Writing a book is just like a walk in the park if you’ve been writing all your life. But the legwork and financial investment involved having it published? It’s like walking in the park too… but make it into a Jurassic Park.
Publishing your own book used to be an (almost) impossible dream. Back in the day, you should not only be the best in the field for your work to be approved and published by literary fiction publishers — but you should also have a wealth of money and time. The good news is, aspiring authors today have more privilege to turn their well-kept manuscripts in dusty drawers into a real published book that can be accessed nationwide or even worldwide.
We call it “self-publishing”
We know what you’re thinking: isn’t self-publishing the last resort of writers who were rejected? The answer is a resounding “no”. Self-publishing is now a credible and accessible option for writers at all stages of their careers.
Self-publishing vs Traditional Publishing
Traditional publishing works like this: a book publisher offers you, the author, a contract. After your work has been approved, the publisher then prints and sells your book through book stores and other retailers. You may also need a literary agent to represent you, if you want your book published by a traditional publishing house.
If you go the traditional route, you’ll save yourself from all the hassles of marketing, distribution, and warehousing for your book. The publishers have the necessary machines and services you can rely on, like proofreading, graphic design, printing, and promotion. In return, the publisher buys the right to publish your book. They make a profit from the book’s sales and you earn royalties from them.
Self-publishing, on the other hand, requires the author to invest their time and money to produce, market, distribute, and warehouse the book. The majority of the work falls on your shoulders and you’ll pay for all the expenses. You need to find a way to proofread your work, promote them, and have them printed and placed on the shelves or online platforms. Tasks include working with printing companies, hiring freelance designers, and bugging your network to create a buzz on social media.
The biggest advantage of self-publishing is you have complete creative control over things, such as your book’s title and cover design. You retain all the rights to your book and you may receive 100% of the revenue.
If done right, self-publishing can make you earn up to three times more from each sale of your book than you would with a traditional book publisher.
7 Self-publishing Tips to Get You Started
So you’ve written a book… now what? If you think you’ve got what it takes to self-publish your book, here are a few tips and tricks to get started.
1. Get it edited and formatted
No matter how confident you are with your work, it’s still inevitable to spot errors and lapses every time you reread your book. To minimize errors, consider getting a third-party editor to go through your book.
There are different kinds of editorial assistance to choose from. Copyeditors catch spelling mistakes and adjust grammars. Developmental editors, on the other hand, check your book for flow and consistency. Know your needs before hiring the right pro.
2. Research, research, research
Is your book going to be a novel or a collection of short stories and poems? Or is it going to be non-fiction like biography, history, and essays about a particular niche? If you’re going for the latter, then the research you do will greatly help in getting words onto the page. Research your topic adequately and fall in love with it.
3. Watch out for scams
Self-publishing scams are a thing. They can find you in different forms. from organizations that promised to “publish” your book and never do a thing with it to that overly expensive printing service.
Do your research and seek recommendations from fellow authors, trusted industry publications, and self-publishing organizations.
4. Perfect your book cover design
The book cover design is just as important as the content. It’s the first thing your potential buyer sees, and it’s also an essential tool for promotion. If you invest in a good cover design and great print quality, your self-published book won’t look any less inferior from the ones published by a mainstream publisher. It may also look better!
You can get some graphic design work on the inside pages too, like illustrations and minimal design for the borders, headers, and other elements of your book.
5. Get an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
An ISBN labels you as the publisher and provides crucial data about your book to booksellers. Purchasing your own ensures you have full control over it.
6. Find the right distributor
Want to get your book on the shelves of bookshops? Since bookshops are less likely to deal with individual authors, you might need to work with a distributor.
Look for distributors that cater to self-publishing authors. They vary widely in price and services. Some provide print-on-demand (POD), a cost-effective method of distribution wherein you won’t have to pay to have hundreds of copies printed at once — your book is only printed when it’s ordered.
Evaluate the people and companies you work with too, from the printing company you pick to the freelance graphic artist you hire. Shop around to find the best price, service, and quality of work
7. Consider selling the book online
Gone are the days when the only way to discover a book is by going to a physical book store and browsing. Today, we’re blessed with internet connectivity. There are tons of opportunities to get your book promoted online. Various platforms include blogs, news sites, social media, YouTube, and discussion forums. You can also create an e-commerce website for selling your book or get it on Amazon and other book-selling sites. ]
Ready to publish your first book? We hope our tips inspired you to start editing those dusty manuscripts and have them displayed on bookstore shelves for all bookworms to see!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate content writer who spends most of her time writing poems, songs, short stories, and informative blogs. To know more about literature, from poetry to fiction, check out Doire Press, an award-winning book publisher in Ireland.