Self-publishing is probably one of the coolest things that has happened in the last 10 years. Digital self-publishing, that is!
I have self-published many different things and I love to help other people do the same, so I thought I put together a list of things that new folks to the self-publishing scene would benefit from knowing.
A lot of self publishing advice will depend on what exactly you are publishing. If you’re writing something in fantasy or historical fiction or another genre, slightly different advice might be applicable to you than to someone writing a non-fiction eBook.
Ultimately, we can all benefit from some good writing and marketing advice, so here is what I think you should know.
Have a clear goal in mind.
Figure out exactly what you want your self published book to do. Do you want to change peoples lives? Do you want to reach a lot of people? Or do you want to make money? There’s no wrong answer. You simply need to be honest with yourself about what your goal is, so that you can take steps to achieve that goal.
The odds of you releasing an e-book and then it magically soaring to the top of a bestseller list are incredibly slim. A lot of people publish a book and really secretly want that to happen, but don’t take any of the steps to actually make it a reality.
If you want to make a lot of money off your eBook, then that’s fine! You’ll need to do preliminary research to make sure that there’s a demand for your book, and build a comprehensive marketing strategy.
If you want to help a certain demographic or type of person, you need to make a plan as to how to get your book into their hands.
If you want to circulate a huge number of copies of your book, then you need to find the right places to advertise or the right newsletters to be featured in.
Or, you could combine all of his goals! Just be clear on what you want this book to do, and then you can plan for that result.
Hire an editor – or, at least self-edit really well.
In order to achieve the goals that you want for this book, it’s important to have a really solid product. Working with an editor can make that happen.
There are editors and proofreaders at all different budget levels, so you can probably find someone in your price range. But if you can’t, or have no budget at all, it’s more important than ever to be really thorough with your proofreading.
Use tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to check and improve your writing and grammar. Print out your manuscript and read it on paper. Edit it with a pen.
Even if you are working with an editor, it’s a good idea to thoroughly proofread your work because it will save them a lot of time and you a lot of money. That’s a pro tip!
Choose your cover wisely.
Your cover is your most important marketing tool. To the great dismay of writers for generations, readers really do judge books by their covers!
It’s important to do some research about what trends there are in your genre, what sort of styles you personally like, and what types of art designs are selling.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of picking a marketable cover, and don’t let your haste to release your book make you skimp out on this step.
You can create your own cover, hire an artist or illustrator, buy a premade template, or find a premade cover that works for your book. Just make sure that you’re considering what your reader would like.
Pay attention to distributor agreements.
If you are selling your email through a distributor like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, make sure that you are fully aware of what you are agreeing to you when you sell your books through them.
The different programs that these distributors offer have different terms of exclusivity. That means that when you sell your books through one, you may not be able to sell your book anywhere else.
All of the distributors are different, so there’s no hard and fast rule about how this works. Just make sure that you are reading all the agreements and understand fully what you are signing your book up for.
Don’t worry too much, though. These programs that require exclusivity do have a time limit. Eventually your book will either be released or renewed in these programs, so your decision won’t be permanent!
Ask for help if you need it.
Let’s face it: writing a book is a lot of work. Sometimes, you need help with it.
There are a lot of different people offering different services out there that can help you with your book. Editors and proofreaders of course are an important part of this. But there are also lots of different services, too!
I work as a writing coach helping authors to work out their storylines, finish the book, and make it as good as possible. Generally, the writers that I work with are full of good ideas and motivated to write. They just need a little help staying focused, and to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
You could also join a local writers group or guild. There are plenty of Facebook groups offering a similar thing if there aren’t any in-person groups near you. Having a writing community can be really helpful in making you feel supported, and like this whole writing thing is something you could really do.
Decide if you’re going to self-publish or try to traditionally publish your book first.
This is an important decision to make as early as you can possibly make it. If you’re going to try to traditionally publish your book, you need to start searching for an agent or a publisher that you can query who doesn’t require an agent. You need to have your whole manuscript finished and extremely polished before you start putting it out there.
If you’re going to self-publish, then you’re going to have to do all the steps that a publisher would do. You can start pretty early by building your author platform or a website. You’ll also want to start creating a budget for your book launch. This includes an editor, maybe some marketing services, and printing costs, if you want to create a paperback version of your book and have it on hand.
There’s no wrong way to do it. No method of publishing is more or less valuable than the other. It just comes down to how much work you want to or are able to do, and how much control you want over all aspects of the project.
Also, if you’re thinking about self-publishing an eBook but have no idea where to start, perhaps my online course is a good option for you! It’s called the eBook Publishing Masterclass, and you can find it at The Sprout School.
So those are my tips! I hope this is helpful if you’re just getting started writing your first book.
I’m always here to support new or experienced writers. If you wanna see more for me you can either join my newsletter, follow me Instagram @luckysprout, or reach out if you want some one-on-one support.
The hardest part of writing a book is actually sitting down and doing it. So don’t procrastinate any longer, and go get some words on the page!