How to Self-Publish a Book in the UK


Writing a book is an incredible accomplishment, and the thought of self-publishing can be daunting. But with the rise of digital printing and ebooks, self-publishing has become a popular route for many authors. In this article, we will guide you through the process of self-publishing your book in the UK, from understanding the pros and cons to navigating the legal aspects.

Understanding the Self-Publishing Process

Self-publishing has become an increasingly popular option for authors who want to retain creative control over their work. It allows authors to independently publish their books instead of going through a traditional publishing house. This process involves taking on the responsibility of editing, formatting, designing and marketing your book on your own, or through the help of third-party providers.

One of the most significant benefits of self-publishing is the accessibility it provides. Anyone can self-publish a book, regardless of their location or background. It also offers creative freedom, allowing authors to make all the decisions about their book, from the cover design to the content.

Another advantage of self-publishing is the potential for higher royalties. Traditional publishing houses typically offer authors a royalty rate of around 10% to 15% of the book’s sales. In contrast, self-published authors can earn up to 70% of their book’s sales.

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

While self-publishing has many benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider. On the positive side, you have full control over the entire publishing process, and you can publish at your own pace. Additionally, you keep all the profits from your book sales.

However, on the negative side, self-publishing requires a significant investment of time and money. You will need to be skilled in editing and formatting, or you will need to hire professionals to help you. It can also be a challenge to get your book noticed in a crowded marketplace, as there is a lot of competition from other self-published authors.

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

It’s important to remember that self-publishing and traditional publishing are not mutually exclusive options. While self-publishing allows for more creative freedom and control, traditional publishing can offer a wider distribution network and professional support. Traditional publishers have established relationships with bookstores and other retailers, which can help get your book in front of more readers. They also have teams of editors, designers, and marketers who can help improve the quality of your book and promote it to a wider audience.

It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide which one is best for your specific goals.

Costs Involved in Self-Publishing

Self-publishing involves a range of costs, from editing and design to printing and marketing. It’s important to budget for these expenses and to research cost-effective solutions. While it may be tempting to cut costs by doing everything yourself, investing in professionals can make a significant difference in the quality of your final product.

Editing and proofreading are essential steps in the self-publishing process. While you can do this yourself, it’s often better to hire a professional editor to ensure your book is error-free and polished. Design is another important aspect of self-publishing. A professional cover design can make your book stand out and attract readers.

Printing and distribution costs will vary depending on the format of your book and the number of copies you want to produce. Print-on-demand services are a cost-effective way to print small quantities of your book, while offset printing is more suitable for larger print runs.

Marketing is also an essential part of self-publishing. You will need to promote your book to get it in front of readers. This can include online advertising, social media marketing, and book signings. It’s important to have a marketing plan in place before you publish your book to ensure its success.

Preparing Your Manuscript

Before you can publish your book, you will need to prepare your manuscript. This involves writing, editing and formatting your work to ensure that it meets industry standards.

Writing a book can be a daunting task, but with the right mindset and approach, you can create a masterpiece that readers will love. One tip is to set a writing schedule and stick to it. This will help you stay focused and motivated to complete your manuscript. Additionally, it’s important to have a clear idea of your book’s theme and message before you start writing. This will help you stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant details.

Writing and Editing Tips

One of the most crucial aspects of writing a great book is editing. It’s important to ensure that your book is properly proofread and edited for grammar, spelling and syntax errors. You may also want to consider hiring a professional editor for your manuscript. They can provide critical feedback and offer suggestions on how to improve your work.

When editing your work, it’s important to read it out loud to catch any awkward phrasing or pacing issues. You may also want to consider enlisting the help of beta readers, who can provide valuable feedback on your manuscript before it’s published.

Formatting Your Manuscript

Formatting your manuscript correctly is essential for a professional looking final product. This includes selecting the right font, spacing, margins and page layout. It may be helpful to research the formatting guidelines for your chosen publishing platform to ensure compatibility.

Another formatting tip is to use section breaks to separate chapters and scenes. This will help your readers stay organized and engaged with your story.

Designing an Eye-Catching Book Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover? Nonsense! Your book cover is the first impression that readers will have of your work, so it’s important to invest in a high-quality design. You can hire a professional designer or use pre-made templates to create an eye-catching cover that accurately represents your book.

When designing your book cover, it’s important to consider your target audience and the genre of your book. A romance novel cover will look very different from a horror novel cover, for example. Your cover should accurately reflect the tone and style of your book, while also standing out from the competition.

Choosing a Self-Publishing Platform

Self-publishing has become a popular option for authors who want to get their work out into the world without going through traditional publishing channels. With the rise of self-publishing platforms, it’s easier than ever to publish your own book and reach a wide audience. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right platform for your needs. Here are some of the most popular self-publishing platforms to consider:

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon KDP is one of the most popular self-publishing platforms, and for good reason. It offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to upload your manuscript and cover art. KDP also offers a wide distribution network, which includes Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, among others. This means that your book will be available to millions of potential readers around the world.

Another advantage of KDP is its competitive royalties. You can earn up to 70% royalties on your ebook sales, depending on the price of your book and the countries in which it is sold. KDP is also integrated with Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that allows readers to access your book for free. This can help you reach even more readers and boost your sales.


If you’re looking to print physical copies of your book, IngramSpark is a popular choice. It offers high-quality printing, flexible pricing, and a global distribution network. IngramSpark also allows you to print in a variety of formats, including hardcover, paperback, and ebook. This means that you can offer your readers a range of options to choose from.

IngramSpark also offers a number of other services, such as cover design, formatting, and marketing. While these services come at an additional cost, they can be a good option if you’re looking for professional help with your book.


Lulu is another popular self-publishing platform that offers a range of services, from editing to marketing. It has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to upload your manuscript and create your book. Lulu also offers competitive royalties and distribution options, which include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Lulu bookstore.

In addition to its self-publishing services, Lulu also offers a marketplace where you can sell your book directly to readers. This can be a good option if you want to have more control over your sales and marketing.


Draft2Digital is a great option for those who want to distribute their book across multiple platforms, such as Apple iBooks and Kobo. It offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to upload your manuscript and cover art. Draft2Digital also offers a range of distribution options, including ebook and print-on-demand.

One advantage of Draft2Digital is its formatting tool, which can help you create a professional-looking ebook without the need for specialized software. Draft2Digital also offers marketing tools, such as a universal book link that makes it easy to promote your book across multiple platforms.

Ultimately, the right self-publishing platform for you will depend on your individual needs and goals. Consider factors such as distribution, royalties, services, and ease of use when making your decision. With the right platform, you can bring your book to a wide audience and achieve your self-publishing dreams.

Navigating the Legal Aspects

When self-publishing your book, it’s important to understand and comply with the legal requirements. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Copyright protection is crucial for ensuring that your work cannot be used without your permission. It’s important to research the copyright laws in your country and to consider registering your work for additional protection.

Obtaining an ISBN

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique code that identifies your book and allows it to be tracked and sold through distribution channels. While it’s not legally required, having an ISBN can increase the visibility of your book and make it easier for retailers to sell.

Legal Deposit Requirements

The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 requires that a copy of every book published in the UK be deposited in certain libraries. This includes the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales and the Library of Trinity College Dublin. It’s important to ensure that your book is deposited in these libraries to comply with the law.


Self-publishing can be a rewarding and profitable way to share your work with the world. By understanding the self-publishing process, preparing your manuscript, choosing the right platform and navigating the legal aspects, you can successfully publish your book in the UK. Remember to invest in quality editing, formatting and design, and to research cost-effective solutions. Good luck with your self-publishing journey!