Whether you've been working on a book for a while, or you have an idea for a book rolling around in your head, one question is always inevitable: "How am I going to get this book into the hands of other people?"

Authors today have more choices than ever before.  Self book publishing, whether in e-book form or in small quantity book printing, are available to anyone without jumping through the agent/publishing hoops of yesterday.

If you're thinking about self-publishing a hard-copy book, the following tips may help:

1. Self-publishing is fairly simple, readily available and surprisingly affordable 

The steps to publishing a hard-copy book are fairly simple, and the company you choose to print your book will most likely have an easy-to-follow set of instructions to follow.  You'll need to choose a size for your book and format your manuscript (usually a Word document) to fit that size.  You'll also need to create cover art in Photoshop or some other illustrating software.  You'll turn both your manuscript and cover art into a PDF, upload it all to the self-publisher of your choice and get a proof back within a few days or weeks (depending on the printer).  Oftentimes you'll need to make some changes, so the process can be drawn out depending on how many changes you need to make to the formatting, etc.  Your printer may also have the ability to design a cover for you, depending on your budget.

2. Self-publishing is available to everyone, so you have a lot of competitors in every genre

Self-publishing has grown enormously over the years.  Anyone with an idea and some cash can become an author and print a book, so even if you have the best book out there, readers have an amazing array of choices.  Getting readers' attention is probably even harder than writing the book.

3. Determine why you want to publish a book

The reasons for wanting to publish a book are varied.  Some people want to publish a memoir for family and friends, some want to establish credibility in a particular field or industry, some are driven to write entertaining stories, and so on.  Your goal for writing the book will determine the cover art, format size, marketing strategies, method of distribution, etc.  A good printer will help you with these details or refer you to people who can help.

4. You probably won't make a lot of money self-publishing

The stats aren't very encouraging- the average self-published hard-copy book sells up to 150 copies, and they are probably sold mostly to friends, family and acquaintances.  However, the next point may be worth more to you than the money you might make from publishing your book....

5. Publishing a book may help boost your authority in certain fields

Whether you're an entrepreneur, speaker, non-profit organization leader or business coach, your status will most likely improve if you write and publish a book.  Having a hard-copy book that you can sell or give to potential clients will usually elevate your position in their eyes and give them something to reference when they are recommending you to others.

6. If you have a book that fits a particular niche, you'll have a better chance at success

Novels are usually a hard sell.  Yes, we have all heard of incredible success stories (Fifty Shades of Gray, anyone?), but most of the time you'll have a better chance of marketing and selling your book if it appeals to a specific group of people.

7. You'll need a good and unique title

It won't be easy, but you'll need to find a title that doesn't show up for a million different products and services on Google. Your title needs to be unique so that it doesn't get lost on Google and also catches potential reader's imaginations.  Come up with several titles and then do a Google search on those titles.  If you find a lot of entries for a particular title, keep going until you find something more

8. Invest in an editor, or at the very least, a proofreader

Even if you have excellent grammar skills, you definitely want to find someone who has experience in proofreading and editing. Most self-published books that we have read contain spelling and grammatical errors.  This is especially damaging if you've written a book to establish your credibility and authority in a particular field.  Contract for as much proofreading and editing as you can afford.  It will be well worth the expense.

9. If you're serious about selling your book, you're going to need some serious marketing help

This article has mostly spoken about publishing a hard-copy book (although some of the tips apply to e-books as well), but whether you're selling a hard-copy or e-book, you're going to need to market like crazy.  As we discussed in point #2, the ease of self-publishing has created even more competition than ever before. You may want to work with a marketing company that has experience in promoting books in social media and more traditional PR routes.

We love working with authors and showing them how to self-publish a book. Do you have any tips or points to add?