Each week I host #AuthorSpotlight and interview a different author each Wednesday. In addition to the interview and the excerpt you see each Wednesday they also answer a few questions that I use to put together these occasional posts featuring tips from multiple authors. Today’s topic is self publishing.
During my weekly interviews I talk with all kinds of different authors, including those that are traditionally published, self published, or a little bit of both. Here is the advice of 20 self published authors regarding the topic: Self Publishing Your Book. (If you want to learn more about an author, click there name to view their interview)
Do it! Do it now! I’ve always self-published, and I love having total control over every aspect of my books.
~Alexa Land, Best Selling Author of the First and Forever Series
Perseverance is the key. Being self-published is a lot of work, but totally worth it. You go through all the tedious steps (writing, editing, formatting, etc.), and then finally get that proof copy in your hands—something concrete that you made, something real and tangible that came from a simple idea in your head—and all the hard work and stress finally pays off.
Study your market. Check out the genre you’re going to be publishing in, look at what’s selling and what isn’t. Also, in my opinion, working with a good editor and cover designer are crucial in grabbing attention.
Be patient. Wait until you have a few novels written before you publish. Then take your time with editing and launching. And don’t be disappointed if you’re not an instant success. Keep writing, publishing, building your fan base.
Have a beta (Gail Morse has worked with me for the past 16 years, and I trust her implicitly.) or two (or three) to read over your story before you send it to an editor, and yes, you’ll definitely need an editor. Unless you’re tech savvy, (I’m not) you’re going to need a cover artist also. Ask around (again, people you trust) and get suggestions for both.
Keep in contact with your fellow authors. The MM community is such a supportive group of authors that usually help one another out as needed. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow authors about anything you are not sure of.
Be prepared to project manage. You can pay a company to manage the pieces for you — and there are lots of new companies eager to take that on for you. If you truly can’t spend the time, then that may work best for you. But either way, you’re the boss and the message and the brand are your responsibility, so you should be engaged and committed to understanding that self-publishing is not just about writing and completing the novel. For success, you have to really put in time. You are taking on what traditional print publishing houses used to, in the online medium. Find a good cover artist, a good editor, a good set of beta readers, a writing group. Make sure your work is not riddled with typos and is packaged professionally.
Go for it! Self-publishing polished both my writing and promotional skills far more than if I’d sat on the manuscript and kept trying to query it. Some stories just do better on their own.
Keep going. Don’t worry about sales for the books until you have five published. Amazon is all about momentum. Each new book sells the previous ones.
Don’t drink the kool-aid 🙂 Meaning, you do you. There are lots of ways to make money and one size doesn’t fit all, so if anyone is telling you that this is absolutely the way and it doesn’t seem right for you then work with what does. Be your own boss. That’s one of the best parts of doing it yourself.
Find a great cover artist and an editor to edit your work. Self-publishing has a bad name because of those who take short cuts. Never cut corners.
I strongly recommend that you go with an established publishing house first in order to build an audience. Self-pubbing is extremely easy these days—finding your audience is the hard part. If you have a house behind you helping with editing, professional covers and promotion, it’s much easier to build your brand and attract readers.
Get an amazing cover artist—this is your book’s first impression. If you like a book’s cover, look on the copyright page. Often the name of the cover artist will be listed there along with the author.
Don’t judge a book by its cover is a lie. You need a good cover, good blurb and good title or you won’t sell.
The technical and practical side is much less difficult than you think, and there is so much support for you. The marketing and strategizing side is as difficult as you think. But if you are traditionally published, you’re expected to do 90-99% of that work anyway. So… go do it.
Study every aspect of the business. Even if you are one of those lucky people who can afford to hire out all of the jobs that make up the process of publishing a book, you still need to know what needs to be done and what qualifies as a job well done (or what needs to be better).
~Dena Garson, Award Winning Author
Write what you most love to read, not what happens to be hot at the moment. If you love it, it will show. If you don’t care, the reader won’t care either.
~Angela Knight, New York Times Best Selling Author
Don’t try to do it all yourself. Get a (some) beta reader(s). And an editor. No book should be published without several sets of eyes going over it first. And know that people will judge your book by its cover. So, if you don’t have the skills yourself, hire someone (there are lots of affordable folks who do great work.)
Edit and proof-read until the manuscript is as polished as it can be. Then invest in a professional editor that has experience in editing similar manuscripts. I also recommend using professionals for cover design so that the cover reflects the story. And for setting the text. The more professional your book looks (and reads) the more seriously it will be taken.
Be Patient! It’s easy to get in a rush to get your work out there. But being patient can save you a lot of headaches later when it comes to finding typos, errors in formatting, marketing, cover art, etc.