Because self-publishing is a rigorous, yet invigorating process, this is part two of a three-part blog post. Don’t be intimidated however, because this next part will provide many resources on the next steps to turning that manuscript into a real-live book. If you’re just tuning in, be sure to check out 3 Things You Must Do First When Self-Publishing as well.

So in conjunction with where I left off previously, once your manuscript has been sent to your critique partners (CPs), your next step is to:

4) Hire an editor.

This is crucial to the success of your self-published book. I recently read two self-published works by fiction authors and found typos in both pieces on the first page. It immediately negated the quality I felt they both had, and did not continue to read them.

In regards to working with your editor, there are a few options:

  • You can either wait to receive your CPs’ notes and begin the third draft with them in mind, before sending it to your editor.
  • You can hire an editor and send your second draft to them, as well as your CPs.
  • You can bypass CPs altogether and just work with your editor.

What would make you decide between these options? A few things, really, and I will talk more about finding the right editor in the near future. You can also check out our blog Finding The Right Editor For Your Manuscript.

Firstly, it depends on what you want from your editor that your CPs may not provide—which is actually a lot. Not only regarding fixing grammatical errors, style errors (AP vs. Chicago Manual), but also depending on whether you want a professional’s opinion on your plot and content, issues with dialogue, continuity, etc. Midnight Publishing offers all of these services, and tailors them to each writer’s needs and budget.

Another reason you may not utilize CPs is if you are writing non-fiction, unless other experts in your field are willing to read over it and provide insight. With non-fiction especially, an editor will make sure that your sources are cited correctly, no copyright infringement has taken place, etc. Midnight Publishing’s services would be invaluable to anyone going this route.


Be sure you trust those who are reading your manuscript, because although it is rare, people have “stolen” ideas in the past. Also, this stage is too early to copyright your work due to the revisions taking place. Once a copyrighted work is changed to a certain degree, it is no longer the same and thus not “covered” by that copyright any longer. This is why many people, especially in non-fiction, may skip the CPs and hire a professional editor.

So once you have received your manuscript back from your editor and/or CPs, it is time to write the final draft. Once that is completed, send it once more to the editor for a final look through. Then it is ready to be published!

5) Purchase your ISBN number.

ISBN numbers are unique numbers assigned to your book only, so that they are able to be identified by booksellers/stores, libraries, etc.

ISBN numbers can be purchased in four amounts:



100-$575… And so forth

As you can see, the cost of ISBNs drop dramatically the more you purchase at a time, but they are not inexpensive. If you plan to release numerous editions of your book, or print and digital formats, then you need to have a separate ISBN for each.

Here’s a great article by writer and publisher Joel Friedlander on the meaning of ISBNs, who needs them, and how to get them.

6) Register the copyright your book.

As Joel Friedlander explains here, once you create content, it is already copyrighted and owned by you the moment you create it. But to further protect yourself, once your book is completed and ready to be sold, you can choose to register the copyright with the Library of Congress so that it is protected by U.S. law. This just ensures that if someone does infringe on your work, you can act legally, easily.

Now that all of that legal mumbo-jumbo stuff is out of the way, my next post will focus on formatting your book for digital platforms, designing a cover, and marketing once your book is out in the world.

Until then, keep writing and keep dreaming!


For more information on Ashley R. Carlson, see “About the Author” below and find her dilly-dallying at her:

Twitter: @AshleyRCarlson1


Midnight Publishing offers skilled and affordable media architects for manuscript editing, self-publishing consultation and guidance, and author marketing. The ultimate role of the editor is to help the author connect with the reader. A good editor enhances that connection, providing another eye and view for the author. Our editors are artists of language, grammar, and the mechanics that help a manuscript take the journey from ordinary to great. Midnight Publishing also offers self-publishing consultation, query letter editing, graphic and web site design, business copy writing and editing, and more.

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Midnight Publishing’s founder, Lauren Wise, on Twitter: @MidnightWriting