Here's What You Need to Self-Publish Your Book

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on June 26, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Let's jump right in. If you end up going the self-publishing route, you’ll need the following things:


A blurb. 

The blurb, also known as the “back cover description” of a book, is essentially a sales pitch to the potential reader. When picking up a book for the first time, people read this description to understand more of what the book is about. This important summary should have the correct amount of information and intrigue to get the reader to purchase the book. An effective back cover description gives the author an advantage for another book sale.

A book cover design.

If you want people to take your book seriously, you need to put out a quality product. If you want to publish a paperback version of your book, you’ll need an ebook and a paperback version of the cover design. I can provide my clients with a list of names of book cover designers I recommend—just ask

Ebook and paperback formatting. 

Most authors opt to publish their book as an ebook and as a paperback, so you’ll need to get it formatted both ways. I provide ebook formatting services for Amazon Kindle for free as part of my line editing service, but I also offer this service as an add-on. Are you a client in need of recommendations for paperback formatters? Ask me!


You need a different ISBN for each version of the book you publish (ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook, etc.). If you plan on selling your ebook only on Amazon, you won’t need to purchase an ISBN for the ebook, as they’ll provide you with an ASIN (their version of an ISBN for the ebook). If you plan on stocking your paperback book on store shelves, you'll also need a bar code.

Author bio. 

It makes you look like a more professional author to have a nice headshot and a short (around 80 words) author bio at the end of your book.


It's not necessary to copyright your book with the US Copyright Office, but it's not a bad idea. The moment you put anything on the paper (printed or electronically), it’s copyrighted to you, and nobody can take your work and claim it as their own. But to give yourself better protection, you can officially register your work at the United States Copyright Office.


How much does it cost to self-publish a book? Here's an approximation of what you can expect to pay:


  • Writing the book’s blurb: ~$150
  • Formatting (ebook): ~$150
  • Formatting (paperback): ~$150
  • Purchase ISBN: $125
  • Purchase bar code: $25
  • Cover design: ~$500
  • Register your copyright: $35 
  • Publishing to Kindle Direct Publishing: Free!

Want to learn more about how to build your author brand

and become a self-publishing pro?

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: self-publishing

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