January 27, 2012

12 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book - Mimi Barbour

Mimi Barbour - My Cheeky Angel.
Because it took me hours of 'How-to' video watching, bombarding my friends who helped me get started with questions and more questions, and then multiple times to finally get my work uploaded cleanly, I decided to write these steps for myself in case I ever decide to self-pub again. Then I wondered if these steps wouldn't save others the frustration and desk pounding that I suffered when I tried to do it without the proper knowledge. Now, having said that, I have no idea if a professional would agree with this guide as I've written it. Maybe there's a better way to describe the procedure, or I might have missed something that didn't affect my work, and if so I apologize. But I wanted to write it in such a way that, if months go by and my memory dims, (more than likely) these 12 steps will remind me clearly and concisely.

1 - Take a copy of your manuscript and clearly rename it so you know which copy you're working on.

2 - If you've gotten the word doc from your Editor, and there are red edits showing, once you have finished making all the changes, go to 'Tools/Track Changes/Highlight Changes' and unclick the box at the top that says 'Track Changes While Editing'. This should clear your document of editing suggestions and changes.

3 - Check for spelling errors…even if you've done this before, it's best to go over it one last time.

4 - Go to 'View' and click off the 'Ruler'.

5 - Go to 'Edit/Select all' so that your document is highlighted, and then go to the toolbar above and make sure that you are using the 'Normal/Times New Roman/ 12 Font'.

6 - Now you will put on the 'Show/Hide' paragraph option that's on your toolbar and looks like a backwards-P. Once you do this, your spaces, new paragraphs, line breaks and all the inner workings of your document will be visible.

7 - In case you tab the 5 spaces in to begin a new paragraph, (as I do) these must all be cleared. Go to 'Edit/Find/Replace' and on the top line that says 'Find What' hit the space bar five times (nothing will be visible). Then leave the 'Replace With' line empty and go to 'Replace All'. Then do the same thing again for 4 spaces, 3 spaces and 2 spaces. DO NOT do this for 1 space.

8 - Now clear any spaces before the paragraph mark by going to 'Edit/Find/Replace/More/Special/Paragraph Mark' and then hit the space bar once. Then click on the next line 'Replace With' and go to 'Special/Paragraph Mark'. This will clear away the extra spaces once you click on 'replace all'. I would do this same routine again in case there were two spaces.

If you tab in for new paragraphs, do this same manoeuvre for 'tab characters' and clear them. And once again for 'manual line breaks' only clear each one of these manually instead of using the 'replace all' feature.

9 - Formatting paragraphs – you will go to the toolbar and click on 'Format/Paragraph/Alignment' and click on left. Then on the same page go to 'Special' and click on First line, and then go to 'By' and set in 0.5" and last go to 'Line spacing' and click on Double.

10 - Now go to 'Edit/Find' and type in the word Chapter. Starting at the top of your document, make sure that each of the chapter headings are either centered by clicking on the center function on your toolbar, or if you prefer the chapter headings to be on the left, reposition them now so they are no longer indented.
At the same time check to be sure there is a page break before each new chapter. To do this, position your cursor just before the 'C' of the word Chapter and go to 'Insert/Break/Page Break.

11 - Fix any scene breaks (***) by centering them.

12 - Next, go to 'File' and then to 'Properties/Summary' where you should fill in the information—especially the line that asks for the key words for your manuscript such as Romance, Paranormal, etc.
At this point add your cover and centre it, then the copywrite page, and if you want, a dedication page it can be put here at the beginning of your document. Make sure to keep the lines spaced so the writing will fit on one page. Put in page breaks where you wish to have a new page. Remember, if you leave too many empty lines (more than 5) Kindle will automatically leave an empty page.

Now it's time to go to Kindle Direct Publishing and get started!
Find Mimi Barbour here:


  1. Very helpful post, Mimi! Thank you for sharing. Good luck with your book(s) and your writing career!

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Jan. Mimi has some good ideas here!

  3. Thank for stopping by Jan. I hope these workk for you. If you have any questions just e-mail me at mimibarbour@hotmail.com


  4. Thanks for putting the steps so clearly. I self-pubbed DRAGON IN THE MIST last summer and am ready to pub my second try at self-publishing, but my notes on 'how to' are all over the office...somewhere. This will help!

  5. Thanks Nancy. I hope they do help and good luck on your new book!

  6. Love your title and cover.

    Thanks for the tips. I'm just starting the process and these will be helpful.


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