More and more people decide to go for self-publishing. Publishing a book on your own is faster and often brings more profits than when doing it through a publishing house. However, there are a few things you need to consider when deciding to go it alone.
For some of you the tips below could be just stating the obvious and not worth reading. Novices in the world of self-publishing, on the other hand, might want to consider some aspects discussed in this text.
Where do I promote my book?
Well before you start writing, the first question should be ‘who will buy my book?’. How will potential readers find out about it? In self-publishing it is the author’s shoulders where all the marketing and promotion of the book is resting.
Social media seem to be the best channel for this. Developing a community around an issue or topic, e.g. gardening, is a guarantee of finding people willing to buy your garden plant grower’s guide. Even more so, if you have won the hearts of your followers. And they don’t have to be keen gardeners to support someone who keeps providing them with valuable (or purely entertaining) content on Instagram or a Facebook fanpage.
However, building a social media community takes time, so you have to start well in advance, long before you get down to writing the book.
It’s a good idea to have another card up your sleeve: something that lets you keep in touch with prospective readers without social media websites. You might think that weblogs are a thing of the past, but they aren’t really. Using a blog, you can fit much more content than in a post with a restricted number of characters. It’s also much easier to organise topics in categories. And you don’t rely on whimsical algorithms.
Also, you can keep a newsletter to build a database and make sure you reach the people who are actually interested in whatever you want to say.
Is self-publishing like being a little miss Independent?
Self-publishing does not mean that you have to do everything yourself. You can delegate certain tasks to people who are more competent in the areas you aren’t.
First and foremost, your book must be properly edited and proofread. An editor will make sure it is comprehensible for readers, not only for the author. A proof-reader will prevent linguistic errors, misspellings and awkward typos. Someone to take care of the typesetting is also necessary. Professional typesetting will make your book read well and there are kinds of publications where the text make-up and layout are essential, e.g. poetry books. You will need someone to make the cover design and photos or graphics, if required.
With a little help from expert contributors your book will look professional and attractive to the reader. After all, there will be your name on it. Who would like to give their name to a botched job?
Where to sell it?
Let’s assume you’ve already got customers for your book and the print files are almost ready. Think about the way the customers will pay for the book. The simplest solution is to sell it on your website. You could do it yourself, or – if you don’t feel capable enough – have professionals do it for you. Especially, as it’s a good idea to let the customers pay online.
But you don’t need to confine your marketing and sales to the Internet only. There are conventions, conferences, trade fairs and so on. However, these are perhaps better if you want to meet face-to-face with people you’ve met online or on the phone, rather than find new readers.
While we’re talking about selling your book, why not consider offering a presale? This can help you estimate the number of copies to print. And you could prepare something special for the customers who order your book before it is published: a personalised inscription or a nice gadget.
What about storage?
Another thing you should consider before publishing your own book is where to keep all the copies received from the printing house? This might seem a trifle, but sometimes people have no idea how much space a print run can take. ‘I’ll squeezing it in somewhere’ is not the best plan, especially if you live in a studio flat on the top floor without a lift. A cellar or garage is a bad idea, too. Books are quite fragile and they don’t like moisture. You might have to repurpose a room to store just your books.
And remember: you will have to send them to the buyers. Secure, pack and ship. This also takes some room. In theory, spending a few hours squatting and packing books on the only uncluttered square metre of the floor is doable, but your back will be grateful for a larger area with a table.
Thanks to self-publishing, putting a book on the market without assistance from a professional publishing company is at your fingertips. But remember that bypassing the publisher means you need to take up this role yourself. The success of your book will depend on you. If you think it out well and promote the book properly, the game is definitely worth the candle.