You may have the new Harry Potter, (if so then I cant help you - please send me a copy) but, like me, you may have something that you think some people might find interesting. It would be a shame for it to stay on your computer until you get a virus and loose it forever. You have bled a little after all.
What are your options?
Here is what I did in order to get a book properly out in print (i.e. ISBN numbers and so on)
1. You need an ISBN. (International Book Selling Number)
I say need but you don't really need it. The ISBN is the number related to your book and is the barcode on the back of your book. Even eBooks need ISBN's. It helps if you want to put it on directories so that book shops can order it but that's probably not going to happen - unless you have a huge PR plan. If you are selling books from the boot of your car, to friends and at talks etc, then you don't have to have one. I on the other hand decided to get one. I thought I'd do this whole thing properly and see if it helps. I know people like Al Humphreys and Dave Cornthwaite don't bother and they have a lot more experience than little old me.
ISBN's can be bought from Nielsen Agency and costs £125 for 10 numbers. Thats £12 per publication which isn't that bad. Once you have the numbers you need to make the barcode and this can be done using this website. This will then be put on the layout of your book cover. Nielsen will register the first book you publish but if you do a second book you need to let them know the details so that it can go on relevant directories.
2. Find your printer.
There are so many printers out there. I did a lot of research and eventually found Imprint Digital. They were quite cheap and the quality was good. They also managed to get a proof out to me on the same day I sent it. Really good service. Speak to Jamie. Nice guys!
3. Formatting the text.
Firstly work out what size book (from your printer) you are going print. (i.e. 220x148) Format your document size, edit spacing, page breaks etc, until it looks great. Remember to add (usually on page 2 after title page) the page about copyright, ISBN's and thanks etc. Also good place to put your website, apology for spelling mistakes and so on. Don't be shy to get creative. There are no rules. If you have page numbers make sure they are on the 'outside' of each page. If you are unsure then just put them in the middle. I think it looks cooler anyway. Finally create a PDF. This is one of the options in Word in the Save As menu. It's now ready to go.
4. Design a cover.
PEOPLE DO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. #FACT.
Time to get creative. Make it awesome. This will either really excite you or scare you. You will either know a thing or two about Photoshop, or you won't. If not then get someone to help. You'll need to give them the size of the spine (you would have got this from the printer) so that they can lay it out properly. Also they'll need the ISBN barcode you've made for them. Come up with a few options, put them on Facebook and get friends to vote. Because of my photography background I really enjoyed this side of things.
So you have the final book ready to go. You now have three things to do.
5. Send it to print.
If you are happy with the cover and text then go ahead and print it. Send the two PDF's (cover and text) to the printer and wait for the proof. This is the really exciting part! There is nothing better than getting your first book in the post. It smells so good. OK, thats a bit weird but honestly, new books and freshly cut grass are my two favourite smells.
6. POD printing (Print on Demand)
Only you know how many books you'll likely sell. Don't print too many. There is nothing worse than having a room full of books you can't shift. I printed a few hundred to start and if I sell them all I'll either print more or get people to go online and order them from POD printers. The good thing with POD is there is usually no outlay cost for you. The bad thing is that you don't make as much money on each book (Usually £2 max) I used Amazon's POD service - CreateSpace. It's a pretty easy process and worth doing. Just don't ask me about the USA tax deduction process. They are based in the US and because I am not they have to keep some tax on my behalf and give it to the IRS. USA and the UK have a tax treaty but trying to understand the form is way to complicated for me. If I start selling millions (unlikely) then I'll have to make a plan, and buy a yacht.
Kindle is great and so easy to do through their KDP service. Make sure you upload the text PDF with the eBook ISBN which is different to your paperback ISBN. It's all pretty self explanatory. Some people might want to have an iPad version etc but I wouldn't stress about it. Apple are known for shafting people a little. I instead tell people to download the Kindle App for iPad, iPhone etc. The one disadvantage of putting a Kindle out before the paperback is that some people might have bought the paperback instead of the Kindle but went with Kindle because thats all they could. When you eventually have a paperback they have already read it. The benefits of doing Kindle before paperback is you can edit it, make changes and gauge people opinions before a redux paperback version.
8. Sending books to British Library
If you get a book printed with an ISBN then you have to send one copy to the British Library. It's law, and also pretty cool. I think this is the right address to send it but don't quote me:
Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
So thats it. You now have a book and people can buy it, read it and enjoy your blood, sweat and tears. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process. I knew from the outset I'd never make a fortune but that wasn't the point. I had an adventure and I wanted to share it. Job done!
Finally I must say a huge thank you to Yvonne Marrs who helped me through this process.