Want to self-publish that first book, but are confused by all the information out there? Don’t know where to start? This 43-minute slideshow video takes you step-by-step through the A-B-C’s of how to self-publishing a book. Or, if you have already published, it goes over the legal and marketing steps that I consider the most essential.

You’ll find all you need to know in an easy, progressive step process presented in clear action steps:

  • Basic resources for the writing process
  • How to file copyright, how much it will cost and if you should do it
  • Why you need ISBN numbers (and not use the one Amazon provides)
  • Why the Library of Congress control number lends authenticity to your book
  • PCIP and why it helps you get into libraries and bookstores
  • Publishing platforms and required formats for KDP, Ingram Spark, and Draft2Digital
  • The incredible importance of book covers and budgets for it
  • Finding a book cover artist or designer
  • Top 10 mistakes I see new authors making

This is the first of several informational videos that I offer for FREE to help my fellow authors.
If it has helped you, would you mind leaving a comment below?

blog posts review marketing software and services, and gives an insider view of my experiences of becoming a self-published author.

Steps to Success: How to Self-Publishing a Book: links and resources to this presentation

Polish your Writing

  • Writing Groups – provide feedback and criticism necessary for beginner writers
  • Online Writing Forums 
  • Online Writing Tools – I recommend paying for the pro version.
  • Paid editorial help. A typical rate schedule is about $1-2 a page, but can be as high as $4 a page.
    • Developmental Editing (structural or content editor) – helps chapter by chapter, overall big picture of how your plot and story is developing. Great for new writers or those who feel stuck on how to improve a story.
    • Line Editing – extensive work through of the material.
    • Copy Editing – final read-through for mistakes, grammar, typos, etc.
    • Proofreading – last step before going to print 

Website development

  • Buy a domain name. I recommend NameSilo.com
    Buying a domain only parks it for your use. It does not give you a website.
    • Identifiable as you
    • Easy and short
    • Is not naughty or insulting (read the domain all in lowercase)
  • Using your domain name makes accounts over all social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
  • Find a place to host your website. For beginners, I recommend WordPress.com
    • Choose a free theme
    • Choose a theme that is “mobile compatible.” 
  • Your website should have these basics:


  • Cost: $45 if you are the only content contributor to the work.
  • Cost $65 if you have a content contributor to your work (i.e., tables, graphics, book cover artist, images etc…)
  • Provides cheap insurance and the possibility of winning a higher settlement (damages).
  • Helpful if someone on Amazon contests your copyright (thieves will often do this)
  • PDF of the work required to upload, but this can be a rough finished draft.
  • Do not share your book online in any substantial way until copyright is filed.

ISBN Number (required)

  • Bowker is the only company in the US which issues ISBN numbers
  • $125 for one, $295 for 10 (buying the package is better $$)
  • You need one ISBN for each edition (1 ebook, 1 paperback, 1 audio book, etc…).


  • ‌Request from the Library of Congress
  • Submit before book is released
  • For Print books only
  • This is free!

PCIP data

Book Cover Designers:

Book Distribution

  • KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
    • Print on Demand (POD)
    • Amazon ebook format – mobi format
    • Amazon print book format – pdf format
  • Ingram Spark
    • Print on Demand (POD)
    • print book format – submit in a pdf format
    • They also have a partnership with Draft2Digital for ebooks
    • preferred wholesale option for bookstores and libraries, B&N, etc.
  • Draft2Digitial (ebook distribution for the Amazon platform)
    • Submit in an epub format (preferred)
    • Goes wide in distribution (Kobo, Google Play, Apple books, etc.)

Formatting your book

  • Editing options
    • Alpha reader – reads the story while being developed and provides feedback
    • Beta Readers – some will proof, others provide story feedback
    • Editing, proofreading – paid professionals 
    • Record your book for your own use, and proof the text while listening to the audio
    • Put your book into the format requested, and proof again.


  • Alpha Reader: person who reads authors draft while still being written, edited.
  • Beta Readers: readers who will look over your book prior to publication and provide feedback. They generally see it after the completed book is done.
  • Domain: the name of your website (i.e., www.byrdnash.com)
  • ISBN Number: an assigned number that identifies your book. Necessary for publishing.
  • PCN: Preassigned Control Number from the Library of Congress.
  • Go Wide: means your book will be on other platforms other than Amazon (i.e., Barnes and Noble).
  • NaNoWriMo: national writing month which happens in November. Summer camp is in July. 
  • Newsletter: email newsletter which the author manages. Collects emails through their website.
  • Print on Demand (POD): the book is not printed until it is ordered.
  • Street Team: group of people who are your loyal friends and are willing and excited to help you become successful.

Further details

Classifying your book properly in order to reach libraries and bookstores is an important step that can only be done through a well-trained source.

For both PCN and PCIPs, you will need a book summary ready when you apply.  This is not a sales blurb, but should be a summary and description that can be used to correctly classify your book. To quote Five Rainbows: “What we need is a brief explanation of the book’s content, including significant concepts or plot elements.”  

  • Be sure to include any geographic locations and time periods. 
  • Don’t worry about spoilers; the summary only used to determine classifications and is not published (except for children’s and YA books). 
  • For juvenile and young adult books (flagged specifically for these age ranges) a short summary of the book will be included in the PCIP.  
  • For children’s books, they may even want a full copy of the text.


The Library of Congress Control Number is a single number that identifies your book in the Library of Congress.

Getting an LCCN or PCN is completely optional, but it adds some authenticity to your book.  

  • The Library of Congress issues LCCNS only for large publishers or if the LoC decides to put a copy of your book on their shelves. 
  • For small publishers and self-published authors, you can request instead a PCN (Preassigned Control Number) directly from the LoC for no charge here: https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/
  • The PCN is a stand-in for an LCCN and can be anywhere that an LCCN can be.
  • The LCCN or PCN is shown on your copyright page like this:

Library of Congress Control Number 2019123456

To qualify for receiving a PCN:

  • You must have ISBN numbers for all the available formats.
  • Your book title page or copyright page must list a publisher city.  If you are self-publishing, my guess is that you can put your own home city.
  • If your book is ONLY available in ebook format, you are not eligible to get an LCCN or PCN; it is only for print books. 
  • The PCN must be requested BEFORE the print book is published.  If you have already published, you can instead donate a copy of your book to the LoC and see if they will accept it and assign you an LCCN (https://www.loc.gov/acq/donatex.html)


The CIP (Cataloging-In-Publication) is a block of data that describes your book and provides everything a library or bookstore needs in order to add it to their catalog.  It is basically like the library catalog entry, in a standardized form, using official standardized categories. 

The CIP is issued only by the LoC, and is not available to self-published authors.  Instead, other companies can create PCIP (Publisher’s CIP) records, which are exactly the same but issued by a different company.

If you want your book to get into libraries or bookstores, a PCIP makes it much more attractive since they will not have to examine the book and try to figure out how to shelve it.  It can also be used by bookstores to speed up shelving and ensure correct classification.

You can get a single PCIP that covers all available formats.

The PCIP is usually printed on your copyright page, and looks something like this:

Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Abrams, Michael P., author | Kennedy, Julia Taylor, author.
Title: Mission critical : unlocking the value of veterans in the workforce / Michael Abrams and Julia Taylor Kennedy.
Description: First trade paperback original edition. | A Vireo Book. | New York, NY ; Los Angeles, CA : Rare Bird Books, 2015. | Includes index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2015009928 | ISBN 978-1-942600-54-1
Subjects: LCSH: Veterans–Employment–United States. | Veterans–United States–Services for. | Career changes–United States. | Retired military personnel–Employment–United States. | BISAC: BUSINESS / Economics.
Classification: LCC HF5384 A29 2015 | DDC 650.14/086/97–dc23

You should have your ISBNs before requesting the PCIP.  If you don’t have the PCN/LCCN yet, you can have them put in a placeholder for inserting it later, or leave it out entirely.  The PCN is not required.

The MARC (MAchine Readable Catalog) is an online data file that includes everything in the PCIP, plus some more stuff, in a specialized digital format that can be read by almost any online catalog system. 

Anytime you get a PCIP you should also get a MARC.  Unlike the PCIP, you probably want a separate MARC for each format (print, ebook, audio, etc).

Whoever creates your MARC should also upload it to OCLC and SkyRiver, at least.  These are the two major online catalog services. You may also hear about WorldCat.org, but this is just the public access portion of OCLC.

PCIP Services

Here are some PCIP services I have looked into:


$60, caters specifically to indie published books.
This company creates only the PCIP, it does NOT include a MARC file and does not upload to OCLC or SkyRiver.


$79 for the option that includes a MARC, which they upload to OCLC and SkyRiver.
If you have multiple formats for the same book (such as ebook, paperback, hardback, and audio), you can add a MARC for each additional format for $10 each.


$95 per format, or $161 for 2.
They build (and charge for) a separate PCIP for each format. 
It includes a MARC, which they upload to OCLC and SkyRiver.


$160 for the first PCIP, $135 for each subsequent order.
It includes a MARC, which they upload to OCLC and SkyRiver.

I have decided to go with Five Rainbows. They seem like they offer the best value and I like the option for multiple MARCs.

Sample of a Book Copyright page

Sample copyright page showing the PCIP data block
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Music is On My Way by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4163-on-my-way
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/