Self-publishing has changed the landscape of how books are created, distributed and read. Paperback version of books, while still popular today, are slowly but surely being outpaced by e-books. And it’s about time writers take notice of this emerging trend and start to self-publish their own books.
Sure, you can always go the traditional route for publishing your next great novel. But there are considerable benefits to self-publication. Firstly, you, as the author, stand to make more money publishing your own book, secondly, you’ll have greater control over your book’s content and design and, thirdly, your book will never have to land in the slush pile of big publishing houses. No more waiting around for a large publishing house to choose your book out of the millions that are vying for their attention.
Ok, so you’ve decided to venture into the brave new world of self-publishing. But now you’re wondering how to write and publish your own book. Luckily, we’ve got some words of wisdom on this matter:
Putting Words on Paper
Obviously, the first step in how to self-publish a book is to have a book ready. It could be fiction, non-fiction, a biography or a graphic novel. Most writers spend several months putting pen to paper. Some bloggers publish a few chapters of their upcoming e-book on their blog to gather feedback on it. This is a good way to get some feedback on your work and make improvements.
It’s also a good idea to have significant social media following or followers for your blog so that you have an audience ready to market your book to once it’s published.
It’s Editing Time!
I know, I know. Most writers hate editing. But edit you must. Serious self-published authors who’ve doled out advice on how to write and publish your own book have suggested hiring a copy editor and another experienced editor with a proven track record to converting mediocre books into best-sellers.
Yes, hiring two editors costs a lot of money. But trust me, it’ll be worth it in the long run. Nothing puts readers off faster than grammatical errors.
A professional editor won’t just spot mistakes your spell check can’t. They will suggest several rewrites and ways to improve your writing. And it will make a huge difference to your final draft.
Also, hire a skilled graphic designer to create the front and back cover of your e-book. A visually appealing cover can make a huge difference. It makes your book look professional and attracts readers.
Finding the Right Publisher
Arguably, the most popular and easiest self-publishing platform today is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. It’s free to use and authors can pocket as much as 70% of the revenue. Barnes & Noble offers a similar self-publishing platform called Nook Press. Apple also provides iTunes Connect and Google Play also allows you to publish your own book.
While it’s tempting to only go the e-book route, it is important to have the option to publish your book as an e-book and in print form. Every how to self-publish a book guide emphasizes the importance of having both versions available for readers. The best part about self-publishing is you don’t have to pay for the printed copies of your novel in advance. Many platforms offer to print on demand.
Amazon’s CreateSpace is amazing that way. When you publish your manuscript, it asks you if you want an e-book only or e-book and print version. Always click the second option.
Of course, there is a fee taken by CreateSpace for printing your book. But if you want your book to physically be in your hands, it’s worth paying the nominal fee.
Market, Market and Market Some More!
Writing and physically publishing a book is just two-thirds of the actual work of any budding novelist today. Marketing has become increasingly important since readers’ attention spans are dwindling and there are millions of books out there fighting for their attention.
Talk about your book on as many radio stations as you can. Go on TV. Make it an audiobook. Ask literary experts, revered reviewers and readers to write reviews of your book. You need to get your book out there.
You should hire an agent or marketing professional to do this if you can’t market the book yourself (most writers are introverts and terrible at public speaking). Again, the agent is going to take a cut.
Now that you have the basics on how to write and publish your own book, it’s time to make your dreams come true. You can publish your next great novel all by yourself.