Ruth Kaufman talks about what it takes to self-publish your book.

Have you written a fabulous and competitive book you want to self-publish? Here’s a brief overview of 10 essential components.

1. Develop a business plan, because you’re now an entrepreneur who’ll wear many hats. Define your product, set goals, have a budget for money and time, including who will take on which tasks to produce and promote your book. Set a publication schedule. Many steps may take longer than you think.

2. Get your book ready to publish. You’ll need an editor. What kind (such as developmental or copy), and how will you find them? Who will proofread? Do you want beta readers? Create your front and back matter.

3. An amazing cover is vital to interest readers. Study the market and your sub-genre. Find a designer by researching their portfolios. Work with him/her to choose elements from fonts to images and decide on the layout. Write your blurb.

4. Where do you want your book to be sold, aka distributed? For example, do you want to be Amazon exclusive or “go wide?” What formats will you have, and on what site (Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, Pronoun, to name a few) will you create them? Make sure your book is formatted correctly for each (.mobi for Amazon, etc.). Who will set up and maintain your accounts?

Choose appropriate keywords. Establish pricing. Do you want to do a pre-order, and if so, for how long?

5. Meanwhile, build your author platform. This includes a website, author bio, photo, perhaps a media kit, and growing followers on any social media platform with which you’re comfortable.

6. Grow your newsletter list to engage readers with your books and brand.

7. Plan your launch: establish a budget and calendar for when and how.

8. Be discoverable. What can you do to stand out amidst thousands of new releases every month? Options include: publicity, promotion (individual or joint), marketing, networking, ads (in trade magazines, email newsletters, Facebook or AMS), signings and other in-person events, giveaways, contests, participating in Facebook groups, holding free or sale days, swag, developing a street or review team and/or Facebook reader group.

9. Get reviews. Contact individual reviewers/bloggers, use a service that “guarantees” reviews for a fee, and/or submit to reputable sources such as Booklist, PW’s BookLife, RT Book Reviews or Kirkus. Evaluate the pros and cons giving reader copies via NetGalley, InstaFreebie or BookFunnel.

10. Consider your next steps. For the vast majority of authors, one book won’t be enough to generate sales, so content is king. Reassess your progress. What will stay the same and what will you change? Promote, promote, promote. Keep up with the fast-changing market.

After an unexpected divorce, Marla Goldberg yearns to believe “someday is now” and pursue her dream of being a working actress in Chicago. But how can she quit her frustrating but secure radio station account executive job when she’s only booking work as an extra?

When she dips her toes into the daunting dating pool, her first “date” wants to meet in a pet store parking lot, and other forays yield equally unfortunate results. Dealing with overachiever siblings and judgmental parents, she struggles to learn the hardest lesson of all: how to feel special when you’re not the star.

Ruth Kaufman is an actor and voiceover talent and workshop presenter with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV who enjoys peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes and singing in a symphony chorus. /

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