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Congratulations! If you come across this post, you are probably in the process of finishing your first book. Now, you are thinking what you should do next to get your book on the shelves.

Whether you hire a literary agent or get signed to a self-publishing company, getting your book published is a step-by-step process:

  1. Purchase ISBN

Why should you buy an International Standard Book Number or ISBN?

If you want your book available in bookstores, online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in libraries or sold and distributed worldwide, you need an ISBN. Your ISBN is a 10- or 13-digit number that you will find on the back of your book, at the top and bottom of the barcode.

The purpose of your ISBN number is to identify your book or the edition of your book to booksellers, libraries, wholesalers, distributors, and above all, readers. Without an ISBN number, your book will not be found in brick-and-mortar and online bookstores. With a unique ISBN, you make it easy for people to discover your book.

  1. Editing

Aspiring authors, keep this advice in mind: do not write and edit at the same time. In other words, write first, edit later – if you want to finish your book quickly.

Though the Inner Editor or Inner Critic in you serves you well when you want to find typos in your manuscript, it could be deterrent to your writing process and distract you from your ultimate goal. You must silence your Inner Editor if you want to turn in your manuscript on time.

Make time to write your book but do not interrupt your writing time and flow with your stop-and-go editing. Editing will have its place – and time – in the process.

Write as you go, then, and let the ideas flow. The Inner Editor in you can wait – or let your publisher’s team of copyeditors and proofreaders polish the manuscript for you.

  1. Illustration

Are you submitting a manuscript for a children’s book? Does your book require drawn pictures and images to enhance your story or diagrams and charts to explain or describe each step of a particular process? You will require the service of a competent book illustrator.

Choose a publisher that has a great reputation for illustrating and publishing books similar to yours. Chances are, you will land a competent book illustrator who can visually your story or message.

  1. Cover and Layout design and typesetting

Illustration is one thing; book cover, layout, and typesetting are another. A great book cover is a necessity when having a book published and the book’s layout and typesetting can make or break a reader’s experience.

Your book cover should be visually appealing to grab a potential reader’s attention and to tell them what to expect from your book. Above all, the layout design and typesetting must be adjusted for the genre and style of your book.

  1. Printing

Now comes the most exciting part of the publishing process: the printing of your book.

You will have to choose between offset printing and digital printing. How do they differ from one another?

Books have traditionally been printed on a 4 color offset printing press using ink. The pages are printed with black ink on large sheets of paper, which are then folded into 32- or 48-page blocks. A full-color book cover is printed with four ink color, namely cyan, magenta, yellow, and black or CMYK.

Offset printing uses plates to transfer or offset an image to a rubber blanket and then rolling that image onto a sheet of paper where the ink is applied. Offset printing is best for large quantities: the more copies printed at a time, the less it costs per book. Above all, it offers better image quality and, despite the longer turnaround and the setup required, allows for more control over the entire printing process.

In digital printing, books are printed on high-end laser printers that use toner or liquid suspended toner particles instead of ink. No plates are required to transfer images to paper.

Digital printing is recommended for short-run printing (for quantities less than 200 pieces or even less) and print-on-demand (whereby books that are digitally stored are printed one at a time only when someone purchases them online). Digital printing has faster turnaround time and lower setup costs.

Both offset printing and digital printing are excellent for different needs. If you want to print large orders or choose a book size or paper stock for your book, choose offset printing. If you want lower startup costs or if your book is standard-sized, printing on a laser printer is the better option.

If you want to first test the market for your book or order advance copies to send to book reviewers, opt for digital printing, and if your book does well critically and commercially, you can switch to offset printing.

  1. Website design and Internet Marketing

Now that you have already published your book, what should you do next?

Your publishing journey does not end with the printing of your book. Because your book will be made available worldwide and in online bookstores, you will need to unleash its full marketing potential.

To unleash your book’s marketing potential, you need to build your author brand, and in this department, your publisher could help give your book the exposure it deserves. Talk with your publisher today to know how website design and development and digital marketing could help you promote and market your book.

Congratulations on finishing your manuscript – and getting your book published! May you have great success in sharing your story with the world!

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