How do you make a self-published book not look “self-published” was a question that I was invited to answer on Quora, however, the real question was how do you make a self-published book look professional.

I’ve read a huge amount of books and many of them are self-published, mainly because the author wants to take control of their destiny. Those that do it well do a couple of specific things.

1. They invest in their book

When you’re starting out, you probably don’t have a lot of money, so you edit and proofread your books yourself. Or you invite family and friends to do this for you. That’s ok, however, it will affect the quality of the book.

I know this because I’m guilty of it.

If you don’t invest in your book, then you’re going to spend an awful lot of time writing books people don’t want or need or worse, books that people do want and need but won’t buy because something about it has a red flag.

Check out this article where I set out 5 investments that you should make in your book.

So if you want to make a self-published book look professional, then the first step is to invest in it.

2. The research their topic

Whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, a professional writer does their research. 

They know that details matter, from the clothes worn, the attitudes of the day and the events that impacted people. These will affect the characters and the settings that they create.

With non-fiction, it could be the latest scientific research or their own research by talking to others.

3. They take time to write their book

A professionally published book is usually the 20th or 30th version of the book. Their first draft is just that.

It’s their starting point, so they get their first draft completed, because it’s just the first draft.

The final book will be very different, but the first draft is their starting point, not the book that they will publish. 

4. They get feedback on their book

You can do this via beta readers. These are people who will read your book and then provide feedback on it.

A good beta reader is worth their weight in gold. They can spot things that may have been missed or they may make a small suggestion that has a big impact.

Think of them as testers.

The food industry doesn’t release a new product without running it by taste testers.

Your beta readers are the same. They will tell you if your book is bland or whether it needs something more.

5. They take time with the formatting

Book formatting is one of those things that people only notice when it’s done badly.

So when you’re looking at formatting your book, create a style guide and then set up the styles in your document.

6. They know people really do judge a book by its cover!

Over Christmas I was given the latest book be Brené Brown. It was a hardback version with an embossed dust jacket and it was a thing of beauty.

Someone had made a book that just from the look alone, you’d want to pick up and check it out.

7. They use their own ISBN’s

The reason for this is that they become the publisher of record. They have their own imprint name which is included on the copyright page.

Using their own ISBN allows them to publish the same book across different platforms making their book available to a much wider readership.

These are my 7 ways make a self-published book look professional.

Do you agree?

What would you do make your self-published book look professional?

Format Your Book Course

Let’s have a chat!

If you’d like a chat about formatting your books, then you can schedule a free, no-obligation call with me.

Just schedule a time in my diary.