I recently self-published my first novel London Calling: the key words in that first sentence are ‘self-published’. The debate rages on about whether authors should put their work out via traditional publishers or do it yourself, but for me it made sense to go DIY because I wanted to get my book out this year. So is it the right move for you too? Here are the top ten things to consider when self-publishing…
10 – Polish your novel till it gleams
Be realistic: is your novel ready for sale? Your loved ones might think it’s awesome, but giving your book to them is like showing them your new baby: “Oh my god, adorable!” They’re just amazed you can string three sentences together. So give it to people you don’t know, listen to that feedback and act on it. Then get a trusted editor/grammar-nerd friend to check your plot, spelling & grammar. Never proof your own work – therein lies the route to madness.
9 – Print books & ebooks
Uploading to Amazon & Smashwords is fairly straightforward and ebook sales are on the up. If you want a print book too, look into print-on-demand companies like Lulu and CreateSpace. It costs nothing but time and attention to detail to get your print books polished and ready for sale. Plus, it’s a great feeling when they drop through the letterbox.
8 – Get ready to embrace marketing
Again, this is all down to you, so do your research. Find out who the key reviewers are and get your book out to them. Get press releases out to key sites & magazines that cater to your core readership. Offer interviews, have a book launch, do some readings, do a leaflet drop. There are marketing opportunities at every turn so be bold.
7 – Sort your taxes
You’ll probably sell a stack of books in the USA which means you need to sort out your tax situation if you live in the UK, otherwise you’ll lose a third of your royalties. The way to do this is to call the IRS and tell them your situation. They’ll then give you an EIN number which you then tell Amazon. Simples! Call the IRS on: 001 267 941 1099.
6 – Start a blog
When people have read your book and liked it, they might want to come and read more of your writing so a blog is a good idea. Write things relevant to your writing. Or write things that are entertaining or informative. A bit like this blog.
5 – Get social media savvy
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. StumbleUpon. Tumblr. Now is the time to make them your BFFs.
4 – Spend time on your cover
People say they don’t judge a book by its cover. People lie. In the world of Amazon, the cover is the first thing you’re judged on. Make sure it doesn’t look like an art project by your nine-year-old nephew.
3 – Get a decent blurb
After the cover, your blurb is the first thing people read when making the decision whether or not to buy your book. If it’s not well written and exciting, they will not click the button. Make sure they do.
2 – Get more earnings
Traditional publishing gives authors 10-15% of the book price. Self-publishing gives you 35-85%. So you will make more money per book if you self-publish – fact. However, you have to have a marketing plan to ensure you sell enough. That’s the catch.
1 – Get ultimate control
In traditional publishing, you’re at the mercy of your team. They pick your cover, your title, do your edits & your marketing. With self-publishing, it’s all up to you. You’re the boss. You can do as little or as much as you like. Are you ready for the commitment? If you are, jump in.