Anyone who has any talent for writing has probably thought about publishing a book. And as with everything else, the internet has democratized the process of publishing and made it easier than ever to get started. But before diving in headfirst, it’s helpful to be educated on the basics.
Helpful Pointers for Self-Publishing Success
While it’s become easier to self-publish, it’s still a pretty challenging process for someone who hasn’t done it before. With this in mind, here are a few helpful pointers worth considering.
- Have Your Book Professionally Edited
No book is perfect, but with an editor on your team, you can get much closer to the mark. Even the world’s best writers need professional editing to catch mistakes and polish their work.
It’s important to note that not all editors do the same thing. Copyeditors, for example, correct spelling and grammar mistakes. Developmental editors, on the other hand, check the book for things like consistency and flow. You may need one or both – so develop a plan of attack and think ahead.
- Take the Title Seriously
Most people write a book and then quickly come up with a title that they can slap on a cover and call it a day. But in reality, your title is arguably the most significant book-related decision you’ll make.
“The title is the first thing the reader sees or hears about your book—even before the cover in most cases—and getting it right is the single most important book marketing decision you’ll make. The title forms the basis of the reader’s judgment about your book,” bestselling author Tucker Max writes. “Let’s be clear: A good title won’t make your book do well. But a bad title will almost certainly prevent it from doing well.”
You don’t necessarily need to come up with a title before you write the book; however, it’s something that you need to think about throughout the entire process. Give it time and don’t rush. The best headlines take time to formulate.
- Be Strategic With Cover Design
In tandem with your title, your cover significantly impacts your readers’ first impressions of the book. With that in mind, be strategic with every element of the design.
The best covers are simple, yet compelling. If you’re not a designer by trade, you’ll want to hire someone who is. And ideally, you should hire someone who has extensive experience designing book covers. This will ensure you get a high-quality design that sells.
- Find the Right Printing Partner
First-time publishing is always an experiment. While you’d like to think your book is good enough to sell tens of thousands of companies and end up on The New York Times Best Seller List, this is far from a guarantee. Before you go ordering massive quantities of your book, try starting small.
By working with an online printing partner that offers small quantity printing options, you can get started quickly (and for minimal cost) and then scale to meet growing demand over time.
- Get Serious About Promotion
Bestselling authors can publish anything, and they’re guaranteed to sell thousands of copies right off the bat. But as a first-time self-published author, you don’t have the luxury of letting your reputation precede you. If you want to sell copies to more than just family, friends, and polite neighbors, you need to take promotion seriously.
Promotion is arguably just as important as writing the book. You’ll need a well-planned rollout and media blitz to gain traction. This will likely come from a combination of blogging, interviews, podcasts, press releases, social media, and advertising. (Once again, hiring a professional PR firm or marketing strategy to help with book promotion is a wise decision.)
Make it Happen
It’s easy to say you’re going to write a book. It’s also pretty easy to start planning, researching, and writing outlines. What’s not easy is actually getting started.
It’s time to stop saying you’re going to write a book.
It’s time to stop planning.
It’s time to start writing.
Putting pen to paper – or fingers to a keyboard – is the most challenging aspect of the process. By forcing yourself to do it, you’ll gain confidence, build momentum, and gradually move closer towards your goal of becoming a published author.