Self-publishing: after the book is printed, then what?

If you go for traditional printing instead of print-on-demand, the day will come when you bring home boxes, boxes and more boxes of your new book. You tear a box open, pull out a copy, and oh, there’s your book, your dream come true. There’s the cover you labored over, the words you poured out of your soul and spent hours/days/weeks formatting. It looks small, huh? After all that work. But it’s yours, and it’s a book.

If you pick them up from the print shop (as opposed to having them shipped from somewhere), give them a close look before you leave. In fact, go through a whole box and check them carefully. Are they bound properly, the spine and covers smooth, the colors what you expected? Right now is your best chance to get them redone for free if they’re not right, so check. I have had to send books back. I hated handing them back, hated the delay, especially when I had customers waiting, but you pay a lot of money to have books printed and they need to be right.

Assuming they’re fine, now you have to find a place to put them. It needs to be clean and dry, accessible but not in the way. Where I live on the Oregon coast, the dampness in the garage is murder on books, so I stash them in a bedroom. At this point, with several titles to sell, I wish I had a warehouse.  Books take space, and the boxes are heavy. But having them there is incentive to get busy selling them.

Stash some books in the car and never go anywhere without them. If someone says, “I’d like to buy a copy of your book,” you can put one in their hands before they change their mind.

Most of your sales will not be in person.  Stock up on padded envelopes and boxes to mail your books. You can get them much cheaper online than at your local office supply store. You’ll need packing tape. Custom mailing labels, available through Vistaprint, add a nice touch.

Get ready for your first order. You’re in the book-selling business now.


We have been talking about self-publishing for the last couple months. I’m not sure how interested you are in reading about this. The next topics would be setting up channels for selling your books and the complicated worlds of publicity and marketing, but I’m thinking we should get back to writing. If I don’t hear otherwise from anyone, I will stop this self-publishing series here for now, but if you send questions in the comments section, I’ll be delighted to answer them.

All the best,





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