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How To Self-Publish A Book

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Graphic by Haiying Zhang

Authors now have a choice in how they publish their books and get them into the hands of readers. There are two kinds of publishing: firstly, traditional publishing, which refers to the established system of submitting a manuscript to publishers to print and publish through agents. Then, there is self-publishing, which not only allows publishers to define their own cost and timeline, but also grants authors the option to market however they like. In self-publishing, publishers have boundless creative control over the content they produce, which also means that they will be responsible for everything themselves. Though with traditional publishing, authors can fully rely on the publishing agencies to do everything more-or-less right, but that does not mean the choices they make will always compliment the authors’ objective.

Pressbooks is a simple self-publishing tool. Authors can put their content into Pressbooks, edit it however they like, and create pleasing printed books, eBooks, and web-books simultaneously. Normally, the author would have to hire a book designer and an eBook developer to produce the book, which could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the materials used. But with Pressbooks﹣now one of the easiest tools to use for self-publishing﹣not only does the author have full control over the creative aspects of the book, but they can also minimize the cost of production in publishing.

The author would first have to create an account before starting Pressbooks. Once an account is created, the author is good to go on with their files as it is free of royalty charges. Manuscripts can be imported to Pressbooks with just a few clicks through “Import tool” under “Utilities”, and they can also be copied and pasted by chapters if preferred. Authors should not need to worry about the layout of the book as Pressbooks provide up to fifty book designs for users to choose from. If there are other elements the author would like to add, they can simply code them in using HTML coding languages under “Edit Chapter”.

Two tweaks to your word document for faster/accurate import

  1. Make sure there are headings for each chapter

  2. Style them as “Headings” using the styles menu in Word

Finally, when the book is good to go, it can be exported instantly in various formats, such as: PDF (for printing), EPUB (for Nook, iBook, Kobo, etc.), MOBI (for Kindle), ICML (for InDesign), XHTML, PressBooks XML, and WordPress XML. If the user desires to publish on bookstores, they can upgrade with a one-time charge of $19.99 for eBooks and $99 for both eBooks and print files to remove any potential promotional watermarks. Overall, Pressbooks is a wonderful tool for authors to try self-publishing while maintaining the freedom and control of the book production process.

Tips to design and layout your book using PressBooks

Other Similar Book Publishing Tools

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