The Self Publishing Process

Introduction | Writing | Editing and Critical Assessment | Copy editing |
Typesetting | Text and Cover Design | ISBN Registration | Printing |
Bibliographic / Copyright Registration | Publicity and Marketing |
Repping and Sales | Distribution / Warehousing | eBooks


So you've written your book, or perhaps you have a book concept that you think is unique. The only problem is, how do you get that idea and turn it into an actual volume on a bookshop shelf?

You enjoy the writing, you know your subject but you don't have the time or the inclination to learn the publishing business to ensure that you get the results that you want.

At Matador we've been helping people get their books into print for over 15 years, and it can be cheaper than you think, with prices starting from only £400. We also offer a personal service - we allocate a named production, marketing and ebook contact at Matador to each of our authors.

In this section you’ll find a useful overview about the services we offer, but we strongly recommend that you also visit our Information Centre, which offers more detailed information about every stage of the self-publishing process.

So, turn to Matador, and we'll turn your manuscript into a book...

“We've always liked Matador because they have the best values in their industry. Apart from anything else, they actually try to sell books. It sounds crazy, but most of their rivals don't. They print em, but don’t care about selling em. Matador do.”
The Writers' Workshop


This is the bit that you as the author have to do! We can't write your book for you, nor take your notes and turn them into a book. For those of you who need help in actually writing your book, we'd recommend a reputable ghost writer. Try Susannah Quinn (

Editing and Critical Assessment

It takes skill and experience to read and critically assess a new manuscript, and it is a time consuming process. To ensure that critical assessments are entirely unbiased and of a suitably high quality, we do not carry them out ourselves. As an author you thus have the assurance that we are not going to tell you how fantastic your manuscript is just so that you will publish it with us.

In-depth editing also takes skill and time, and invariably an editor working closely with an author will improve a manuscript for publication. Editing can be time-consuming, and thus costly, and is best undertaken by an experienced literary editor.

We recommend that authors wanting a good quality critical assessment or who wish to work with an editor in depth should contact one of eight companies that we know carry out good quality critical assessments and editorial work at a reasonable cost. All of these companies will also offer you a discount on their usual fees if you mention that you have come to them from Matador:

  1. Indie-Go: Indie-Go offer a range of editorial, design and marketing services, including copy editing, opinionated editing, manuscript critique, cover design, social media marketing and press release writing, and they offer a wide range of marketing materials including posters, postcards, banners and business cards.

  2. The Writers' Workshop uses experienced authors and editors to evaluate and comment upon manuscripts, and we have no hesitation in recommending them to prospective self publishing authors. For details, please view the attached Writers' Workshop offer.

  3. The Oxford Literary Consultancy is a well known company that offers in-depth editorial assistance to authors looking to publish or self-publish.

  4. Bubblecow: work with mainstream and self-publishing authors to improve manuscripts ready for publication by providing highly detailed 'publisher' standard copy editing. Any writer using Matador is entitled to a 10% discount, just mention 'Matador' when you submit your manuscript.

  5. Addison and Cole: provide a professional editorial service for unpublished writers and act as scouts for literary agents. For further information, see Addison & Cole's information.

  6. Cornerstones Literary Consultancy offers editing and critical assessment services, and also act as scouts for agents. For further details click here.

  7. Words Worth Reading offer a range of editorial services to writers. For details of their special offer to Matador authors, click here.

  8. The Writers' Advice Centre for Children's Books is a literary consultancy service offering all kinds of advice and training to children’s writers. For details, please view the attached WACV offer.

  9. Fiction Feedback offer a flexible critique and editing service to novelists, plus a 5% discount on their services to Matador authors. For further details please click here.

“I started to sniff around the various self-publishing companies. The company that everyone recommended was Matador. The quote was very reasonable, they seemed interested in what sort of book it was, and the quality was good.”
Hattie Edmonds, The Huffington Post

Copy Editing

You've written the best book you can, checked your facts and double checked your spelling. Yet there will be lots of mistakes! Particularly when you've lived with a project for a long time, you can become 'blind' to such mistakes, not spotting them until they're in print. The wrong caption, the wrong picture, inconsistent spelling, poor grammar, lack of punctuation... The copy editing process involves an independent party checking through your manuscript to look for such things and correct them. This ensures that your manuscript is of the highest quality (and you also get to approve any changes made before publication). Our quotation lists the cost of Matador’s in house editorial team undertaking a copy edit on your behalf, should you wish to take up this service.


First impressions count and you want your book to look good, inside and out. Matador can typeset your book to give that fantastic first impression. The typesetting process involves taking a manuscript and converting it into the way it will look in the book. We will use your text (from disk) and apply a typographical design to the book, placing photographs and graphics, choosing colours, page size, type size, etc. This will give the book a certain 'feel' and style, that will be carried through to the cover design. Once this process has been completed, you will be sent typeset proofs to check (proof read).

Text and Cover Design

Take a look at any two books on your shelf and you'll notice how the appearance of their text is different. How do you decide what font to use, what weight, how large should the pages be (and what's the most economical size), what will make the page pleasing to the eye...? Textual design is an art form which should not be overlooked. The best book can be ruined by poor typographical design, and if it's not easy to read, by and large people won't read it. We'll design your book and ensure that you're happy with that design before typesetting begins.

Cover design is arguably even more important, as it's often the cover that sells a book. How often have you seen 'home produced' books with terrible covers on the local bookshop shelf? We can design your book's jacket from scratch, using either your own artwork or supplying professional quality photographs or illustrations. We also ensure that your book cover includes a bar code - a necessity for stocking in bookshops.

Matador has arrangements with many well known online picture libraries to supply our authors with reduced cost photographs, for use in cover design and within books. Uniquely in the self-publishing industry, our authors can save between 10% and 50% on buying royalty free images through us with our discounted suppliers. This includes image databases such as,,,, and Dorling Kindersley RF. If you wish to source photographs or images for use on your book's cover or within the text, please contact us for further information on how to benefit from our discounted rates.

“Matador provide a quality self publishing service at the high end of the market and Booked PR is proud to support their authors with UK publicity campaigns. I often get asked by those authors wishing to self publish who they should approach and I always recommend Matador for a professional product that is highly affordable. Matador are a friendly team who make quality and customer satisfaction their priority.”
Helen McCusker, Booked PR

ISBN Registration

There is no legal requirement to give your book an ISBN number. However, without an ISBN number, a book cannot be ordered through any bookshop (physical or online) as the books ordering systems all work using the unique ISBN number, not a book's title. The ISBN number is unique to every book, and it enables a book shop to identify the book's publisher, and thus be able to order it. Without an ISBN number on your book, you are effectively limiting yourself just to private sales. We can supply ISBN numbers under our Matador imprint for books published in the UK, or we can source ISBN numbers for you if you wish to publish under your own imprint. We strongly recommend you read the more detailed information about ISBNs, especially if you are going to be providing your own ISBN.


The process of printing can be a minefield that Matador can lead you safely through. Printers vary in equipment, the systems that they use and the price that they'll quote for the same job. How do you know exactly which quote will work out to be the best?

The printing industry has its own conventions and standards and if you don't know what these are you may not get the final product that you hoped for. There are also different printing processes - lithographic or digital? What are the differences? Which would be appropriate for your book? How do I know a good printer from a poor one? How many copies should be printed? What will reprints cost?

Authors should be aware of the differences between printing ‘on demand’ and printing copies in advance. With a print on demand (POD) book, no copies exist until someone buys one, at which point the book is printed and sent to the customer. POD books are thus almost exclusively sold through online retailers. The book trade works on a sale or return basis, so bookshops will rarely if ever pay to have copies of a POD book printed in the hope that they will then sell them.

POD is thus not only a form of printing, it is also a form of distribution. If you want to see your book on the shelves of a bookshop, then POD is not the correct form of distribution. You should opt instead to print a number of copies in advance (short run digital printing or litho printing) and have these distributed through the traditional book trade distribution channel of sale or return supply.

At Matador we regularly use a wide range of printers nationwide, each with their own strengths, so we can take over that lengthy hunt for the right printer at the right price for your book. We can also advise on the correct form of printing and distribution bearing in mind your aims in self-publishing.

Bibliographic and Copyright Registration

How do booksellers know your book is available? They use various bibliographic databases run by companies such as Bowkers and Nielsen Book. These companies supply data to the high street and online bookstores, so you need to register with the databases so that your book appears on the stores' computer... invaluable when a customer wants to order it!

In addition, on publication you are required by law to send one copy of your book to the five Copyright Libraries in the UK, via the Copyright Receipt Office. We arrange registration for authors as a matter of course, and ensure the Deposit Libaries get their copies on your behalf. We make no charge for these services.

Publicity and Marketing

Marketing and publicity are a part of publishing a book that many authors overlook; perhaps they are daunted by the prospect of "selling" their book, or perhaps they simply don't know how. The books trade undoubtedly has complex distribution and sales systems which can appear to be impenetrable from the outside. Yet if you're serious about getting your book onto the shelves and selling more than a few copies, it's this part of the process that should demand your attention, even before the book has been printed.

Marketing is so important that we have devoted a completely separate section of this website to it, where we give details of the marketing and publicity services that we offer to authors. This includes book trade marketing to bookshops and wholesalers, media / public relations marketing offering regionally targeted marketing as well as social media and ebook marketing services. To find out more about the marketing we offer click here.

For authors who sign up with Matador, we offer a password-protected section of our website that gives even more detailed information on the whole marketing process, as well as offering further ideas and resources on marketing for our authors.

Your book will also become available online via other online retailers (Troubador is an Amazon and WH Smith associate company). In addition, your book will become available through any bookshop in the UK via Teleordering.

What we (or anyone else) cannot do is guarantee sales of your book, we may be selling your book, but by the same measure, someone also has to buy! We will be as realistic about the chances of your book reaching a wider market before we agree to undertake the marketing of your book.

Repping and Sales

We can act as your sales agent, taking orders and fulfilling them on your behalf. We then send you a payment every three months (minus 15% to cover our costs), and authors can check their book's sales through our website on a day-to-day basis.

Whether you are publishing your book using "print on demand" or you're printing larger numbers for wider retail sale, we can get your books out there into a crowded market so that they stand a chance of selling.

Many of our books are also represented by Star Book Sales to the books trade. Star have a team of sales reps who sell books into independent, national and online retailers on a one-to-one basis. To take advantage of this, an author needs to print at least 300 copies of a book, so that we have enough stock to actually place with the retailers. More information on having your book repped to retailers can be found in our Factsheet.

Distribution and Warehousing

We can arrange distribution of a book through either traditional sale or return bookshop channels or using print ‘on demand’ distribution. Authors should be aware of the pros and cons of each of these respective forms of distribution (see ‘Printing’ above).

We can store bulk copies (300 or more copies) of your book for a nominal monthly charge of £20 for a two-year period following publication. Smaller quantities are stored free of charge for a period of at least two years. Alternatively, your books can be delivered in bulk direct to you. Most authors opt to take delivery of a percentage of their books, leaving the rest in our warehouse to sell on their behalf. We have appointed Orca Book Services (in Poole) as our distributor, plus we also handle some distribution in-house.

Books that are distributed using the print on demand (POD) model exist only as entries on online retailers’ websites until such a time as a copy is bought by a reader. This avoids the need to print copies in advance, but it does effectively limit the sales of POD books to online retailers.


Once we have created your print ready files for your book, we can then also publish your book as an ebook. Further information on this is available here.

Contact Us!

Contact us for an informal discussion about your book's publication - advice is always freely given, and there's no obligation at all.

Tel: 0116 2792299