Millions of people dream of writing a book one day. Only a few ever do, and of those few, only a fraction actually get it published. It used to be that the publishing houses held the key to author success. If you couldn’t get past those gatekeepers and show how your book could appeal to a broad enough audience or fit into their publishing strategy, your book would end up gathering dust in a drawer.
But those days are gone now. Self-publishing is nothing new. Mark Twain had to self publish some of his initial work, and Sylvia Plath also had to go through what was known then as a vanity press. Even back about 10 years ago, most writers only went to the self-publishing houses if they couldn’t get a traditional publishing house to say “yes!” But those days are long gone to. Countless reasons exist for talented writers to turn to the self-publishing platforms. In addition to keeping the majority of your royalties, sometimes as much as 95 percent, you also maintain full control of your rights and the manner in which your e-book war book is published. For authors who want to be in control and maintain a greater share of their book’s value, self-publishing is the way to go.
Self-publishing offers countless rewards to those who are willing to try it, but it takes a lot of work. Even in the self-publishing markets, you will face tremendous competition from other authors. It’s important to bear in mind by simple tactics to help you get ahead of most of the other writers out there. An estimated 88 percent of self-publishing writers simply send their book human e-book converter, pitch it off to the self-publishing house, and then hope for the best. To be a successful author, you must think about more than just the words you put on the page. You have to make several key decisions, develop a platform, and show readers why your book is worth their time and money.
A number of self-publishing platforms exist to help you get your e-book or traditional print book up and running. Some of these offer simple print on demand services while others offer all-inclusive packages. The platform that you choose depends both on what you want to accomplish and the form you want to offer the book in. For instance, Amazon has three separate programs for self-publishing. They include Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Create Space, and ACX. Kindle Direct Publishing handles only Kindle eBooks, while Create Space works with a variety of mediums. ACX support audiobooks, but it goes beyond just publishing the audiobooks. Through ACX, you can get producers as well as actors to help you put it together. Another great option for self-publishing is Lulu. Lulu has made quite a name for itself over the years, and, though it self-publishing packages do not allow you to automatically be listed in Amazon, it does have its own marketplace and direct listing options at Barnes & Noble.
These platforms have a lot to offer. While they tend to give the most freedom in terms of your final product, including the ability to simply publish without paying anything upfront, they all have certain benefits and downsides. You need to evaluate the kind of book that you have written and the markets that you want to target. For instance, if you want to offer an audiobook option, then ACX works perfectly. If, on the other hand, you have a following on Lulu, you may be willing to pay that extra fee to have your book listed in Amazon so that you can maximize the Lulu Marketplace. You may find that you would prefer to work with a smaller self-publishing office. In that case, you must do your research to make sure that you get the services you want. But bear in mind that most of the smaller self-publishing services and even some of the larger vanity presses do not allow you to publish for free and only take a portion of the royalties. When considering using a lesser-known self-publishing service or even some of the larger ones, make sure that you check places like Ripoff Report, Predators and Editors, Writer’s Digest, the Better Business Bureau, and others to make sure you aren’t dealing with a well developed scam service. Most self-publishing scam services look wonderful on the outside, and they probably will give you a finished product. But the services are overpriced, and sometimes they may cheat you out of more than just your royalties. A few have even been accused of and have lawsuits recently relating to author royalty theft and other similar practices.
Promotions for your eBook should start long before you before your book is even finished. Self-promotion cannot be underestimated. In this regard, self-publishing and traditional publishing are quite similar. You are your book’s best advocate, and nobody cares more about it than you do. It is your blood sweat and tears after all. You need to make sure that you start promoting your book as soon as you know that it’s going to be released. Some of the things that you can do to increase your standing and to build up the hype for your book include:
These represent only a few of the things you can do to start promoting your book. The precise promotional methods that work the best for your book depend on what you’ve written about in the platform you already have. The good news is you can make this work no matter what your experience is in the writing world.
Contrary to popular opinion, most people do judge books by their covers. According to the Huffington Post, the vast majority of recent best sellers had stunning covers and moving artwork. You don’t want publish a book with a plain cover because you want to grab people’s attention, and the best way to do that is with good visuals. Data has repeatedly shown books with great cover designs get more clicks on Amazon’s listing pages
Eight out of 10 readers will pass on your book if your graphics aren’t good enough. When you go through and use the eBook self publishing tools, take the time to craft an effective book cover. If you don’t have the experience to do one effectively, you’ll want to hire a photographer or artist and upload it into the publishing software along with your written materials.
The book cover serves as the first impression for most of your readers. Tacky ones that have too much or too little drive the readers away. After all, why would they want to read something that looks like garbage. Think back on the books that capture your image. Even the best selling books that don’t have images on their covers like the Harvard Classics have rich thick covers in solid tones with the title in an elegant calligraphic font. That cover tells the world what they’re going to find in between the pages, and sometimes, it’s the only chance you’ll get to convince them that your book is worth it. Your book’s cover says everything about your book. Even when you sign up with the top self-publishing platform, you still want to choose a separate e-book cover designer. You can hire a professional for a fair amount of money and get the cover that works best for you, your book, and your genre. The added benefit of working with a separate professional is that you have more control over what happens and the number of edits you can request.
The biggest part of writing is rewriting. Professional and traditionally published novels are edited numerous times. In some cases, it may be as many as 25 separate edits. Obviously, edits are most efficient when conducted by separate individuals so that you get multiple perspectives on what needs to be improved. If you can, Writer’s Digest strongly recommends hiring a professional editor. You can find them at universities, on freelance work sites, and around the web. But if you find a good one, he is more than worth the amount you pay.
The editing process is essential to making the book as strong as possible and removing both obvious and subtle flaws and errors. According to Writer’s Weekly, more than 85 percent of all self published writers skimp on the editing. The readers can tell, and the final product ends up looking hackneyed and cheap, no matter how hard the writer worked in those initial drafts. According to Writer’s Digest, editing a traditionally published book can take anywhere from nine to twenty-four months. It doesn’t have to take that long when you decide to self publish, but it can take weeks and months if you do it well. Don’t despair. You’re putting together a quality product. Even books published by the Big Six publishing houses sometimes have errors, and those books have been through countless editing sessions. Don’t think yours won’t need the extra boost as well.
Make sure that you remember to have an editor proof the book after you put it through the eBook conversion process. The various platforms and clients can unintentionally alter your formatting and cause the text to be unreadable in parts. Proofing it yourself may not work as oftentimes authors tend to see their work in the best possible light. You need someone who is fresh to the project and able to look at it with scrutinizing gaze.
Sure, we know that it costs extra money to buy your own ISBN codes, but that’s an investment that you must make. Never let your book go to the public without that13-digit code used to identify and track books. Most self publishing experts, including the Book Shepherds, will warn you not to purchase an ISBN code from a self publishing or POD publishing house. If you change printing presses, you often have to get another one.
The only way to maintain full control of that code is to make sure that you purchase it yourself. If you want your eBook to be taken seriously and distributed in online bookstores, you must get the ISBN code. The ISBN codes for books published in the United States can only be purchased through Bowkers. You can purchase the codes independently, but you start to get discounts when you purchase them in bulk. Bulk orders with discounts start at 10 ISBN codes.