Is Self-Publishing a Book Right for You?
Have you ever had dreams of writing your own book and possibly even making a living as an author? If so, great news; self-publishing is the perfect fit for you! There has truly never been a better time to get your book out into the world!
Technology has rapidly changed the publishing industry as a whole and a new era of “indie” authors (smaller authors who are often self-published) are rising to fame.
Historically speaking, if you wanted to write a book you were at the mercy of the publishers to ever see your book in print. This process could take years of applying, heaps of money spent on publicists, and no guarantee that your book would ever have a chance to reach the public.
Now-a-days, with the advances in technology and online marketplaces (ahem, Amazon…), anyone with a computer and the desire to write can get their book out into the world.
There are numerous authors making a very comfortable living off the royalties from their books and they’ve never had to share a cut of their sales with a publisher and you can be one of them!
Step #1: Where to Start with Self-Publishing?
With a book of course! If you are an aspiring writer the first thing you must do is start working on your manuscript. It doesn’t matter how easy it is to self-publish if you don’t have anything work publishing!
A few tips for working on your first book:
- Start with what you know. For your first book I highly recommend writing on a subject or topic that you are familiar with, or that will take minimal research. You do not want your first book to take three years of research to complete. Start with what you know and you will finish writing your first book faster and with a better end product.
- Mind Map out your book before you begin. I don’t care how well you think you know the layout for your book, when you are knee deep in writing it is so easy to get off track. It is so helpful to take the time before you ever start writing to lay out your book from intro to completion. Create a mind-map on a big piece on paper where you write down all your ideas and then categorize them into sections. These sections can then become your chapters and you can then put them in order of sequence. This one step will save your sanity, save you from forgetting important topics, and keep your writing on track.
- Just start! No matter how amazing your book sounds in your head, it can be very intimidating to actually sit down and try to get your thoughts onto paper. No matter how terrible it sounds at the time, it is essential to just bite the bullet and start your book! You will be editing your book so don’t worry about getting everything perfect the first go-around. Get started and you’ll be amazed how quickly you find your rhythm.
Step #2: What is the Next Step in Finishing my Book?
For a lot of authors writing the book is the easiest part of the self-publishing journey. Taking that rough manuscript and turning it into an actual book worth reading is where the work begins!
Once you complete your book it is time to get it “cleaned up” before you introduce it to the world. If your budget allows, get your manuscript professionally edited as well as proofread. What is the difference you ask? Let me explain:
While there are different types of editors most editors focus on the content and structure of your book. A good editor will assist you in clarifying confusing points, tightening up your sentence structure, and removing anything that detracts from the overall story.
Some editors also offer proofreading services, however it is very hard for an editor to catch every mistake as they are so close to your manuscript that the cannot read it simply for grammatical errors.
That is where your proofreader comes in. A proofreader is the final set of eyes for your manuscript. They do not read your book for content, but simply for grammatical accuracy.
You will want to send your manuscript to the proofreader only after you have made all of the changes from your editor. Proofreaders are worth their weight in gold as they save you from embarrassing typos!
The final step in getting your manuscript ready is to get it formatted. At this stage you can use some of the online templates and tutorials if you are fairly tech savvy, or you can choose to hire a professional. Depending on the format of your book you may need to have your book formatted for both the digital (kindle) and print version.
Step #3: The Final Steps towards Self-Publishing!
Now that your manuscript is complete it’s time to bring your book to life. Although we’ve all heard it’s best not to “judge a book by its cover” the truth is, that it happens everyday. Your book had better look its best if you want sales from anyone outside of your immediate family!
Before you hire a cover designer it is important to do your research. Hop onto Amazon or go to your local bookstore and search for books in the same field or genre as your topic. You want to make sure your cover tells your audience what kind of book it is and what they can expect inside.
This is one area of your book that is worth spending some extra time and money. A good cover designer will know how to position your title and name for highest sales, the colors that show up well on the online platforms, the fonts that convert the best, and how to pull it all together to look professional and high quality.
If your cover is not up to par with other books on the market, you will be hard pressed to see consistent sales.
Step #4: It's Launch Time Baby!
Once your manuscript is complete, your cover is designed, and your book is formatted, it is finally time to publish your book!
Amazon is by far the most popular online platform to self-publish your book, however there are other venues you can utilize (your own website for example). I have used Amazon to publish both of my books as they have the largest reach and they make the process simple and straight forward. Follow the 6 steps below to get your book published and on its way to adoring readers everywhere!
6-Step Process to Self-Pubishing on Amazon:
- Create an account: Visit http://kdp.amazon.com to set up your account.
- Upload your Manuscript: Make sure you upload the final, formatted document.
- Complete the Book Set-Up Details: Set your price, the countries you want to sell to, as well as your royalty options.
- Wait: Give yourself a few days for Amazon to approve the application before you start promoting your book.
- Set it to Live: Once your book is "Live" you can start announcing your book to the world!
- Pop the Bubbly: You are officially a self-published author! Congratulations!
If you decide that you want to have a print version of your book (most authors do), you will need to research printing options. Print-by-demand services such as Kindle Direct Publishing, print single copies of your book on demand.
This option keeps your initial investment low, however, you have fewer options than an independent printer. Both of the companies listed above are owned by Amazon which makes it easy to link the print book to your Amazon profile.
You can also choose to have your book printed through an independent printer. This option gives you more options and control over the finished product, however, you often have to invest in purchasing bulk copies up front.
Step #5: Now the Real Work Begins...
You would think that by this point you could sit back, sip your coffee and watch the royalty checks roll in, right? Well, that’s not exactly how it works.
Once your book is published and available for purchase, your focus shifts into promotion mode. Now is the time to get as many eyes and ears (audio books) on your book as possible. Online Facebook groups, blogs, podcasts, and local news outlets are all great resources to partner with to promote your book.
There are countless online services that will promote your book for you (for a fee of course!), but you do have to be careful that they are worthwhile investments. Amazon will pull your book from their marketplace if they see suspicious activity on your account, so be weary which services you use to promote your book online!
The main secret to on-going, consistent sales is simply to get your book in front of the right audience as often as possible. If your book is priced correctly, looks professional, and is written well, then you are on the right path to earning a nice residual income from your hard work.
Congratulations, you are now a published author!
Want to Learn More?
If you are loving what you've read so far and want even more info, click on the button below to be taken to a FREE video from Chandler Bolt, the founder of the self-publishing that took me from "Blank page to a self-published author in 90 days or less".
**The link below is an affilliate link that I gladly share with you as I highly recommend the program. You will receive an exclusive offer for the program if you complete the video!**
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