“I’m Afraid To Self-Publish. Can You Tell Me Exactly What Happens?” It’s Easy! Here’s A List Of Steps! :)

“I’m Afraid To Self-Publish. Can You Tell Me Exactly What Happens?” It’s Easy! Here’s A List Of Steps! :)

Good evening, Angela,

It is an honor to be able to email you. One of your authors recommended me to your website and I am very impressed. I have been told that I should write a book by many and it is a dream of mine to publish a book someday. However, I am very intimidated by the whole process. I have no clue what to do except write!

 Please forgive me if this does not sound professional. I am being real. I was just wondering, is it pretty easy to get started on your website? Do you give details of how to do it or is it like a “self learning” book I would read? Sorry for the questions.

I hope you have a blessed day.


Hi Reina,

We actually receive these types of questions all the time. Since publishing is new for so many, it’s natural to wonder how the process works, and even to be intimidated since there are so many publishing horror stories online now (for self-publishing and for traditional publishing!). A few years ago, I came up with this list to show authors how easy it is to work with BookLocker. 🙂


After a manuscript is accepted for publication:

1. Author submits our online contract, and fills out a form to choose the book type, size, and paper color (white or creme), etc.

2. Author uploads final manuscript for formatting by BookLocker. Author also starts corresponding directly with our cover designer to ensure their cover is exactly what they want.

3. We format the file, usually within 1-5 days.

4. We send the formatted file back to the author for any final changes or comments. (NOTE: Some POD publishers start charging authors extra for changes at this point. We do not. At BookLocker, authors always get a final chance to make changes and we give them their file so they not only have a copy of their own, but they can also easily make any edits they want rather than sending us a time-consuming list of changes to make.)

5. Author uploads their final manuscript to us.

6. We do a final formatting check, convert to pdf, do some clean-up there, and send it to the author for approval, along with a POD Final form. This form asks for the author’s approval, and asks them for a description for the bookstore sites, the list price, categories they’re interested in, etc. We also determine final spine width at this point, and send that to our designer (if the author ordered cover design from us), or to the author (if they have hired their own cover designer).

7. Author responds to POD Final form with answers to all the questions.

8. Designer or author submits cover to us, which the author has already approved.

a. If Booklocker’s designer submits cover, files are ready to upload to the printer.

b. If author submits cover, we check the cover, and notify the author if there are any problems. If there are problems, we wait until the author submits the corrected cover.

9. We set the book up in the printer’s system, and upload the files to them.

10. The printer processes the files, and ships the print proof (the first printed, bound copy of their book) directly to the author. This usually arrives in about 5 business days.

a. If they author has additional edits they want to make after seeing the book in print, the process goes back to #4 above.

b. If the author approves the print proof, we send them a final form to complete to add the book to our website. It usually goes up for sale within 1 business day.

11. Once the author approves the print proof, we approve it in the printer’s system. This kicks off a rapid chain of automated events whereby the book is added to Ingram’s system (Ingram is the largest book distributor). Ingram then sends a feed with the book’s info. to the online bookstores. It usually takes just a couple or a few days for the book to appear on third party online book retailers (like Amazon, B&N, BooksAMillion, etc.). Each store works on their own schedule.

12. If an author has signed up for epub/mobi (ebook) formatting/conversion/listing, that process begins after the print proof is approved, and usually takes about two weeks. Waiting for this step saves the author from needing to pay twice, to change two sets of files, if they find changes they want to make after seeing the book in print. (Some authors notice editorial items they missed when they are able to hold the book in their hands, and read it that way. Some POD publishers force authors to go through the print and ebook process simultaneously, and then force them to pay to make changes to both later, if they find edits they want to make.)

At BookLocker, we usually get a print book to market within a month of the author sending their final file to us. We also have a rush, 2-week publication package. Authors often tell us how easy and quick our process is. After 17 years of publishing books, we have it down to a quick and easy science.

And, of course, I’m always happy to answer any questions authors may have.


WHO’S THE FASTEST? (Two- to four-week turn-around!)
NEED YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED ASAP? Who’s the Fastest/Least Expensive? Price Comparison of Expedited P.O.D. Publishing Services
Are you getting ripped off by your POD publisher?
Missing royalties? Incessant upselling? Bad editing? Denial of refunds for poor service or bad books?

Read More "Ask The Expert" Articles

2 Responses to "“I’m Afraid To Self-Publish. Can You Tell Me Exactly What Happens?” It’s Easy! Here’s A List Of Steps! :)"

  1. Pingback: Book Signings, Fan Fiction Copyright Problems, the Self-publishing Process, and more! | WritersWeekly.com

  2. Kristen Steele  February 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Every provider might have a slightly different process, but it’s useful to know what the process is up front and to be prepared for it.