Self Publishing: What You Still Need To Do
You are nearing the end of the creation period. You have a finished copy and you want to self-publish, now what?
Last week I posted a column in which I referred my readers to an excellent article about the top ten self-publishing companies. That being said, and picking a company is the foremost, there are so many more decisions to be made.
So let’s recap a bit. Have you had the book edited? I know, I know, editors are out of the price range of many of us. Yes, a good one is worth the cost but, if you are on a limited income, $1300.00 is hard to come by and, if you do get it, there are probably other things, like car repairs, that gobble it up. The struggle is real.
There are many editing sites useful to writers. Using ProWritingAid as an example, an author can choose the free option and feed your story, section by section, into their site and receive a read-out on your screen of the line issues you might want to consider. Now, if you pay a quite reasonable and definitely cheaper than a live editor, you can feed in the entire book and receive a print-out response. The object is to take these observations and make adjustments as necessary.
What about beta readers? Has someone experienced in beta-reading gone through your novel? These volunteers give you their observations on continuity, readability, plot holes, time jumps, and other details that maybe you didn’t catch. It’s easy not to catch every single thing. By the time you’ve read your book three or four times, the words start to blur and you begin to doubt yourself. Beta’s are indispensable in writing. They point out the areas requiring work and, even better, they assure you that you aren’t crazy, are a writer, and your story is redeemable.
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So now you have a book to publish. Pick your company and realize up front that the only free way to publish is ebooks. Sites like Amazon will put your ebook out there for you with little to no costs. On the other hand, paperback publishing costs money. In the top 5 companies you can look at $800 to $1100 dollars for the basic package so have a special savings account or jar to squirrel away the bucks in order to get what you want.
As soon as you get a cover pic, start your marketing. I’m assuming you have a Facebook author page, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Social media is everything these days: online blog tours and reminders to your fans asking them to recruit other fans (we would never put it so crassly unless you have a street team). What is a street team? I wrote a whole column on it. Talk it up to anyone that will listen.
Pre-sales of paperbacks can start as soon as you know the publisher is in the process of creating your masterpiece. Also, make sure the publisher has access to all the different venues for your book such as Ingram, Baker, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The more venues, the more places for readers to buy your book.
Once published, get your copies to sell at signings (also an early check, do you get a discount?). Start setting up book signings in your area and expand the territory as your time allows. Also, offer to autograph the books the store stocks.
Make sure your library has at least one copy of your book. Notify your newspaper about the publication and send them a publicity sheet aka press kit. (Gotta remember to write a column on making those.) If you live near a big city whose newspaper has a book page, send a kit to them.
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Devote time each day to your social media. And don’t forget to work on that next novel. You should have started that as soon as your current book went into publishing, if not before.
Time management will be critical. The family needs to understand that their patience and understanding will be appreciated.
We may not all become bestselling authors but that doesn’t mean we should give any less in the effort. Take it as far as you can go. Future books will ride on the wave of what you create with this first one.