Self-Publishing for the Non-Tech Savvy

For many people, self-publishing is a fairly simple process. You type your manuscript. Submit the file to the self-publishing company. Possibly hire an editor or illustrator to improve and polish. Approve the files before publication, and receive your printed book.

However, that process isn’t simple for everyone. There are still plenty of authors who prefer writing with the trusty pen and paper or the classic typewriter. There are also people who have trouble formatting their manuscript to meet self-publishing standards or who encounter other technical issues. These problems can be costly and frustrating. For instance, self-publishing companies may charge for the following services:

  • Mail-in Fee — If an author does not submit an electronic file, he/she may have the option to mail a hard copy or digital file (such as flashdrive) to the self-publishing company. Because this is not a standard option and creates more work, this often results in an extra fee.
  • Transcription Fee — If an author doesn’t own a computer or know how to type the manuscript, he/she might pay someone to transcribe the written manuscript into a digital file that can be submitted.
  • Removal of Hard-Returns — A common formatting mistake is hitting enter at the end of every line while typing. These are called hard-returns. Fixing this formatting issue takes the self-publishing company a great deal of time, so the cost is often passed on to the author.
  • Photo Fees — If authors choose to mail in hard copies of photos that will be used in the book instead of submitting them electronically, there is often a fee.

There are ways for authors to avoid these problems and avoid spending extra money. These simple solutions can help non-tech savvy writers save time, money, and stress.

  • Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to help you prepare a digital file and submit it electronically.
  • If the manuscript has already been typed and unnecessary hard-returns exist, you could remove them on your own (or with help of a friend or family member) rather than paying the publishing company to do it.
  • Take hardcopy photos to a local office supply store and ask them to scan them at high-resolution and save to a flashdrive.  You can then email them to the publisher.
  • If the author doesn’t own or use a computer, hire someone to help with the process. Most self-publishing companies will not complete the process via phone or mail. Email is often the main method of communication.

Just because you are not tech-savvy does not mean self-publishing is hard. You may just need to enlist a little extra help to make the process less costly and stressful. With a few minor changes (such as deleting hard-returns), you can have a professionally self-published book in no time.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Guest Post: Book Doctor on Manuscript Submission Format

Q: I know a book has to be in standard manuscript format for editing, but can I send sample chapters to an agent in single-spacing, to save paper?

A: I can understand your confusion over standard manuscript format, but editors did not create it, publishers did. A book is considered a manuscript until it is redesigned to be ready for publication. All manuscripts—and excerpts sent to agents or publishers—should be in standard manuscript format. The only exception would be when the author plans to self-publish, in which case agents and publishers will not be involved.

Share this Post