Who should I talk to? Where should I go? How should I do it? How much will it be? These and many other questions are what first time authors ask themselves having finished their manuscript. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the information, options and opinions that fly at you.
So here’s some tips you should definitely keep in mind during this exciting time of possibility and opportunity, while avoiding the trappings of bad advice and those so-called self publishers.
1. Get curious and educate yourself
This is number one because it’s absolutely critical to getting the most from the following steps. The problem I see from those writers about to jump into the self publishing pool, is they don’t take time to read and educate themselves properly. Unfortunately, I hear from first time authors who have just taken the first option they come across, which is usually a vanity publisher.
The last thing you need is to be paying huge postage costs, print costs, lack-luster distribution and being charged 3 times the price of Real self publishing. Read up first on what options are out there and please don’t take all the information you come across as gospel. Be sure you double check all the advice you get before spending any valuable time and cash heading down a possible dead end.
2. Decide whether you are a hobbyist author or commercial enterprise author
If you haven’t already grabbed my free eBook ‘The Big 3‘, grab it over on the right. It covers why you need to decide which author you want to be. A hobbyist author will be happy to print copies for just family and friends. A commercial enterprise author is looking to embrace basic business and marketing principles to produce, market and sell copies to a wider audience and build an author brand. They both have a very different mindset when looking to self publish.
What’s your goal when you self publish? What do you want to ultimately achieve? Answer these two questions and you’ll know which author you are.
3. Define your budget
First time authors don’t need to sell an organ to self publish for profit. Some so-called “self publishing companies”, otherwise known as vanity publishers will charge upwards of five thousand dollars to publish a book. I’ve seen the questionable results that come from these establishments as well, quite sub par, that don’t stand up against any trade book.
It takes less than half that to self publish the right way for both print and eBooks. With affordable printing that leaves room to profit, get distribution and work with professionals such as editors, cover designers and formatters to produce a book that rivals any trade published book. The end result is something people will actually pay money for.
4. Get the right people to help you produce your book
I believe it’s important to work with some one you can trust. When looking for book production professionals have a look at their history. Are they running from a makeshift free blog with no social proof or anything resembling an authentic practice? Or is it clearly a business that presents it’s values and professionalism up front?
At the end of the day, you want to work with those that care about your book as much as you do. This is the mantra I uphold here at Book Cover Cafe. People that take the time to listen, offer genuine advice and don’t ask for a dollar every time they open their mouth to help you. There are great professionals out there, you will find them. The best way to vet the right people to help you publish is to email them directly.
This will tell you quite a bit about how they handle people and what their attitude is like. The other way is to seek referrals from those who have gone down the path of Real self publishing and can recommend honest professionals.
5. Plan your launch and consider marketing strategies you’ll use to recoupe your investment and sell books
Another big problem I see with first time authors, is that they don’t even consider any marketing or promotions until the book is coming back from the printer. Writers are creatives first and foremost. For the most part writers aren’t born marketers and it’s understandable that this is an after thought after finishing the book project itself.
Unfortunately you can’t write a book, send it out to the netherworld, stick your head in the sand and open your wallet for the returns. The world doesn’t work that way. So you need to do one of two things; either pull out your wallet and pay a publicist a substantial sum, or you learn basic marketing principles and set down some goals and strategies that will get your book in front of the masses.
Here’s a great post on what an author platform can entail and what you might include in your book marketing plan.
Remember, anything in life worth doing takes some effort. The rewards of self publishing bring a fulfilment that you’ve longed for ever since you’ve put finger to keyboard. If you follow what I’ve laid out here you’ll be heading in the right direction to self publishing for profit and having a blast along the way!
Well, what are you waiting for, get going!
Yours in publishing