How to Self-Publish a Book

Publishing a book is an exciting prospect and something that’s becoming easier and easier to do without the need for a traditional publishing house.

Whether you have a story you’re dying to tell or are an expert in your field who’s keen to share their knowledge, read on to find out the 7 steps involved with self-publishing your book idea.


Planning is a vital first step that needs to take priority. Think of it as laying the foundations for a house, if you don’t get it right then what you build on top is likely to fall apart.

You should take some time to research your subject to enable you to create a rich story. Or, to make sure you fully answer the problem your target reader is facing.

Richard Houghton self-published this book with the help of the Kakadu team.

Write It

Write the first draft. Don’t let yourself get caught up in getting it perfect the first time. Let it flow and get everything down on paper/screen.

Then once you’ve finished, step away, at least for 24 hours. Let your mind process everything you’ve written and distance itself from the project. Then come back to it with fresh eyes, read it over, edit, cut, fill.

Do whatever you need to do to push the first draft on a level.

Proofing & Editing

Read it and read it again. Keep going until you’ve got it to the best level you can and then bring in a professional editor.

What’s the point in pouring your time and hard-earned money into sending an almost perfect product to market?

Get a professional pair of eyes to read over your manuscript to check for grammatical and spelling errors. An editor will also check that there aren’t any holes in your plot or vital bits of information missing that help the reader to understand your topic.


Now is the exciting bit, the time when it all starts to come together and you start to see your vision coming to life.

This side of things is pretty similar for fiction and non-fiction books. Both need the manuscript to be laid out; line breaks, chapters, paragraph settings, and typography selection.

They both also need that all-important element – a cover.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest, we all do.

Your book’s cover is its biggest advert so don’t skimp on getting it right.

As well as the cover you need to consider if you’ll need any illustrations, photographs and other graphics to bring your book’s content to life.

Nick Sanders self-published his autobiographies with the help of the Kakadu team.

Legal & Technical

The last step before sending your book to the printers is sorting out the legal bits.

You need to add the all-important RRP, copyright and publishing information, as well as an ISBN and barcode.

One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll need an ISBN for each version of your book. If you plan to have a hardback, softback and e-book version you’ll need 3 different ISBNs and 2 different barcodes. You don’t need a barcode for an e-book.

Technically you can publish your book without an ISBN but online retailers and bookstores will need one to sell your book for you. Your book details need to be registered against an ISBN on the Nielsen directory before they’ll list your book for sale.

Lastly, you’ll also have to send a small number of your books to the national libraries. No, you won’t get paid for these copies, but you will be able to see your book on the shelves of the biggest libraries in the country which is pretty cool.


This is it, the moment you’ve been waiting for, time to print that book.

But before you hit go on the full print run, get a proof copy.

This way you can check the print quality, alignment of text and images and double-check for any issues to make sure your final book is perfect.

Marketing & Sales

To be honest you should start this before you let the printers get into motion.

You want to build excitement for your book so people are waiting in line to grab a copy. You could even run a pre-order campaign to start getting some cash flowing back into your pocket.

Tell anyone and everyone that your book has landed. Organise a book launch; send a press release to relevant magazines and publishers; ask local book shops to stock it; see if you can line up some book signing events; run an online ad campaign; list it on Amazon and iBooks. Basically, get your book in front of as many people as possible and get that book sold!

Long Story Short…

It takes time and dedication to publish a book, but it’s much easier than you think and it’s incredibly rewarding when you’re holding that vision in your hands.

Written by Lee Skellett

Co-founder of Kakadu Creative, Lee honed his craft in the fast-paced, hugely competitive magazine industry. He not only has a keen eye for detail, but he knows how to make an impact with bold, creative and effective design and branding.
February 11, 2020

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