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Setting the Scene

This journal is about the self-publishing process. I spent the first few weeks of lockdown finishing off a non-fiction project. It’s sufficiently niche that I didn’t even bother looking for a publisher and went straight to self-publishing.

The book is not relevant to this forum so I won’t go on about it but I thought the process of self-publishing might be useful to someone. At the very least it is useful to me to write it all down.

I’m reasonably serious about being a writer, which is to say, I want to produce a professional product and not just do this as a personal hobby. Part of self-publishing is about being equally serious about being a publisher, taking responsibility for project managing the professional writing into a professional book. This is the not-very-epic story of how I did that once and what I learned.

In sum, my plan when I finished was to go through the following:

Look over the draft myself.

Send the draft to an editor.

Send the draft to a couple of beta readers.

Illustrate and typeset the result.

Get some proofs printed, read it myself and send to beta readers and subject matter experts.

Set up an imprint.

Get a cover.


At the time of writing, I’m part-way through the list. Some things were easier than they had any right to be, quite a few things were a lot harder. The total cost is likely to come to somewhere around £500 and I’ll be very lucky if I get that back from book sales in such a niche area: I said I wanted to produce a professional product, not that I was any good at business.

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