While 2020 has been a hailstorm of shocking world events, one positive has been that people are writing stories. Lots of people with lots of stories. And with great stories come significant questions & decisions. We’ve received quite an uptick in queries and it’s time to get real about self-publishing.
Nothing is more important than establishing your budget. Self-publishing is going to cost you money upfront, and it’s buyer beware. Deciding what you are willing to spend out of pocket will dictate many of your decisions. We urge you to seek out professionals with no less than expert experience in each of the following.
For the love of all readers, never publish a book that has not been professionally edited. This is the single greatest investment you can make in your book, but it can also be one of the most expensive.
Self-publishing services don’t check for quality of content, which results in a great many craptastic books in circulation. Readers will sniff out an unedited book in the first few pages and you will pay the price in poor reviews. If you need help finding the write, err right, editor, check out our previous post, What Type of Editing Does Your Book Need?
Depending on the type of editing you need, you can expect to pay per word or by the hour. Visit Freelance Editors Association to view a full list of editorial services and fee ranges. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you want your book to compete with the best in the marketplace instead of being passed over, you need a professional editor!
Believe it or not, how you design the interior pages of your book matters. This includes understanding font, typesetting, trim size, image placement, and margins. There should be a balance between the text and white space throughout the pages of your novel. Otherwise the book looks haphazard and screams unprofessional. Interior pages should be easy on the eyes, or your reader will walk away. If you’re not familiar with how to achieve this, hiring a designer would be in your best interest.
Whoever said, “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” must never have had to sell one. The book cover is your number one marketing tool. Top selling books wear covers specifically designed with imagery/text representative of your story, and also sellable to your audience. Even the spine should be of consideration, as it needs to stand out against other books sharing space on the bookstore shelf.
Self-publishing services will likely require you to choose a book cover from a template. It’s less expensive and more efficient than waiting for a designer. It also means your cover looks like every other self-published book. And trust me, readers can tell the difference between a template book cover and one professionally rendered.
Selling books and delivering them requires many steps. In short you need to know:
Self-publishing services make their money upfront on print fees (and perhaps other fees for services mentioned here). Authors must figure out alone how to reach their readers. The costs involved here range from website design and hosting to packaging/shipping fees.
This requires more than sharing to your Instagram or Facebook feeds. Focus on building relationships versus the ‘buy my book, buy my book!’ approach. Readers want to get to know you! Fans want to see behind the scenes of your writing process, learn about your four legged best friend, and hear about how you teach artistic roller skating. Your brand is who you are! Everything you do, post, blog, or write speaks to your brand. Be consistent with what you put out there. Your fans will respond.
*Pro-Tip: Video is king right now. Apps like TikTok and Instagram make it easy to create fun, engaging videos. Facebook live is a great place to involve fans and allow them to ‘meet’ you. A YouTube channel or podcast is great for interviewing authors in your genre or hosting a Q & A with fans. Just be sure to stay on brand.
If you would like to inquire about our Author Services for self-publishing, please email us at [email protected]. Our staff is ready to assist you!