With the big publishing houses amalgamating within each other more than ever, it seems harder and harder for budding writers to seek their work accredited through the traditional mass publication model. With this in mind, self-publishing can be an easier way to get your work out there and make a name for yourself. It comes with its own set of challenges, but, thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to publish your work the way you want to. Here are some tips to get you started on the road to becoming a self-made literary success.
Write for a Series
Marketing your work is much easier if it takes the form of a sequential series. Readers get a chance to settle down more with the character, and you can hold their attention better from book to book. Often, you’ll find that readers will consume series more compulsively, and then keep their eye out for when they can get their next fix.
Establish a Mailing List
Keeping the channels open between you and your customers can’t hurt your sales. Not only can you send them news about your writing and new release dates, you can also get a better picture of which demographics your books play well with. An outlet like Amazon might help promote one of your titles but won’t give you a way to stay connected with the people who initially bought your work when the time comes for your next release.
You’ll find that your mailing list will swell up if you incentivise people to join. Some effective carrots to dangle include free books (short novellas work well) or samples and teasers of your writing. If you can get people interested in your writing, then this outlay can reap bigger returns.
Respond to Fan Letters
This is an obvious one, but as well as being polite, responding to fan mail can turn potential readers into drum-beating ambassadors of your work. A personal reply is something they won’t forget in a hurry. It’ll also make them more likely to tell people in their social circle about your work or leave you good reviews online.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re writing about a subject with a nod to technical details, you’ll want to ensure you’re writing accurately about your subject matter. If your work features guns, cars, medical treatment, and other such specialisations, getting the nitty-gritty wrong will put off readers and tarnish the image of you as a competent writer. Reach out for help and make sure your work is proofread by a wide enough range of people to increase the likelihood that errors and misunderstandings will be flagged up before publication.
Put a Premium on Quality
The work you publish will be in competition with the big publishing houses, so you have to ensure that you’re not short-changing yourself on quality. Putting the extra time, effort, and money into putting together the best possible product is essential, and the minutiae of the presentation will have an effect on potential readers because many times it’s your cover that’s selling the book. Many self-published works can feel cheaply put together, but this needn’t be the case. Take your time in coming up with a good cover. There are plenty of freelance artists you can reach out to on the internet. Make sure you’re happy with the font and paper used as well, and do your research when looking to get your book bound to ensure a good finished product and not one where the ends of sentences are going to disappear into the gutters.
Don’t Proof Your Own Work
As tempting as this is, it usually ends in disasters. If you weren’t aware of an error when you made it, then there’s a high probability that you might not pick up on it at second glance. Whilst not essential for every writer to have, soliciting the services of a couple of editors and some solid proofreaders can help ensure that your work has a professional level of cleanliness when the time to publish it comes.
Put Your Passions into Your Work
There’s no reason to follow the latest trend with your writing just because you think that’s what the market will respond well to. It’ll make your work a struggle to write (and often to read). If you can marry content matter that interests you with what’ll interest other people, you’ll enjoy the process of writing and your enthusiasm will seep into your readers.
Learn from the Mistakes of Others
Writing is, by its nature, a solitary business, but there’s no reason you can’t have a prowl around for some advice to make your job easier. With the internet, there’s a passionate community of independent writers who will be more than happy to offer advice (no doubt thrilled to be away from the typewriter for a bit). Try and gain insights from your favourite writers speaking on their creative process, and don’t be afraid to read a book or join a course if you think it could expedite your own efforts.
Keep at It
Try and develop the habit of writing every day. It’s nothing to knock out a page or two a day, and in a year’s time, you’ll find yourself with a novel. If nothing else, the more you write the better you get at it, so keep your nose to the grindstone, and you might be surprised at what you’ll be left with.
I’m a 27-year-old sales accountant from Lancashire. Though I’m not a professional writer it’s my hobby to put together articles from time to time. I live alone and sometimes have a free time to write a piece or two about the passion of my life, writing.