The publishing world has been turned on its head in the past decade, due to the advent of self publishing. No longer do writers need to spend hours, months, or years struggling to write book proposals that could might an agent, and then a publisher. Amazon has made it possible for any writer to get his book to the masses virtually overnight.
But just because self publishing is quicker than the traditional route doesn’t make it a cakewalk. Here are some tips to ensure that your foray into the world of authorship is a positive one.
Write a quality book.
This seems obvious, but a quick look through the offerings at Amazon will show that it’s not. Just as American Idol has convinced many Americans that they have a future in singing, self publishing has led many a would-be writer to the firm conviction that he’s the next John Steinbeck – or perhaps, Stephenie Meyer.
Take your time writing.
Resist the urge to throw that great novel you wrote five years ago onto Amazon next week. Take your time. Attend local writers’ groups. Read books on the craft of writing. Let someone else read your work, and listen to her advice. Not everyone is meant to publish books.
Hire an editor.
You’ve written a great novel. Now, please, have an editor look it over, both for punctuation/grammar issues and for larger plotting/continuity/character issues as well. We all tend to have blind spots when it comes to our own work. Chances are your editor will find several things that will leave you slapping your head and saying “duh,” but better the editor find these than a reader.
Invest in a quality cover.
Most self-published books are sold online, where a one inch thumbnail of the cover is what will gain a potential buyer’s attention. If you’re good with graphics, you can try creating a cover yourself. Better yet, create several and survey friends and co-workers on which is the most effective. If cover creating isn’t your strong point, you can hire an artist online who will be happy to help. Fiverr is a great spot to hire editors or graphic artists affordably. Check samples of their work first to ensure they have a style you like.
Get help with formatting.
You can write. However, you may not know how to format your book. Whether you plan to publish your work in paperback or digital forms, the formats vary and, especially for digital devices, they change frequently. It’s worthwhile to hire someone knowledgeable in formatting so that your work will be presented in a professional way. Again, Fiverr is a good place to start looking.
Get ready to do some publicity.
One downside to self publishing is that you have no publicity team working to promote your book. Don’t let that deter you: promote away! Contact bloggers on topics related to your book. See if you can hold a session on your book’s topic at the nearby library, or perhaps you can interest a local book club in reading your book. The sky is the limit; start brainstorming ideas for who would enjoy your book.
Learn from your readers.
Once your book is out, you’ll likely get feedback from readers. One great thing about self publishing is that you have the ability to tweak your book, even after it has been published. So, if you learn about a grammar error or something else you’d like to change, a simple fix will result in a better book for future readers. ~Susan