A friend asked for tips on self-publishing and as I began replying to her message the following encouragements came to me. So while I am yet a newbie on this publishing journey, I thought I’d share some of the tips and readings that got me started and keep me going.
First I read the following books:
- “Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should” by David Gaughran. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Get-Digital-Self-Publish-ebook/dp/B005DC68NI. This book was really my start for publishing and it spring boarded me on to actually having a paperback available on Amazon.com. You have to start here.
- “The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book (Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Everything)” by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier. Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guide-Self-Publishing-ebook/dp/B003YL4AIK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356114737&sr=1-1&keywords=the+complete+guide+to+self-publishing
- “1001 Ways to Market Your Books (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers)” by John Kremer. Link: http://www.amazon.com/1001-Ways-Market-Your-Books/dp/091241149X/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1356114842&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=1001+ways+to+market+your+books
- “The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life” by John Alsarraf and Murray Smith. (This isn’t a publishing specific read; however, it is business specific and it teaches success on a supernatural level that interestingly enough is attainable by mere mortals.) Link: http://www.amazon.com/Answer-Business-Achieve-Financial-Extraordinary/dp/1416562001/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356115653&sr=1-1&keywords=the+answer+by+john+assaraf
These books were the foundation for my start in self-publishing. I advise you to read these books and then read them again. You will be able to form a solid plan tailored to your needs from the information in these books alone. But these books reference many other written works so please don’t limit your research to these books alone.
More tips off the top of my head:
If you want to self-publish, be leery of vanity press publishers, publishers that charge anywhere from $600-$6,000 dollars for services. They will be the publisher of record and not you. They may set your book’s price higher than you want it to be and that may result in zero sales. Ask yourself, would you buy a $15 ebook from an unknown author? At the end of the day it is your book and it is up to you to research printers, vendors, bookstores, and distributers to make sure that each potential business relationship is the best fit for you.
Start networking with other Authors on Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, Book Blogs, Goodreads, and Library Thing. I’ve learned that shameless and constant promotion on these social networking sites don’t work very well for book sales and actually annoy people. Instead, I try to use these sites to enrich the lives of others. Share useful news and tips. Share a joke or beautiful picture. Ask interesting questions and give feedback to questions from your friends. In general be likable. Be friendly. A friendship may turn into a sale.
Read daily as well as write. I have a goal to read one book per week and here lately I have exceeded that goal. Reading good literature, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, feeds the mind and opens up synapses so that your brain is faster and more efficient. This isn’t some mojo, old-wives tale sort of thing. This has been proven scientifically. I have heard of authors saying that they don’t have time to read. I really feel sorry for them. Yes writing should take up the majority of your time. But you have to set aside time for reading. Don’t starve your mind for any reason.
Prioritize your day. Set aside time for writing, reading, marketing, requesting reviews etc. Come up with a daily plan and stick to it. Be diligent. You’d be surprised by what you can accomplish even if you devote 10 minutes a day to a task. When I hear people say that they don’t have the time to do something, I reply in my mind, “No. You haven’t found the time to do it.” Twenty-four hours is the great equalizer of mankind. No one, no matter how rich they are, has more than twenty-four hours in a day. You have to find those moments that often hide from you. I found those moments in my daily commute. I used to drive an hour to and from work each day. Now I take the shuttle and can write and read while I commute. Slow traffic used to annoy me. Now, it really doesn’t matter. I’m working whether the shuttle is traveling at the posted speed or moving along at a snail’s pace.
Forge a relationship with a good editor, someone who isn’t afraid to tell you that your writing needs improvement. You will forever be attached to your book and you don’t want to release a substandard product. Unfortunately, many books are self-published and released seemingly without much copy-editing and proofreading. You need a good copy-editor to catch mistakes that you, because you are so close to the work, would never see no matter how many times you read it. You also need a good proofreader to catch plot inconsistencies. You don’t want to kill a character in chapter 2 and have him mysteriously reappear in chapter 20. That really happens in some writing. Writing software is available and it will actually read your story and tell you where plot inconsistencies are located. I’m basically saying that there are too many resources available to aspiring authors to prevent them from releasing sub-par product. But authors have to invest in those resources.
I guess my final tip for now is to really enjoy what you’re doing: writing, editing, reading, socializing, marketing, etc. Have fun with it. It is really a joy to bring an idea to life on paper or e-reader screens. It is such a joy to read reviews to see that readers pulled something out of your words that you hadn’t really even thought of. It is so rewarding to know that you have made a difference in someone else’s life through the power of the printed word. So enjoy the journey. It really is an enjoyable journey.