15 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing
New undertakings often emerge as convoluted paths until we’ve found our bearings. Consider today’s post on self-publishing as a short cut, perhaps not to the destination itself but at least to the point where we’ve got our legs beneath us.
The following is not merely a list of 15 tips and tricks for indie authors; these are the nitty and gritty points you’ll definitely need to have in mind as you begin your trek off-trail into the lovely wild of self-publishing.
You’d better have a good reason to go print rather than digital. There’s no question these days that e-books are the optimized approach to self-publishing and offer better market opportunities. Print has its place, as long as it has its reason.
Low barrier of entry means you need to take a proactive approach to distinguishing your brand from the crowd. The best thing about self-publishing: anyone can do it. The worst thing: yeah, you guessed it.
Most self-published books are not very good. The very best thing you can do to set yourself apart then is to simply write good material. The only reason you could fail in that case is either a) you’re not being efficient enough on the business/marketing end of things, or b) you gave up too quickly.
If you manage to sell a few hundred copies of your book, congratulations — you’ve just beaten the odds. Unfortunately, you’re still not ready to quit your day job. Now’s neither the time to celebrate nor is it time to give up. Simply continue to build upon your past success.
Most self-published books give themselves away with their design. We’re all familiar with the do-it-yourself look and feel of indie titles. If you’re interested in taking a fast track approach to standing out, the best thing you can do is hire a professional to do your design work.
Create an outline of your business plan in the same you created a story outline for your book. Structure is not just an author’s tool, it’s a universal application for life. It would be a stretch to say that storytelling applies to all facets of life, but a strong narrative and success go hand in hand.
There are plenty of commercially successful bad books. And there are untold numbers of unread masterpieces. If your book fails to put up the big numbers, don’t take it as a direct reflection of the quality of your writing. Take it as a sign that you need to reexamine your overall approach.
Literary fiction authors: temper your expectations. The fact is, niche fiction does best and it will most likely always be that way. Niche is a more direct line to target readers, the writing process is easier to streamline, and the marketing aspect is more black and white. Don’t take this as encouragement to sell out, but perhaps don’t be afraid to keep a potential niche audience in mind.
Cut out the middle guy and publish your own ISBN (www.isbn-us.com). For about a hundred bucks and a small chunk of paperwork, you can act as your own publisher and compete directly against any other small publisher.
Don’t settle on a title that doesn’t complete light you up every time you say it in your mind. Unlike design, a strong title is the one great marketing-oriented task you can do on your own. Come up with a hundred titles, shoot them to people in your network, and take note of which ones they tend to remember or react more favorably to.
It doesn’t hurt to pay for turnkey services to help get your book out there, but be mindful of the fact that many are simply out to take advantage of naive authors. A good way to test if a service is going to have your best interests in mind, is to give them a call. If you’re unable to get a real human being on the phone with a little effort, who is just as interested in learning about you as they are in explaining themselves, then it’s best to prolong your search.
Hire your own people if possible. This doesn’t mean working with unqualified friends and family members, but staying within your own network is your safest bet to paying the right price for the right return. A personal referral is worth its weight in gold.
In the world of self-publishing, it’s still ok to negotiate. While not exactly a gold standard, it never hurts to make it a habit to negotiate a little before committing to a deal. It’s a practice that fits the spirit of the industry, so don’t worry about coming off as pushy. As long as you negotiate cordially, that is.
Another good habit to get into is being vocal when working with outside partners. This means asking questions and making complaints. Publishers and media agencies are often in the business of exploiting the passive and timid author. So stand strong!
The self-publishing game is mostly fun but sometimes brutal. The biggest mistake self-publishers make is thinking that they can just launch a book and it will magically work its way out there. Not the case. Be prepared to fight for each and every little inch you gain. This market doesn’t do anyone favors, so you have to take matters into your own hands.
None of the above is meant to scare you out of giving self-publishing a shot, nor is it meant to coddle you and lead you into believing that this is all fun and games. The truth is somewhere in between. The chance to self-publish is a reward in itself and most authors can find pride in any measure of success, even if it’s just something to share with friends and family. But for those with higher aims, we at Authorpreneurlaunch want to make sure you’re equipped with the right attitude and knowledge to realize your dreams.
Ready to write your own novel? 15 Things You Need To Know About Self-Publishing: http://t.co/zUdfpj7uYG
— Marquina (@Marquina) September 30, 2015