Your Guide To Self-Publishing Your Debut Novel
Self-publishing generally entails publishing your novel without the flair associated with a traditional publishing company that pays authors royalties. This means you will not have a team of people to help edit, design, and distribute your book.
Now, however, thanks to the worldwide web, publishing your novel as an ebook can be done practically for free with greater reach to the public than printed books. As a debut author, you may doubt the success of your work without the might of a huge publishing company.
However, with the tremendous popularity of self-published authors like Hugh Howey, who penned Silo, or Guy Kawasaki, the author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, celebrated self-published authors is no longer a pipe dream.
Now you might wonder whether the benefits of self-publishing are worth the obstacles and efforts. Here are some reasons to change your mind:
- Creative Freedom– With full liberty over every matter of the book, from content to cover design, you can publish your book as it is, unadulterated by the gatekeeping or censoring of a publishing company.
- Guaranteed Publishing-Perhaps, the best bit about self-publishing is that you aren’t beholden to any schedules and deadlines. You can write at your own pace and publish when you wish to.
- More Royalties- As you save costs on the middleman, you get to keep all the royalties except the retailers cut.
- Complete Ownership– This is self-explanatory; with full ownership, you can be assured that no one can tamper with your content.
There are two ways authors self-publish their books-DIY or Assist. The assisted route is more common because it is nearly impossible to oversee and flawlessly execute every aspect of publishing.
Self publishing may look like a daunting and complicated process, that is because it is. It is difficult to do everything on your own and incredibly easy to do a lousy job at it.
The most challenging aspect is marketing, not publishing. It is the easily missed details that can bring down all your hard work. You need to thoroughly analyze all aspects of self-publishing and not just rely on blogs and Google.
Join a writing community
The first step before picking up your pen is to find our community. Your community will play a crucial part in your self-publishing journey.No one would understand your struggles and give better feedback for improvement than people going through the same experiences. Your friends will be your best endorsements for your book. Include librarians, book-sellers in your circle. These book people will help grow your audience.
Whether you join an online writing group or have regular meetups and retreats, it will help you improve and find inspiration for your work. You can also listen to writing podcasts, read creative writing blogs to know more about common pitfalls, updates, and resources to help on your publishing journey.
Regular writing like prompts, short stories are good practice to polish your skills.
Write with confidence
This is easier said than done, especially if you are a debut author. Nevertheless, all books have a beginning, and it is okay if you have a bumpy start.
Decide what genre you wish to write, it doesn’t have to be one genre, but this will determine your marketing tactics and target audience. It would be best to read up books on your chosen genre to understand how to proceed with your book but keep your work original.
There are many writing software to ease the research process and brainstorm and write on the go, so invest in one.
Another tip is to come with a gripping title. Aside from the cover, the first thing to grab a reader’s attention is your book title, so be sure to invest plenty of time on that!
Your first draft is an essential part of your writing process, which will vary depending on your topic of choice.
For example, for non-fiction titles such as self-help or memoir, you will need to research and interview on your topic or create a book proposal which is a document showing the result of your book.
Fiction requires a different approach. You need to create a world from scratch, build a compelling protagonist with interesting character dynamics and decide which viewpoint to tell your story.
Create a routine to prevent procrastination, keep yourself motivated as well as have a work-life balance. Remember that writing is your passion, but you also need to give time to your family and fulfill your obligations.
Reward yourself to your favorite chocolate or a tv show episode upon reaching your desired goal for the day.
Writing is a craft, and like any craft, practice makes perfect. Patience, effort, and learning from your mistakes is the key to writing a successful novel.
Get Your Book Edited
The most crucial step after completion of your manuscript is editing it—the part which all writers hate. The first editor should be yourself. You don’t want to waste money on an editor to clean basic mistakes in your writing. You may also take help from beta readers. After you have finished as much as you can, hand it over to a professional editor as a fresh pair of eyes for a final check-in to brush up on any details you might’ve missed.
Whether you hire a professional designer or create your book cover, it will play a central role in marketing your book and appeal to the mass. Additionally, focus on the interior design to format your text for readability.
A self-publishing consultant will help you publish your work. They will assist with marketing, paid Amazon advertisement, book title design, and small, often-missed details. In exchange for the slightly expensive service, you receive the final quality product while keeping all the rights and sales proceeds of your work. Not a bad deal, right? However, be wary of scamming organizations and trust your assignment with reliable personnel.
Save costs by publishing your book as an ebook and a print book. With services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, readers can own an ebook or print the book on-demand. The popularity of e-reader platforms coupled with the low price is a great deal for debut authors to further their reach without relying on large publishing companies. Invest in an excellent distributor to get your book out in public.
A full-proof launch is essential because the first few weeks after release will seal the fate of your book’s reviews.
Marketing is the bane of the publishing process. The results of your effort hinge on good marketing. This should begin while you are planning and writing your book, not after. Your book is your baby that needs nurturing before even arriving in the world. Open up social media accounts, author websites, blog posts, post-story excerpts, mail newsletters. Your job is to build up the hype around your book and connect with readers.
With millions of titles to choose from, it is nearly impossible to stand out, especially for self-published authors. Your work shouldn’t be limited to putting your book on Amazon or Kindle. Mastering the retailers isn’t a piece of cake. It would help if you worked smart, not hard. To make Amazon send traffic to your book page, known as Amazon SEO, it is recommended that you hire someone well-versed in the matter. This will significantly affect your book price and sales generated.
Amazon algorithms are strongly influenced by reviews, so invest in building a non-family network (Yes, they can distinguish family members!) for favorable reviews on your purchased book.
Purchase an ISBN
You need to purchase an ISBN, which verifies you as the publisher and ownership over your book.
Being realistic with your goals and working towards them is an essential step of your journey. With so many titles, you may not be the New York Times Bestseller, but you aren’t in a race. Not being a best-seller debut novelist isn’t a failure. With dedication and business savvy, you will eventually reach your destination.
Another thing to be mindful of is the financial implications of self-publishing. You will have to fund the entire process, but you don’t necessarily have to empty all your savings. Your book is the product of arduous work and countless hours, so be sure to give it your all to put your work out.