This blog post was written and published by our Summer 2017 Intern, Mallory Corbin.
Publishing has changed a lot in the last ten years. With the rise of the e-book empire, thanks to companies like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, and other e-readers of the like, a whole new world has been opened up to authors who want to publish their books. Along with this ebook-boom, the once pitied idea of self-publishing has been brought into a more respectable esteem. There are a number of things you can do to make the self-publishing process quicker, easier, and more successful.
- Your novel is your child. It sounds strange, but your novel is as alive as you are. It is important, while in the writing and editing process, to recognize and accept that your novel will be constantly changing. Each draft will be a little different, or totally different, as a result of your fine-tuning and nurturing. With proper care, your self-published novel, much like a child, will surely make you proud.
- Employ an editor. While it is called self-publishing, that does not mean you need to work totally alone. You may not think your book needs any editing at all, you may have gone over it hundreds of times with a magnifying glass and picked out every grammatical error. But editing can go deeper than just surface level concerns such as spelling and punctuation, editing can delve deeper into issues that may have to do with plot and continuity. The right editor will be your best asset during the writing and self-publishing process.
- Know your POD options. There are a lot of publishing-on-demand (POD) options available to you. Names such as CreateSpace, Lulu, and WordClay come to mind. A lot of these services are either free or of little cost. Additionally, you will not have to commit to a copy minimum, such as 1000 copies. A little research will be necessary to find which of these POD options will be right for you and your novel, if any.
- Get your design covered. While we all know the saying “don’t judge a book by a cover” we can all be honest and admit that that is the very first thing we do when we pick up a book. One benefit to self-publishing is that you have complete control over what your book will look like. Whether you are well-versed in photoshop, or have a designer lined up to assist you in creating the perfect cover, it is extremely important that you give your book the cover that it deserves. Remember that your cover should display what the tone of the book is. Think of your target audience, what kind of cover would most appeal to them?
- Market yourself and your novel. To start, you will want to make sure that you and your book are easy to find. Market yourself using any platform available to you. You may want to start a blog or website, and you will definitely want to use social media to your advantage. Making a special Facebook page specifically for your book can be a great start to getting people interested in reading your work. You can also hire a professional to help you market your book, once you’ve gone through the independent marketing motions. This is completely up to you and your budget, but will do nothing but help.
- Request a review, or a few. Just as with any business, you will want to show off your credibility. You can do this by sending out either a few chapters or a full copy of your book to a number of reviewers. If the reviewers like your book – which we are assuming they will, because you wrote a great book – then you will be rewarded with praiseful reviews that you will be able to use to further market your book.
- Protect yourself and your ideas. Copyrighting your work is extraordinarily important. There is no worse nightmare for any author than seeing their work credited to someone else. You will be able to protect yourself from this nightmare by going through the proper motions to copyright your work. Visit copyright.gov for more information on copyrighting.
- To e-publish or not to e-publish, that is the question. Regardless of if you choose to physically print your book, you should definitely consider taking advantage of the ebook-boom. Generally, it can cost little to nothing to self-publish your ebook on an online platform. You may want to do some research on whether it is common for books in your genre to be published in ebook format, or if they traditionally only go to physical print. In the end it will be totally up to you, after all you are self-publishing, you call the shots. However, it is good to keep in mind that publishing in ebook format will only work to expand your novels reach.
- Going to print. If you choose to make your book available in physical copy, because there is really nothing like that new book smell, then you will need to align yourself with a proper book manufacturer to take care of the printing. Your primary decision will be between POD (print/publish-on-demand) and Offset Printing. There are a number of pros and cons to both options, and the ultimate decision depends totally on the author’s needs. You will need to take your budget into account when selecting your printing processes and decide which will be right for you.
- Crunch your numbers. Keep track of how many books you sell, and how much profit you are making from said books. Not only will it be extremely rewarding to see that you not only self-published, but also actually sold a copy or two, but it will also be useful information to take into account if you choose to self-publish in the future. By keeping your numbers in order, it will be much easier to plan a budget for future projects.
Self-publishing doesn’t have to be hard, and it definitely doesn’t have to be done alone. With the help of the internet, there are endless resources available to you that can benefit you in your self-publishing endeavors.
For more information about self-publishing for your manuscript, please contact us!
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