If you’re an indie author and looking to self-publish a book, it can seem a little confusing at first. Who prints the book, then how do you get the book into a store (online and on the high street) and how do you promote the book too?
These are all valid questions and ones which can stop authors even trying to publish their own work, but it shouldn’t stop you, the self-publishing industry is a great deal easier to use than it’s ever been, and there are lots of great services that an author can take advantage of for success.
So, if you have just finished writing a manuscript and think you’re ready to publish, let’s look at what you should consider doing next (with links to lots of other helpful resources).
One – Editing
Just because you’ve written ‘The End’ on the last page, it doesn’t mean that the book is finished, getting your book edited and proofread is so important before you consider self-publishing the book itself. There are plenty of editing and proofreading companies that can review your manuscript and give professional advice on how to polish the book prior to launch, they will see tweaks that need to be made and find any issues that may have been missed when you wrote it. You can read further articles on how to edit and proofread here.
It's worth remembering that readers who buy your book on Amazon will be very quick to post negative comments and reviews when a book is full of grammatical and plot errors etc. so, make sure that your work doesn’t suffer because of small issues.
Two – Formatting
Once the manuscript has been polished, edited and proofread (and you’re happy with it), you should now look at formatting the book, this should take into consideration the trim size that’s correct for your book/genre and the style of your genre too (for example, most nonfiction books are laid out very differently to that of fiction). Formatting can be done by authors, and the likes of Amazon’s KDP are making it easier for you to do this yourself too, but, when in doubt, there are many great formatters who can take care of this for you (which makes it easier when it comes to the eBook).
You should also consider the formats that you’ll publish the book as, the most common will be paperback and eBook, but more services offer hardbacks as an option and even audio books too. Some authors wait to see how the eBook and paperback sell prior to audio and hardback, but, audio books are definitely seeing an increase in sales, so they should be something to consider for the near future.
Three – Book Cover Design
Having a professional book cover design is a must for all authors, because whether you like it or not, people do judge books by their covers, and if you’re still not sure about this, just look at the book covers from every successful author.
Most successful authors understand that the book cover design is the face and advertising of the book, if it looks unprofessional then the potential buyer/reader will assume that the contents are just as unprofessional, and with the sheer volume of books to choose from, they’ll just move on to the next title in a long line.
Four – ISBNs
An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number and is needed for each edition of your book, some POD services offer these for free (although those can only normally be used for that edition and on that specific platform alone). If you are buying one or using a free option, it’s normally best to plan this out prior to uploading your book to a print on demand publisher.
Five – Print on Demand
Print on demand (POD) publishing allows you to upload a book to be purchased online and when a reader buys it, the book is then printed and sent out to them, there’s no bulk print or masses of stock having to be produced, this keeps the overheads down and makes POD very cost effective (and popular).
There are several big players in POD, the first being Amazon’s KDP, they have lots to offer authors with a free to publish service and lots of promotional elements such as ‘expanded distribution’, ‘KDP Select’ or ‘Kindle Deals and Prime Reader Promotions’, and as well as being within their online store, you can make your book available to be within their physical bookstores (although this can still be challenging to actually get a book in there).
Next is IngramSpark , a massive player within the industry and as such they have one of the biggest distributions to match, again, you can get your book on Amazon and other online stores with them, they also have opportunities to get your book in physical stores.
Along with the two big POD services are Barnes & Noble, kobo, Lulu, Smashwords, Apple books, Google Play books and Draft2Digital, they all offer something for every author and should be worth considering.
Six – Marketing your book
There are lots of ways to market your book, from social media to paid advertising, and we have a whole section covering the many marketing options you should consider. The first and most popular choice is via social media, self-promoting your book on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram are great ways to reach new readers, and they’re easy to get up and running too.
You can also advertise your book on Amazon with paid advertising and additional promotional materials with A+ Content, all readily available for a self-publishing author and straightforward to set up.
There are also companies like Publisher Rocket that can help you become more successful with your book on Amazon too.
Seven – Your own website
Building your own author website is easy and very affordable now, there are plenty of services which offer drag-and-drop build platforms with templates to choose from and where you can have a great looking author website up and running within an afternoon.
Once you have a website you can use it as a great platform to engage with your readers, build a mailing list and sell books directly, it can be wonderful for marketing when done correctly and is a good way to let your readers know what you’re up to and what’s next.
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