Sorry for any errors on the tips & how to pages. I'm doing this fast.
I have dabbled in publishing and have attended conventions. You must become aware that you are not entering the world of writing. You are entering the world of publishing, and more specifically, self-publishing.
What this means is that you must become aware that you are getting into the FIVE (at least) various stages of publishing:
1. Planning to write your book - you can use Post-It notes and a board for this. You can also use index cards, write your ideas on them, and arrange them as they will appear in your book. You can make a connected tree diagram of your book.
2. Writing the book. No need to explain this part.
3. Editing the book. Edit the book. My tip for your is to edit the book at least six times over. Then, and only then, should you ask another person to professionally take a look and further edit the book.
4. Publishing the book. Once you are happy with how the book(s) has been written, you get into the process of actually producing the printed and ebook versions of the book.
5. Promoting the book. This is when you get out there and tell people you have a book.
There is a sixth stage which is very important for your own mental and physical health: 6. Recovery.
You must insert Recovery in between any or all of the first 5 stages above, and even after the 5th, as needed. When you write, you are going out of your way to do it. You need to recover from possible physical and mental stress. Learn to pace yourself so you don't lose your health nor go crazy.
This consideration is something towards the end of the publishing process, and it tends to be something you will overlook.
Imagine this: Your book will be saved as a pdf file. Other computers will get ahold of your book. The same typestyle that you have in your pc should also be present in other people's pcs. The only way you can do this is if your typestyle comes "embedded" inside the file. Research on this and remember the term.
Actual printed books need 300 dot per inch (dpi) images. Anything more than that would not make too much of a difference and might have unexpected results. Research on this.
Book printers only need two pdf files to print physical books, the cover and the interior.
Ebooks have different formats for different readers. The formats include epub, mobi, doc, rtf, pdf, azw, djvu and many more. This is why it is easier to produce printed books than ebooks.
Just because ebooks are cheaper does not mean they are easier to make.
The cover is usually full-color on one side and blank on the other, inner side. Four colored inks are used for printing: cyan (the bluish color), magenta (the pinkish color), yellow and black. 4/0 means four color on one side, and no printing on the other.
The interior for memoirs without pictures will only use black ink, on both sides of the paper. 1/1 means one ink color, usually black, will be used on both sides of the paper. When you produce a full-color art book, you will tell the printer that the interior of the book will be 4/4.
5 means a 5th color, like foil printing, gold ink, silver ink or the company's logo's premixed color will be used. McDonald's red and yellow ink colors, for example, are exact. They cannot just trust the balance between cyan, magenta, yellow and black to produce the correct red and yellow color. This is when premixed exact colors are used.
Work on the print versions first. I highly recommend the Adobe family of software. Use InDesign to make the actual book. Edit images from photographs using Adobe Photoshop. Make crisp line drawings using Adobe Illustrator. Never use Photoshop for the cover text, like the title. Use Illustrator for the large, stylized title of your book. Position the title over the Photoshop Image using InDesign. Export everything to pdf, making sure that the fonts you used are EMBEDDED with the exported pdf file.
Use InDesign for the interior of the book.
Once you are done with the printed version of the book, produce the ebook versions by exporting the InDesign files to another format, which InDesign will provide.
Be aware that ebooks are newer than printed books. Because the manufacturers of the e-readers compete with each other, different formats for ebooks are required. The ebooks are basically "glorified" versions of webpages with additional functionalities like the inclusion of the table of contents and the cover. CBRs and CBZs are "glorified" versions of rar and zip files of images, and these are used for scanned comic book pages. If you have text in your ebook, do not come up with cbr and cbz formats, because there is no way to search for text in these formats.
I am suggesting that you start using and learning two free software for making ebooks: Sigil and Calibre. You should also look into using an HTML editor. Because making ebooks is not an exact science, because of competing companies and varying e-readers, you will be juggling between at least these three programs.
Paper for the interior have various thicknesses. They might be unnoticeable per sheet, but if you have a 200-page book, you will notice the difference. This is why the online printers will also have an online spine calculator.
The three parts of a single pdf cover are the back cover, the spine, and the front cover. Be careful with the spine and how you position your letters and words on the spine. The greatest disservice you will give your book is when the text on the spine is upside down when you stack them together with all your other books in your library. After all the work you put in publishing your book, do not produce an upside-down spine for all to marvel.
There would be a background. If it is an image, it has to be blurry if it is expected to be blurry. It cannot be blurry because you enlarged a small image.
The title of the book should be a very crisp line illustration. This illustraton will repeat in the interior and the back cover.
Once again, do not make the mistake of having an upside down text on the spine.
Imagine that your book will end up in a physical bookstore. Classify your book to help the clerks. Look at the current keywords bookstores use. For example, place "Art > Biography" on the upper left of the back cover.
Decide on the retail price and include it on the back cover AND on the top of the bar code.
There should be a bar code.
You can opt to add your picture in a section that also has a little writer's bio.
Books are usually held by one hand at the bottom of the page. Your text does not need to sit in the center of the book page. Make an allowance for the fingers holding the book at the bottom.
Make sure that the size of the type is acceptable. Do not use small type just so you can have a thinner book.
Page numbers should be present.
Get a book and make sure you follow the conventions.
Make sure that the fonts / typefaces you chose are still there.
Sometimes, you want to edit from a printed copy.
You need to stick to pdf files. The cover has to be a single pdf file that includes the back cover, the spine and the front cover. Everything must already be in place.
Uploading doc files is a like a trap. The company you are uploading to wants to charge you additional fees for redesigning your book to the correct pdf format. They want you to spend time doing things on your own so you will discover how difficult finalizing your book is. Then you will allow them to take over.
I redesigned a book because this guy I met thought he can do it on his own. What was bad was that he already scheduled his book signing and invited people over. His friends were forced to buy are really bad "book." He then came to me, asking me to redo the book because in ten days he had another book signing event. The better books got delivered a day before the event. I had to rush not only redesigning the book, but editing the contents as well. It all seems easy, but if you thnk about it, there are paginations, headings on each page, the table of contents, acknowledgments and introductions, a dedication page, the copyright page, etc.
The ISBN and LCCN are free.
The LCCN I believe is only for the United States, so research into what might be needed in your country.
You need to make sure that you have a copyright page that looks like a copyright page. Get a few books and copy their formats.
There are online bar code generators for ISBN. If you go to the bookstores, you will notice that the bargain books have barcodes that have numbers on top that probably start with 9, followed by 0s. The regular books will have the last digits as the retail price, together with the price somewhere on the back cover. If you generate a barcode without including the price, your brand new book will look as if it came from the bargain section of the bookstore. This is why you need to decide on the price before you generate a barcode. There is a new system of coding that has become popular, called "QR codes." They look like squares. You might want to look into including that on the back cover.
If your country does not yet have a self-publishing company or you cannot find a company in your country that can print and maybe even deliver your books, look for a relative in another country whom you can trust to help you.
Again, sorry for any grammatical errors. I will add more to this page in the future. Good Luck! :-)