4 Things to Know Before Publishing Your First Book
Let’s start by painting a picture. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your first literary work. The next logical step is to take the plunge and publish it, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Whether you’re selling an online ebook, printed book, or both, keep in mind that the market is overcrowded.
Publishing a book is like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean. Irrespective of the size of the ocean, you’re hoping that your message will be spotted and read by the right person. This is why you need to have a solid pre-launch strategy that will set the groundwork for your work and get it noticed by the right audience.
Here are a few things you should do before publishing your book.
1. Pay Attention to the Cover
Focus on aesthetics.
We always hear that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But, not many people really follow this rule. Book cover design may greatly impact your readers’ buying decisions. No matter if they’re buying on Amazon or at a bookstore, the first thing your target customers will see is the cover of your book.
Stay true to the book.
First, you need to set clear goals when designing the cover. It needs to align with the topic you’re writing about. For example, creating a book cover for a horror story and a romantic novel is not the same, right? Based on your genre, narrative, and the emotions you want to evoke in a reader, you need to choose the adequate font, visuals, and color palettes. Most importantly, the title of the book should remain dominant. Choose large fonts, contrasting colors, and lots of white space to make it easy to spot.
Hire someone to help.
These are just some general rules that may guide you through the design process. Still, this doesn’t mean you should design the book cover on your own. To do so, you need to have the right tools and, above all, lots of experience in graphic design. That’s where you should hire a designer that will tell your book’s story through a professionally designed and attractive book cover.
You can also check out these 9 Ebook Cover Tips for Beginners for a more in-depth take on how to come up with the right cover for your ebook.
2. Annihilate All the Typos.
Edit your work.
It’s a commonly known fact that typos look very unprofessional. Editing is a key factor that separates bestsellers from the sea of mediocre works. By editing, I don’t mean merely correcting typos and grammatical errors. There are also inconsistencies in your writing style you should minimize. There are some techniques you can make use of to help you while editing your book. Check out this guide on How to Become an Amazing Self-Editor.
Use online tools.
For starters, you could use tools like Grammarly that has both free and paid versions. It allows you to set your proofreading goals, identifies your mistakes and provides you with suggestions that will make your work easier to follow. But that’s not all, there are other online tools such as Scribens, Smallseotools’ grammar checker, Grammarix, and Reverso’s spell checker.
Hire a proofreader.
Still, to ensure that your work is ready for publishing, consider hiring a proofreader in the final stage of your writing process. Always hire a professional proofreader or, at least, someone with a degree in English. You’ll obviously need to tell them about the goals and the sentiment behind your work to help them better understand it. There are a lot of online services that can offer you some help in that department. One of them just happens to be Reedsy.
3. Create a website.
A functional website is the core of your online promotion. In the fierce online world, a website can be your identity card. It allows you to put yourself in front of the right audience, tell them your story, and build a solid personal brand. When working properly, your website is a place where people come to learn what’s new, get motivated, and find answers to their questions. So how do you go about making that happen?
Pick the right domain name.
For starters, pick the right domain name. As you’re building a personal brand as an author, using your name for your domain is always a good option. It makes you easier to find. Whenever someone looks you up online, your website will be the first thing they see in the search results.
Make your website user-friendly.
Pay special attention to what a visitor sees once they land on your homepage. Make sure your website is designed properly, as the choice of color palettes, fonts, and visuals may impact people’s perceptions.
Ensure your website is responsive.
What that basically means is that you need to ensure your website isn’t dead. That not only do you get constant traffic but that the visitors also interact with you and maybe even each other. How do you do that?
- Simplify your navigation menu,
- make your CTA buttons and links easily clickable,
- add search functionalities,
- and create mobile-friendly contact forms.
Test the site’s speed. If you notice that it is slow, you could improve it by choosing an adequate web hosting plan, compressing images, minifying code, and allowing website caching.
A blog should be an inspirational place where people come back to read your new posts, have fun, and find answers to their questions. It helps you increase your personal brand awareness and position yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy resource.
4. Utilize Social Networks.
Create social media accounts.
The majority of your potential readers use at least one social media platform. They don’t just use them to communicate with friends though. They also use these channels to follow relevant brands and influencers, stay on top of new trends, and research products they like. They join groups, share posts, and write reviews, spreading the word about whatever interests them. That’s why you need to be on social media too.
Be consistent with your content.
For starters, check your accounts and assess their consistency. As an author, you need to use the same tone of voice and writing style across multiple channels. Ensure that your messaging reflects your personality and resonates with audiences. Also, rewrite your user name and profile description and use the same photo across different accounts to make yourself easily recognizable.
Build a community.
Then, focus on building a community on the channels your target readers use. If they’re not using Instagram, for example, what’s the point of marketing your work there? Use social media monitoring tools to track relevant conversations and participate in them. Share relevant content and write engaging posts to keep people intrigued. Create a group on Facebook or LinkedIn. You don’t have to promote your book directly out there. Instead, use these channels to deliver value to your readers and connect with them on a personal level.
You can also opt for these 8 Top Writing Communities You Should Join.
Spread the word.
Finally, build lots of buzz around your new book before publishing it. For example, publish behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Ask followers to help you choose the design of your book cover on Instagram. Publish a live video and promote it widely. Host a giveaway. Keep readers updated about the news related to the release of the book.
One of the most common mistakes inexperienced writers make is rushing into publishing their first work. From the design of the book cover to your marketing strategy, there are numerous steps to take before publishing your book. Remember that you don’t need to do all of that on your own. Hiring professional designers and editors will save you lots of time and help you meet the standards needed for publishing a book. You should also have a solid pre-launch marketing strategy. Build a website, start blogging, and use social networks to create buzz around your book. Sure, you can always hire an online marketing strategist, if your budget allows. But don’t take the plunge until you’re all set for it and ready to get your book out. You don’t want to rush and have your book suffer for it, now do you?