Every writer dreams of having a bestseller or mainstream success of some kind. You may want to achieve the level of success Beth Reekles had with Kissing Booth, or you could be trying to transition to writing full time so you can explore your creative endeavors.
Whatever your reason for writing is, you’ll find it’s far easier to self publish than to try to get a publisher.
Why You Should Self Publish Instead of Publish Your Book Traditionally
While you may have dreamed about a deal with Macmillan or Penguin, going the traditional publishing route can significantly eat into your creativity and profits.
Publishers have complicated payment schedules that can deeply eat into your royalties. Furthermore, since you can achieve the same level of success self-publishing your book in digital or print formats, there’s no need to have a publisher.
Besides, you’ll also need to find a publisher that believes in your work and your ability to gain any kind of considerable traction.
Writing your book is simple, right? Not entirely. As a writer, you will experience creative blocks, lose motivation to complete your book, or have extreme bouts of self-doubt and second-guessing. All of which can severely impair your ability to write. To avoid entering this never-ending spiral that’s nearly impossible to get out of, follow this four-step plan.
Step 1: Schedule
It helps to have due dates for when you should complete chapters. Because without a schedule, you’re going to find yourself writing, writing, and rewriting with no end in sight. A schedule keeps you accountable, essentially forcing you to write methodically to accomplish a launch date.
Step 2: Write
Now it’s time to write. To make it easier for you, you can spend some time creating an outline, then jotting down notes, and finally, consider not writing at all. If you can’t seem to type your ideas fast enough, consider talking. You can use voice typing in Google Docs to narrate your story and then go over it to add substance and edit obvious mistakes.
Step 3: Edit
Editing is what separates mediocre self-published authors from exceptional ones. When your book is riddled with spelling errors, typos, and grammatical errors, it makes it difficult to read. But, there are other issues an editor can pick up, like redundant sentences or hard-to-read text.
You can edit your book or you can hire an editor to edit your book, either way, if you want to be taken seriously as an author – especially a self-published one – you should have as near perfect editing as possible.
Step 4: Review
The final step before publishing is to get feedback on your book. This ensures that before you publish your book, it’s clear, concise, and remains enthralling – or informative if you’re writing a non-fiction book – from beginning to end.
Whomever you solicit feedback from should be able to add notes about the book or specific text in the book, which you’ll edit to ensure your book is an enjoyable read.
When you’re going the self-publishing route, you’ll be confronted with a host of options on how to self publish. The best way to self-publish will, therefore, depend on what you want to accomplish with your book.
Most authors use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to publish their books. But by using KDP, you are limiting your book’s exposure. Because by only using KDP, your book only appears on Amazon – and more specifically – Kindle. Therefore, you may be losing out on readers buying ebooks on Apple Books, Google Books, or other marketplaces.
To publish your book on other marketplaces besides Amazon’s Kindle, you can either upload your work directly to these marketplaces or use an aggregate to publish to several marketplaces at once.
Design A Cover
All versions – digital, print, audio – need breathtaking covers. Because it’s the cover of your book that will first pique a reader’s interest. If you’re not great at design, your book cover is something you should be willing to spend money on. Because it’s going to be most influential in converting viewers into readers, considering it will ensure your book is not drowned out by the masses.
Format Your Book
For your book to be accepted by most marketplaces it needs to be in the correct format. Not only does formatting guarantee your book is accepted, but it also ensures it’s legible. Unfortunately, marketplaces don’t share the same formatting requirements, so you’ll have to format your book for each marketplace or use an aggregate who’ll format your book for you.
Get An ISBN
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) allows your book to be effectively marketed and tracked. It’s also going to help with wholesaling.
While most ebooks don’t need an ISBN as you can get a free identifier when using Google and KDP, you will need an ISBN for a print edition because, without an ISBN, your book essentially doesn’t exist.
Consider Print Format
People enjoy holding a print book. This is most evident because e-book sales make up less than 10% of the market. Therefore, if you want your book to reach its full potential, you should consider a print version in addition to e-book and audiobook versions. Using a print-on-demand service like KDP or Ingram Sparks, you’ll be able to get print copies with little or no upfront cost.
The final step when self-publishing a book is to advertise. Although it is an upfront expense, it’s worth the money because it will increase book sales, especially if you’re an unknown author. Besides, if you’ve written a book worthy of readers’ attention, then spending some money advertising your book shouldn’t be a problem.
Publish Press Releases
The last thing you should do after publishing a book is to leave it on these marketplaces or aggregators and expect instant sales. When you’re selling a book, even if you’re offering it for free, you need to raise awareness about the book, to drum up initial support. A press release in a few publications, coinciding with another promo like offering your book for free, will introduce your book to new audiences who are more likely to act.
Advertise on Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, even Reddit, can help you find avid readers. When compared to traditional advertising options, they’re also cheaper and easier to quantify and track.
But before you choose a specific platform, complete due diligence so you know you’re targeting the right audience, and you’re doing it in the best way possible.
Advertise on Amazon or KDP
KDP allows authors to advertise their book on the platform, either as recommendations or as lock screen ads on Kindle and Fire devices. Because there are millions of books per genre, this is another powerful method of finding readers in a saturated market.
Send Copies For Review
This is where it helps to have a print version of your book. Because if a reviewer likes your book, it can do wonders for sales. You can then use these reviews as snippets on your book cover or in other marketing. Additionally, these reviews act as social proof for your book while being a way to get free exposure for your book.
Try Influencer Marketing
Authors haven’t explored the significance of influencer marketing on book sales. But, considering influencer marketing has significant reach in other industries, it’s not surprising that it will have a significant influence on your book, if only to increase exposure for your book.