Thinking About Self-Publishing? Check Out These 5 Tips
The self-publishing revolution is a wonderful new movement that is putting the power back into the hands of writers and away from big businesses and big-name publishing houses. With ebooks, you don’t need an insane amount of financial backing to get your work out to the people; you just need a good strategy to move forward and a bit of inside knowledge.
These five tips are essential to consider before you jump in and start work on your own project. Knowing them will ensure a smoother process moving forward and help toward the ultimate success of your book release.
1. Have an end goal
Before you start, it’s important to know where you want to end. There are many different reasons that people chose to self-publish, and each result requires a different process.
If you’re purely looking to make money, then guides, instruction books and how-to’s are sure to attract investments, or creating a resource that can be used in a school environment is an excellent catalyst for funding. If you’re hoping to spread a message, then investigating your chosen niche and identifying the main distribution channels they use is essential.
However, for those who just want to publish a personal project or further their career as a writer, getting involved in the many blogs and online communities of the ebook world is a fantastic method to create buzz about the release of your work.
2. Be wary of beta readers
Having someone edit your work is an essential undertaking for any writer to ensure a professional final product. No matter how well you believe you can self-edit, it’s impossible to notice all the tiny mistakes, and having a fresh pair of eyes on your work is an invaluable help to anyone.
However, when sending your finished book off for editing, you have to remember that even the best beta reader doesn’t have as good an understanding of your original aim as you do. Similarly, editors are still human and are also liable to make mistakes due to basic human error.
So, while we’re not saying you should fire your editor, it is important that you don’t just send out your edited work without checking the changes that have been made first.
3. Choose your self-publishing services wisely
There are so many great services available for creating, publishing and distributing, so this is just a basic rundown of a few of the best, alongside the most important elements to consider when making your choice. Having a comprehensive understanding of what’s on offer will be essential to your success, so we recommend some extra Googling on this subject.
Once written, your book will have to be compiled into the appropriate format and made to look professional before it is put out for sale. iBooks Author (discontinued in 2020) offers a fantastic service to do this. However, the software is restricted to Apple devices. An alternative is Sigil, which is open source and easy to use, but doesn’t hold many formats. If you’re aiming for a solely ebook audience, then another fantastic option is Kotobee Author, as it allows you to add interactive elements to your work, alongside all the usual book-creator features.
While most authors look to sell on Amazon via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), this is not necessarily the best option. It does give you the greatest success regarding audience number and reach, but the royalties it pays are minuscule. Lulu is a much better choice in terms of fair pay, but in return, doesn’t see as many sales. There is also the option of using an ebook aggregator, such as Smashwords or BookBaby, who will take your raw manuscript, covert it into the relevant format and cover the distribution process for you over a range of well-established platforms.
You can host your books on both sites, but be aware that the price match feature on Amazon will lower the cost of your work on there if you chose to display it for cheaper elsewhere on the web. Apple iBooks also allows authors to publish directly, and this can be done especially easily via iBooks Author (discontinued in 2020), but a recent change in their format allowances have made this harder for writers who work in PDF or standard EPUB formats.
4. Verse yourself in online marketing
Promoting your own work as a self-publisher is an essential endeavor. The internet has provided a fantastic resource, which allows us to engage with a wider and further-reaching fan base than ever before. Things to consider when running an online marketing campaign include:
- Having a website as a central hub to which everything else is directed.
- Using social media to interact with your fans and create a lasting relationship with them.
- Running a blog to keep a constant buzz around the release of your book, even after the initial excitement has died down.
Alongside this, generic marketing rules still apply. Creating a visual representation of your work—by thinking about colors, themes and icons—and then making that universal amongst your online accounts will create a lasting and more impactful impression of your franchise.
5. Protect your investment
No matter what product or service you’re pushing, anyone who works online has a set of considerations that are essential to address if they want ensured success in their endeavor. Internet security is fast becoming one of the most talked about issues in our modern world, and even if an attack doesn’t bring down your entire business, it will definitely scare off a significant amount of readers.
This is because small, insignificant hacks—called malvertising—in which an injected bit of code causes you to post or email a spam advert to all of your subscribers, are becoming increasingly common. Although they pose no real danger, anyone who sees them will quickly delete and avoid you online, for fear of their personal security. These hacks occur from clicking infected links, which can be easily avoided by being stringent about what you open, or via hackers lurking on insecure public networks.
The best way to prevent the latter is to stick to secure, private connections, but if you can’t sacrifice the convenience that these public networks afford you, then you can install a VPN such as IPVanish, which mimics a secured connection, encrypts your data and prevents hackers from injecting malicious code.
Self-publishing is a brilliant way to work, and it would be a shame for all your hard work to go to waste simply because you’d missed an important element. These five tips should cover all the basic problems, but if you have any more helpful pointers to share, then we’d love to hear your ideas! Be sure to leave a comment below.
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