Self-publishing involves someone writing a book and publishing it without the guidance or assistance of established publishers. It also means that the writer takes care of proofreading, editing, formatting, printing, and every step in between.
Many soon-to-be authors prefer this option for its cost-effectiveness, but that doesn’t mean they don’t encounter challenges along the way. If you need a helping hand to self-publish your next book, take note of the following tips.
Seek Professional Help
While you might have every intention of handling all parts of the book-publishing process yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t call upon professionals offering self-publishing services for help and advice.
Some of the best publishing companies will provide comprehensive step-by-step courses, guidance, and coaching, and some will even take care of the entire process for you. Self-publishing doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t receive help from other people; it simply means that you aren’t aligning yourself with an established publishing company that charges a fortune for its services.
Give Yourself Time
It’s easy to assume that self-publishing a book is a fast, easy process, especially since there’s no to-ing and fro-ing with publishers. You might be so confident that everything will run smoothly that you set an optimistic date for releasing your book to the public.
Even if everything seems to be on track, give yourself more time than you need. A pushed-out publishing date gives you extra time to focus on quality and last-minute changes without rushing.
Take a Writing Course
There’s every reason to believe that you’re a skilled, talented writer with a lot to offer the reading community, but taking a writing course might set you up for future success. Some courses are designed for beginners, guiding you through basics like spelling and grammar, while others are meant for experts who need help writing their first or subsequent novels.
By taking such a course before you go down the self-publishing route, you might be able to make critical changes to your book that improve your chances of sales success.
Enter Writing Competitions
Getting feedback from other people can be crucial for building on your skills. Before putting together your book in earnest, consider entering some of your past writing examples into contests.
Not only is there potential for you to win a prize, but you might also benefit from valuable feedback from highly-skilled judges that help shape your future books. Many national contests also offer the chance for aspiring writers to have their entries sent to editors.
Hire an Editor
You might be more than adept at picking up glaring errors in your work, but there’s a high chance you won’t catch them all. Knowing that you’re at risk of sending your book to print with spelling and grammatical errors, you might see the value in hiring a professional editor to check your work.
Editors can also ensure your book flows, is consistent, and is free of plot holes. While you might have taken proofreading classes to avoid significant errors, there’s nothing wrong with a fresh pair of eyes.
Design a Cover
As much as we like to say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, many people do. If your book hasn’t been professionally designed, you might find it challenging to sell as many copies as you anticipated.
However, there is more to a book cover than a fun design that grabs your attention on a bookstore shelf. Research the different design elements that might help it stand out from the crowd. All books should have riveting titles, complementary subtitles, intriguing typography, and descriptive cover designs that perfectly explain the contents of the book without the need for words.
If your book has been reviewed or endorsed by prominent critics before it was released to the public, consider including that information on the back, along with your author bio. Don’t neglect the spine, either. When your book is stacked side by side next to others, its spine needs to tell a story all on its own to encourage people to slide the book off the shelf and take a look.
If you’re unsure how to design a cover that ticks all these boxes, consider hiring a professional designer. It’s a small price to pay for having a book cover that stands out for all the right reasons.
Purchase an ISBN
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number that identifies a specific book, edition, and publication variation. This number is vital for booksellers and identifies you as the person who published it.
While a simple number might not seem necessary, it can be if you want to have full control over your book publication and sales. If you’re in the United States, the only place to receive an ISBN is through the US ISBN Agency, Bowker.
Start Marketing Early
You might have written a best seller that has the potential to fly off the shelves, but if no one knows about it, they can’t buy it. Don’t wait until your book is headed for bookstores before ramping up your marketing efforts. Instead, begin your marketing efforts at least six months to one year before your book is due to be released.
Create blog posts, write articles, and even consider press kits for media outlets. Podcasts and ads might also be worth your while if you want to ensure you cover all bases.
In the few weeks before your book hits bookstore shelves, ramp up your efforts by sending out email newsletters, posting on social media, and telling all your friends and family. Keeping your book fresh on everyone’s minds might be how you build excitement that leads to sales.
Take a Business Course
Many writers benefit from creative writing and proofreading courses, but some might also see the value in business courses. Your goal might be to publish your book, but it’s often helpful to have skills in managing the money from your sales and making sound business decisions regarding future book deals and investments.
As you’re going down the self-publishing route without a publishing or marketing company, having at least a small amount of knowledge to make the best decisions for your book and financial situation can be invaluable.
Many people prefer self-publishing their books because it’s straightforward and affordable. However, by taking these steps above and relying on experts to help, you might make the experience even more memorable for the right reasons.