Once upon a time, the dream of being published only became a reality for a small minority of individuals. However, independent publishing — brought to you by the power of modern technology — has made this dream a reality for countless high-quality authors who may have never gotten a chance with a publishing house.
If you’re dreaming of becoming a published author, and you’re thinking of going the independent publishing route, you’re not alone. Here are a few of the most important things you’re going to want to prepare for if you want your foray into the self-publishing world to be successful.
Get Organized Up Front
Everyone has their own particular writing method. Some stay up late, others get an early start. Some write in bursts, others compose to the beat of a steady drum.
When it comes to getting published, though, you need to shift out of the artistic mindset and adopt a more organized, predictable approach to your activities.
This process should start with your workspace. Organize your home office by clearing spaces and setting up physical storage systems. This can help you keep a focused mindset as you work on administrative tasks.
Next, clean up your digital spaces. Make sure files, spreadsheets, documents, and other manuscripts are in the right folders and locations on your devices. This will help you stay organized and effective as you go about the publishing process.
Hire the Right Help
You may be publishing your book without a larger publishing house behind you, but that doesn’t mean you should eschew all forms of support. On the contrary, look into hiring the following to help you with the process:
- An editor: Don’t be shy. Find a good editor who will be willing to challenge you and help perfect your manuscript.
- A graphic designer: From a cover to interior art, you want your book’s visual aesthetics to help rather than hinder the choice to make a purchase.
- A lawyer: Legal counsel is vital during publishing, from advice about getting an ISBN to copyright information and everything in between.
- An accountant: The financial aspects of a book can be hefty when you self-publish, so make sure to find a good accountant — or take some classes yourself — to keep your money matters in order.
Of course, you’re not a business that can afford to have anyone on staff. You’re an author just trying to get started. The good news is, thanks to things like freelancing, you can access many of these individual experts at a very reasonable cost.
Line Up a Publishing Option
If you’re going to self-publish, you need to set up the best ways to turn your manuscript from a final draft to a purchasable product. There are multiple ways to do this.
For instance, you can link up with a print-on-demand book service. The cost will obviously be higher than printing large batches of books, but this saves you from the need to invest in printing large batches of books upfront.
You can also create a digital version of your book. This can be sold as an e-book copy that will cost you next to nothing to create and sell.
Pull Together a Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve written your book, you’re going to need to create a marketing strategy to promote it. This starts before you have a book to publish. The pre-selling process includes things like sending out press materials and promoting your book to potential distributors.
You’ll also want to define and study your audience. This is something you likely already did when you decided who to write your book for. Now, you need to consider how to reach this group and others like them with your promotional efforts.
One great first step is to create an author website. You can use this as an online hub to centralize your marketing efforts. From there, branch out and purchase ads, set up social media, try to get testimonials, and so on.
Set Proper Expectations
Finally, remember to set proper expectations as you go along. Publishing your own book is an exciting, exhilarating experience. But it’s easy to let those emotions get ahead of you.
For instance, don’t assume that the publication process will be instant. If you try to get print versions of your book, it can take months to get things in motion. Even a digital e-book requires patience to set up.
Also, brace for your audience’s reaction. You may not sell a lot of copies — money should never be the end goal with self-publishing. You also may get negative feedback. Use these opportunities to learn and grow as you develop into a better writer.
Self-publishing is an accessible, exciting way to become a published author. However, it’s not a magic bullet. It still requires a lot of patience, planning, and well-set expectations.
So consider the list of items above. Then start to work on a strategy to publish your book. If you can go about the process in an organized manner, you’ll end up giving yourself the best possible shot at success.
Beau Peters is professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.