Canadian Self Publishing: 5 Essential Steps to Get Your Book to Market

Canadian self publishing is as popular as it is in the U.S., thanks to success stories of those who understand the power of do-it-yourself (DIY) publication. There was a time when self-publishers were not taken seriously, mostly because traditional publishers held all the power.

But that time is past. Today, technology allows anyone with dreams of getting published a path to get their book in print and build a readership. For Canadians, self publishing is a viable option, thanks to the precedence set by pioneering self publishers who produced quality books that garnered respect and paved the way. As long as a book offers compelling content and inspires, entertains or offers a solution to its readers, it deserves to be on the bookshelves.

Below are some steps to help:

1. Get your book printer-ready.

First of all, your book should pass certain quality controls. This means that you’ve proofread, edited, and created a nice cover for your book. You can write your book in Word and use special software to create a PDF file that you can then provide to a printer. To create a PDF file (which stands for portable document file), you will need conversion software. One of the easiest programs to use is PDF Create.

canadian self publishing

I recommend using a print-on-demand book printing company to print your book (rather than an offset printer) so you won't end up with boxes and boxes of inventory. (Most offset printers have large minimums anywhere from 1000 to 2000 books.)

The best book printer today is Amazon's Create Space. Do yourself a favor and create an account right now using the link in step 5 even if you're not ready to publish your book. Amazon makes it easy for new authors to create physical books without having learn how to use expensive software. The most important benefit of using CreateSpace is that your book will appear on Amazon, the largest online bookseller in the world. It doesn't get much better than this in terms of marketing your book to the world.

In Canadian self publishing, quality control is everything. Even if you consider yourself capable with spelling, grammar and sentence structure, it is best to hire a professional editor to go through your manuscript for mistakes that you may have overlooked. An experienced book editor may also offer suggestions that will improve the quality of your book overall.  

If your book requires an illustrator, have a lawyer draw up a contract so there won’t be any problems concerning royalties later on. Create a separate bank account just for your book publishing project, so you can easily track expenses. Make sure you also secure a post office box, business cards and letterhead. You will also need a web site and a social media presence for online promotion of your book.

2. Register with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Get a copyright for your book. The cost for online copyright registration is around 65 Canadian dollars, and around 50 dollars by post. Copyright application forms are available online, and are reviewed and approved in around ten business days.

3. Obtain an International Standard Book Number and a bar code for your book.

For Canadian self publishing, here’s a piece of good news: International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) are free. An ISBN serves as your unique ID code that gives futures book sellers and buyers the publishing details of your book. ISBN numbers can be obtained from the Canadian Library and Archives. If you publish with CreateSpace using the link above, they will provide you with the ISBN number. You will also need a bar code for your book cover. This allows booksellers to scan it at the register and also prevents it from being shoplifted. You can take advantage of barcode software or free barcode generators online. Do a search and let your book printing company tell you how to incorporate the barcode into your book’s back cover. Also take care of your cataloguing details. These include the bibliography and other info that you can get from the Canadian Library and Archives, so you will get listed under the New Books Service.

4. Generate interest for your book.

As previously mentioned, you can take advantage of social networking pages and other online venues such as building a website and creating interest in your soon-to-be-released book. You can mention that you’re a Canadian self publishing your book, but go light on the promotion, instead focus on what readers will get by reading your book. If you need to buy a domain name with your book’s title or its premise, invest in one now. Instead of investing in the services of an search engine optimization (SEO) specialist so your web pages can have higher rankings and make more readers aware of your new book, use this website building software that will teach you how to build your book web site so you attract readers who are interested in your topic.

5. Pick out a good POD printer or Publishing Services Company.

Picking out a printer can make or break your Canadian self publishing venture. An expensive printing job and lots of inventory can mean you have no money left over for book promotion. As mentioned before, I highly recommend that you sign up right now with CreateSpace. The visibility that your book will get by being available on Amazon simply can't be beat. Plus their interface is easy to use. And you can order books as you need them. If you want a step-by-step tutorial of the sign up process, see my article on CreateSpace publishing.

If you know nothing about the design and layout process, you can outsource this to an expert, but you really don't need to do that if you use CreateSpace.

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