When it comes to self-publishing, there is a lot of misinformation floating around.
Some claim that it is the manna for new authors, and that anyone can become a big name by cutting out the middleman.
But only with smart marketing and good quality can this be possible.
Let us look at 21 top self-publishing tips and tricks to help you become a better self-publisher.
1. Enter writing contests
Once you decide to become a writer, try your hand at entering different writing contests. These will help you gain confidence and in some cases, fame, especially if you win. In addition, you might get valuable feedback from the judges who would most certainly be well-established authors. Whether you win or not, if your entry is of good quality, word will get around.
2. Don’t quit your regular job
Unless you are wealthy, don’t quit your regular job. You cannot write well if you are worried about the bills. Learn to find the time to write around your job and other obligations. Writing is a difficult industry in which to make a mark, so it is wise to keep your options open until you achieve some success.
3. Inform yourself
Be aware of the trends in the publishing industry. Find out what readers are interested in at any given period, so you know how to target your potential market. Make use of any trending topics related to the subject of your book for marketing. With a little effort, you can even develop your own niche.
4. Take your time
Whether you are a first-time writer or have published a few books, you should know that one cannot expect great quality by rushing on the job. Give yourself enough time and don’t rush to compete with other authors who are putting out 3-4 books a year. You know how much time you require. Stick to that and don’t fall under pressure.
5. Beta reading
This is a great opportunity to get your novel checked out for free. Beta readers can be found through online communities on Goodreads or writing sites. They will give you an initial feedback and let you know about the weaknesses in your novel. Then you can rework and get rid of the problems. It is a good idea to have more than one beta reader.
Pay for a professional editor. This is not an option, but a necessity if you want readers to take you seriously as an author. Small mistakes in style and orthography can seriously harm your reputation as a decent author worth reading. People are paying for your product – give them their money’s worth, and this includes minimizing stupid mistakes.
7. Cover design
If you are not a graphic designer or an artist with an eye for good design, color coordination and aesthetics, outsource this task out to someone who is. The cover is the first thing a prospective reader would see, and you want it to be attractive. Work with a professional to get across the theme of your novel.
8. Get business savvy
Being a writer is like having your own business. This means learning how to run this business properly and profitably. Much of the work of a self-publishing author is making business decisions before and after publishing. Decisions such as fixing the rates of the books, developing a marketing strategy, etc. are business decisions that writers have to make on a regular basis.
9. Market early
As an author, the right time to start publicizing your book is when you start writing it. It takes a long time for word to get across and building up anticipation does not hurt at all. The earlier you start, the better the chances of there actually being a decent readership ready to purchase your book when it’s out.
10. Social media
Social media can be used to great effect by authors to promote their work. But don’t make the mistake of signing into all of them. The idea is to create a relationship with readers, not just to spam them with your book news. Social media can be time consuming, so just use one or two sites, and develop contacts through them instead of being everywhere and unable to devote time anywhere. Choose the one which works for you.
11. Interact with fans
Whether through social media, through your website, through newsletters, through real time meetings, you must interact with your readers. Loyal fans are the best way to sell your next book so make sure that you develop relationships with them. Readers will treasure your words and any chance of a meeting with you or getting their questions answered.
12. Involve fans in writing
You can discuss some aspects of your work with your fans and invite suggestions if you are not too sure where you are heading. Giving credit to the person whose suggestion is taken in your book is a powerful motive for readers to flock to you, online or offline. It gets a lot of people interested, and you can enjoy some free marketing.
13. Give away freebies
Everyone loves freebies. This is why free samples are extremely popular as an advertising strategy globally. Whether you organize a giveaway for a few lucky people or provide the first chapter of your book for free online, it works as a marketing tool in itself. Sites like Amazon and Goodreads enable authors to organize giveaways as often as they like.
14. Book launch
If you are releasing copies in print, then it is a good idea to hold a book launch and allow prospective readers to meet you. People are always willing to support a new author and check out new books in the hope that they discover something that would become a favorite. Tie ups with local bookshops for a book launch can also help both you and the shop to gear up on sales.
Price your books competitively. This doesn’t mean that you should price them at a ridiculously low amount. You will never be able to earn much this way, nor will prospective readers believe your books to be any good. Pricing your books just slightly below the normal market rate for the genre is a good strategy.
16. Meeting people real time
As an author, your presence in the real world is as invaluable as the one you build carefully on the internet. Don’t hesitate to participate in author events, meet people and give talks. It’s a great way to meet people and talk about books, which automatically results in marketing. This is a really important aspect of self-publishing, especially for print books.
17. Publishing tools
Learn how to use publishing, writing and organizing tools. Software tools such as Scrivener can be used for organizing your draft better, while others such as PressBooks can be utilized to export your book into various digital formats. You can save time and bring some sophistication to the presentation. There are a large number of such tools out there from which to choose, according to your specific needs.
18. E-books, not print
Many books today are exclusively published as e-books. If you don’t have too much money to spend on self-publishing, then e-books are better for you to start off. They have less overhead cost and you can just put them up on Amazon or Kobo for sales. If it becomes popular and you think the returns might be worth the investment, then you can always release it in print.
19. Be nice to other authors
There are far too many instances of authors sniping at each other due to professional rivalry. Don’t indulge in it as most readers aren’t deceived for a moment. Be respectful to your colleagues and stay away from drama. Build up your goodwill over time as these authors, especially experienced ones, can help you in many ways.
20. Don’t spam
If there is one thing calculated to enrage someone on the internet, it is being spammed. If you are using your social media, emails, etc. solely to link to the page where your book can be purchased, people are going to get bored. If you do it incessantly, they will get annoyed and unsubscribe. Avoid spamming at any cost. Instead, share interesting things you come across in your research with your fans or share some things from your personal life.
21. Learn to take criticism
Books are not babies. Anyone and everyone is entitled to criticize your book, leave reviews that are not flattering and pull it apart in many different ways, especially if they feel they have not received value for their money. Learn from the experience and provide better quality next time. Don’t start fights with people leaving negative reviews. If you are too sensitive, avoid reading them altogether.
What did you think of our list of 21 self-publishing tips and tricks? Have you got any self-publishing advice to share? Please tell us more in the comments box below!
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IMG_20141217_101736441.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kavitha is a freelance content writer and French translator, and has been working in this field since 2008. She has degrees in computer applications and international business and has a background in business and international trade. She enjoys learning languages and is currently learning Japanese. Her interests vary from books and writing to travelling and history.[/author_info] [/author]