Package / 501+ page manuscript (Custom Quote)
  • Additional Front or Back Matter Pages ($5/page)
  • Formatting Tables ($25/5 tables)
  • Formatting Images – $50/book (up to 5 images, more will require a custom quote)

TRY OUT THE SERVICE: You may “try out” this service by having us format 1 chapter for FREE–Basic Package level.  (Free 1 time only.)

PACKAGE DEAL: The eBook formatted version of your manuscript will be 1/2 price (on the basic package) if ordered at the same time as the Print-on-Demand formatting.

*Page count based on double spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font, with standard margins.


*To request other services, in addition to publishing services, click the “Request Services” link in the menu.


*We are not a publisher. We are authors helping other authors. Formatting for eBook is based on the guidelines provided by Create Space. We do not guarantee sales.

Service Spotlight: Banners & Memes

facebook-crimsondahlia-fwSocial media banners (the image across the top of your Facebook, Google, Twitter pages, or banners at the top of webpages on your site), and memes (smaller graphics used on posts) are a fantastic way to advertise your latest projects, releases, or events.

You will be provided a form to fill out providing information on your banner/meme needs. Based on your answers, we will suggest which package below is best suited to your needs.

CrimsonDahlia-NewRelease.fw.pngOnce a package is agreed upon, your artist will provide 2 different banner options to select from. They will then do 3 versions of the option you selected based on feedback you provide.

Once you have selected your final banner or meme, you will be provided several graphics as a JPGs to use on all social media (one for each type of social media you use – up to 4 types of social media).


  • Basic Banner/Meme – text-only, basic font, graphic of your book cover or author logo ($5/banner or meme)
  • Pro Banner/Meme – basic graphics using your book cover, premium font ($10/banner or meme)
  • Premium Banner/Meme – custom graphics and premium font ($15/banner or meme)

TRY OUT THE SERVICE: You may “try out” this service by having us do a Basic Banner for FREE.  (Free 1 time only.)


*To request other services, in addition to graphics services, click the “Request Services” link in the menu.

Your final design is considered copyrighted. You may not reuse the images or elements for other purposes. Other than proprietary images, such as covers or logos, we may use images or elements from your design on other designs at Authors On a Dime.

Any designs/images NOT selected from the initial designs provided are subject to being sold/used for other projects.

Service Spotlight: Virtual Personal Assistants!

VA-ImageNeed help on a regular basis? Hire one of our Virtual Personal Assistants (VPA) on an hourly basis. Whether it’s weekly needs or for a single project, we can help!

Our VPAs can help you:

  • Manage your personal calendar
  • Manage your author email
  • Mail out giveaway prizes and various other items
  • Set up and facilitate Facebook parties
  • PLUS: All of the à la carte duties listed on this website are available via our VPAs at their hourly rate!


Project Based – Sign up for a project, and the VPA will provide a quote for the number of hours to complete. ($15/hour)

Regular Hours – Book a VPA for a designated number of hours per week at a discounted “regular customer” rate. ($10/hour)


What You Can Try for FREE with AOAD

Many glasses of different wine in a row on a table

At Authors On A Dime (AOAD), we understand how hard it can be to spend $ without knowing for sure the quality of what you would get in return. Authors struggle constantly with where to invest. Let us help you out with a list of services you can sample for free.

Come on over and try out any of the following:


editing-graphic.fwBeta Reading – Send us the 1st chapter or first 20 pages (whichever is shorter) for a FREE sample of the comments you’d get back with a beta read from AOAD. (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Proofreading – Provide the first 3 pages, for a FREE one-time sample proofread of your material. (Free 1 time only.) More info…


computer screen saying I love my job among other objects on the

eBook Formatting – Try out this service by having us format 1 chapter for FREE. This sample formatting is at the Basic Package level which includes chapter breaks, headers, spacing and indentation, and font.  (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Print-on-Demand Formatting – Try out this service by having us format 1 chapter for FREE. This sample formatting is at the Basic Package level which includes mirrored margins, page titles, page numbers, chapter breaks, headers, spacing and indentation, and font.  (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Blurb Creation – Try out this service by doing a FREE brainstorming session with us. 30-min Skype or up to 5 email exchanges on ideas, wording, flow, etc. (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Synopsis Writing – You have written your synopsis but would like a second set of eyes to give you feedback on anything from how it flows, to whether you cover the important bits, to editing advice. You can try out this service for FREE the first time. (Free 1 time only.) More info…


Abstract smoke

Book Cover Design – For your first book cover, we will do a 30-minute brainstorming session with you–looking at your book, ideas, and searching for images that might work–for FREE. No obligation to hire us for the book cover. (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Banner Design – Need a banner for Facebook, your website, twitter, or other social media? We will let you try out this service by providing a free Basic-level banner on your first visit. Basic = text-only, basic font, graphic of your book cover or author logo. (Free 1 time only.) More info…


Social media concept

Social Media Calendar – 1st month FREE. We can work with you on what you want/need scheduled and when. We will then create the social media calendar for 1-month at a time. In addition, we can keep track of your calendar for you, emailing you weekly reminders of upcoming events and post needs. (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Blog Topic Suggestions – We have a generic list already started for you in this blog post. Want more tailored suggestions? We’ll provide 3-5 post topic suggestions to help you get rolling. Any help needed after the initial list of suggestions will move you into Brainstorming for a fee. More info…

Newsletter Article Suggestions – Want to write your own articles but don’t know where to get started? We’ll provide 3-5 post topic suggestions to help you get rolling.  Any help needed after the initial list of suggestions will move you into Brainstorming for a fee. More info…

Facebook Post Suggestions – Want to write your own posts but don’t know where to get started? We’ll provide 5-10 post topic suggestions to help you get rolling.  This service is FREE! (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Twitter Post Suggestions – Want to write your own posts but don’t know where to get started? We’ll provide 5-10 post topic suggestions to help you get rolling.  This service is FREE! (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Discuss Street Team Options FREE 1/2 hour discussion or 5 email exchanges to point you to examples of types of street teams out there and figure out what would work best for you and your readers. (Free 1 time only.) More info…

Proofreading: A Necessary Evil

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading involves reading your manuscript (or a portion of your manuscript) and providing corrections, including (but not limited to):

  • service-spotlight.fwgrammar
  • proper word usage
  • syntax
  • spelling
  • proper sentence structure
  • punctuation
  • typographical errors

Why You Need Proofreading?

Proofreading is essential. A well edited manuscript is professional. If you intend to be a published author, making your writing as error-free as possible is critical. Readers can easily be turned off by typos or incorrect grammar. Editors and agents you query will look for a well-edited manuscript showing. Every website which talks about self-publishing highlights two things to spend money on: a good editor and a good book cover. Present your hard work in the best light possible. Have it proofread.

About Our Proofreader

Our lead copy editor/proofreader is a retired AP English teacher with a Masters in English. Some publishing houses prefer a specific Style of Editing or may have an in-house style. Please be aware there are differences in rules. We use MLA, which can be more formal, though we allow for more informal sentence structure as favored by many publishers of fiction.

How It Works

Submit your manuscript in a Word document. All edits are applied to the manuscript using “Track Changes” in MS Word. As the author, you then choose what edits to incorporate into your manuscript. Copy editing/proofreading is not beta reading. Edits will be limited to grammar/punctuation, and will not include comments on content, flow, plot, etc.

You may choose how many times you want the proofreader to provide edits. Please only request subsequent copy edits after you’ve completed applying previous edits.

You may also choose how much of your manuscript to have edited. For example, you might have the copy editor do a full pass the first time, but only edit the first few chapters the second time.

Our Pricing

  • 1st Pass Edits ($1.50/page)
  • 2nd Pass Edits ($0.75/page)
  • Subsequent Edits ($0.25/page)

*Page count based on double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font, with standard margins.


Authors On A Dime – Open For Business!

welcome-open-for-business-shop-neon-light-signWelcome, Authors! We know how many different tasks can pull an author’s focus away from the important stuff (writing!). Let us help you out by taking on those tasks for you.

Select from our à la carte services, including the following:


In addition, we will be offering monthly WORKSHOPS so you can learn to do what we do and save yourself some $$$ down the road!

Several of our services come with a free trial. We hope you’ll look around and try out our services today!