Obviously there’s no single answer to this question. Everyone has their own ideas on the subject and their own definition of “professional quality”. All I mean to do in this post is explain step-by-step how I went through the process and to share some tips (read: contacts and links) I discovered along the way.
Step 1: Write your book.
This is the easy part. More than likely if you’re considering self-publishing your novel or short story it’s already written and just waiting to be let loose on the world.
Step 2: Editing
Visit one of the below sites and select a quality, affordable editor. Remember, you want someone who will fit your budget but who also has experience.
Long list of other options here.
Step 3: Cover Art
While you’re waiting to get back your edits now is a good time to get your cover art lined up. A little disclaimer: although I’m a cover artist, I’m not listing myself below as I’m not currently looking for new work.
Contact an artist, let them know the release date you have in mind, and find out their rates etc. Here are some cover artists to check out:
Step 4: Format Your Book
Many indie authors choose to save a little money here and format their own books but unless you have experience in this area, it can prove a major headache. I hired a professional formatter and found it well worth the price. Some formatters to check out:
Lucinda at L.K. E-Book Formatting
View a long list of other options here.
Step 5: Create your account at Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
For the purposes of keeping this short and sweet we’re going to stick with Amazon and not cover Smashwords, B&N, and the other venders here.
For a thorough explanation of how to set up your KDP account with Amazon and upload your book, read this article.
And that’s it! Your book is live now, well, pending at least and will be available for purchase on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon DE within the next couple of days. Congrats!