Being an author is hard work. And being a self-publishing author is even harder.
When you’re self-publishing, you have more than just writing to worry about. And sometimes, it can be hard to keep it all straight. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 5 focus areas you should spend time learning about. This way, you’ll be better prepared for your self-publishing ventures.
One of the best tricks to being a good writer is to be an even better researcher. And I’m not just talking about during the actual writing of the book. From start to finish, you should research exactly what methods, tools, and approaches you’ll take through your journey.
As a self-publisher, you want to try to maintain as much control over the direction of your project as possible. But there’s going to be some bumps and surprises along the way. However if you’re properly prepared and have taken some online writing courses ahead of time, these inconveniences won’t slow you down too much.
Another key area all self-publishers need to focus on is editing. When it comes to editing, it seems like the process never ends. It’s just one continuous loop–well, at least for me. But it’s so important that you learn how to be a better editor.
First of all, you’ll save a bunch of money that you can use for other things. That said, no matter how awesome of a writer you are, you should hire a professional editor for a final pass. Often, we get too close to our own writing — causing us to make glaring oversights when it comes to editing. But if you can at least correct simple grammatical errors and misspellings, that’s less time your editor needs to spend on the manuscript.
Also, focusing on editing can make you a better writer. By learning common grammatical and stylistic mistakes, you’re less likely to write them in the future. I’d recommend using a top quality editing tool such as ProWritingAid to help you out with your editing education.
3. Cover Design
You may have the most wonderfully written and most immaculately edited manuscript in the world, but that alone won’t ensure sales and success. Remember the whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” mantra? That hardly ever applies in today’s writing.
Your cover will be the first thing judged. And within seconds, a reader will decide whether or not to read your book. It’s a harsh reality that self-publishing authors have the misfortune of discovering after skimping on cover design. If you want to give your book the best chance of success, put some time and effort into your cover.
And if you’re not the most visually creative individual out there, swallow your pride. Go hire a professional.
Perhaps the most despised part of self-publishing for most authors is book marketing. Book marketing can be complicated — particularly for those new to the game. However, it’s essential if you want to give your book a fighting chance in today’s competitive market. Word of mouth only goes so far, and even the most well-written books die in obscurity.
One tactic commonly used by self-publishers (those who publish on Amazon particularly) for marketing is utilizing Amazon ads. These ads can be extremely valuable for authors because they can put your book directly in front of an audience who is more likely to purchase it. But without a basic understanding of how these ads work, your campaigns can turn into money pits–and fast. I have a free Amazon Ads course that’ll help you get started.
But even if you decide not to use paid advertisements, you’re still not off the hook. Because the first step in marketing your book is your book description or blurb. That’s right. Your blurb is ad copy. And if it’s not written well, don’t expect too many sales.
So, you’ve written your book to perfection with an awesome blurb and you have a cover ready to go. Now what?
It’s time to get it out into the world. But where? And how? Well, there are two major types of distribution companies. You have retailers and aggregators. Retailers are markets that directly sell your book. Some of these include:
- Barnes & Noble Press
These allow for you to get a “bigger slice of the pie” when it comes to royalties and payouts.
Aggregators, on the other hand, help your book to go wide. Book aggregators such as Draft2Digital distribute to many different retailers for you for a small fee.
Self-Publishing is Tough Yet Rewarding Work
Nobody ever said that self-publishing is the easiest way to get your story out there. For many authors, it’s a part time gig done after they clock out from their day job. But whether you write full-time or at night in the dim glow of your reading light, self-publishing can still be incredibly rewarding. There will be ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of them.
Research your process and learn what needs to be done for a successful launch. Practice your editing and save on your external hiring costs. Create awesome book covers to draw in your readers and fine tune your marketing to keep them there. And lastly, figure out just how you want to distribute.
Photo from Unsplash by Campaign Creators