Self-publishing services, such as Amazon KDP, have made it easy for writers to get their books out into the world quickly and with no effort. If you push to publish today, putting your manuscript up for sale on Amazon might happen as soon as tomorrow.
The bad news is. However, the market has been saturated. Over 1.7 million books are self-published annually in the United States, making it very competitive for any book or author. Therefore, it’s good to consider self-publishing tips to avoid any mistakes.
Ten Tips for Writers Who Want to Publish Their Books
If you’ve paid attention to the book business in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that producing books has changed significantly. It’s no longer only in the hands of big, fancy publishing houses with three-martini dinners and full power over which papers get released and thrown away.
With the rise of self-publishing, many first-time writers realize that it’s one thing to write a book and send it to a print-on-demand service, and it’s a whole other thing to get people to buy the book.
Here are 10 self-publishing tips from writers who learned how to sell your book the hard way.
1-Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Will Need:
Authors told me, “I didn’t realize how much time it would take,” “Everything takes longer than you think,” and “It will take much longer than you think, especially if you want quality.”
I’ve seen a lot of budding authors who want to get their books out yesterday, but it’s harder to do both. You can publish a book quickly, or you can publish a book well. Give yourself the space to make the best choices for your book, hire the best people, and figure out how your book fits your bigger plans and goals.
2-Start Early with Marketing:
Every author I talked to said they wished they had started to sell their books earlier. I’ve heard that the basic rule is to start building your author platform (email list, social media, a forum or dedicated social media group, if appropriate) 6–12 months before the book comes out and to start your actual marketing campaign (targeted blog posts, articles, podcasts, and ads meant to get people talking about your book) 2–3 months before the book comes out.
Once the book is out, it’s not enough to put up ads or tell everyone on your email list (you do have an email list, right?). You need people who like what you do, want what you have to give, and can’t wait to buy your book before it comes out.
3-Spend money On the Book:
Another thing I heard authors say over and over again was, “It costs a lot of money to publish a book.” People who want to write books often ask, “How much does it cost to publish?” in online self-publishing groups. The answer is that it can cost as much as you are ready to pay, and you (and your users) will get what you pay for.
If you want to be great at anything, including self-publishing, you have to be willing to put everything you have into it. This includes in terms of money. Think of the book as part of your broader plan to reach your income and artistic goals. Figure out how it fits into your plan and give the book every chance to be a success. The forgotten books are the ones whose writers didn’t spend the time or money to help them fly.
4- Don’t Take On Everything On Your Own:
Self-publishing tips involve a lot of steps. It’s much more complicated than just writing your book on Word, putting it on a print-on-demand site, and waiting for the money to come in.
There’s coming up with a book idea that will appeal to your target audience, writing and revising the manuscript, possibly getting beta readers and a developmental editor, hiring a copy editor, designing the cover and interior, getting it to proofread, uploading the final product, collecting reviews, building your author platform, making a website that can be found through an internet search, coming up with and carrying out your marketing and publicity plans, and so on. Whew! That is a lot to remember.
If you want to keep your mind, don’t do everything yourself.
Think about the parts of the job that are too much for you, that you don’t like, or don’t know how to do, and hire someone else to do those things.
5- Hire Expert Designers:
In printing, it’s a given that “everyone thinks they’re a book designer.” Several writers who answered my questions said you shouldn’t make your own. People do rate a book by its cover. People will not want to read your book if your cover is just “blah” or bad. Since so many people are self-publishing, there are always other books to choose from if you don’t like the one you have in front of you.
Urban Book Publishers and designers have the training and experience to know how to use color, pictures, and fonts to make a design that looks good. Spend the money to get help from experts. It will make your book better.
6-Start a Community:
The first rule of selling a book—or any good, for that matter—is to build a community around it. Successful writers know this and start building a group and getting people involved long before their book comes out.
You’re writing for a specific person. Figure out who will read your book, then plan how to bring those people together and get them excited to talk to you and each other.
The goal is for people to come together because they love something (your genre, your main character, your particular take on your subject) or a topic (for nonfiction books, a health issue, an experience, a hobby or interest, or a healing method). This way, when your book (and your second book, and your third book, and so on) comes out, you’ll already have people who want to buy it.
7-Use Your Book to Build Your Business:
As I said, don’t think this book is the end of your writing journey. Think of it as part of your plan for your business.
For example, books are a great way to show people how you deal with a problem or issue and get them to buy a product or sign up for a service you offer.
If you write fiction or poems, you can keep publishing and give your fans what they want: more of what they love about your writing. Self-published writers who do well usually have more than one book: The more books you have (as long as they give your readers what they want), the more money you will make.
8-Focus On Your Marketing and Cover Text:
After all your time writing and editing your work, you might think the writing is done.
Your book’s title, tagline, back cover copy, book description for online stores, ads, press releases, press kits, and other writing should all be as good as the book itself. If you are not a professional marketer, you might want to find someone good at this kind of writing. You could also ask your developmental editor for help if you think that person has improved your work.
For your ideal reader to stop thinking about buying your book long enough, you’ll need to catch their attention and make them think. Spend time writing your copy so that it is as interesting as possible.
9- Create an Emailing List:
One of the best Self-publishing tips to sell your book(s) is through an email list. But how does one get built?
Create freebie add-on goods and offers (services and perks people will want) that accompany your book in exchange for your potential customers’ email addresses.
For example, if your book teaches people how to do a certain type of meditation, make a well-designed product related to that meditation (like a bookmark or postcard with a mantra or chant to use while meditating) and give it away for free in exchange for the person’s email address. Then add them to your email list and use them to send out useful and interesting information about your book and your community.
If you’re going to promote, talk about the freebie or service to get the email addresses of the people you want to reach.
10-Don’t Try to Be Perfect:
One of my customers told me she had to stop herself from rewriting her work at least ten times.
Let’s face it, our books are like our children, and we want the best for them. Looking at the book you worked so hard on, it’s hard not to want to change something. “Oh, I could have probably put that better. Should I make that sentence different?” “Hmm, the cover image might be too small. Should I change it?”
Since most self-published books are easy to change, it can be tempting to keep working on your book. But after a while, fretting over the book won’t help you or the book, so let it go. Even if it’s not perfect, that’s fine. Pay attention to your community and your end goal for your business and book(s). Don’t try to change the book.
Today, it’s easy for writers to print their books, no matter what the book is about, how long it is, or how good it is. Self-publishing has taken the book world by storm, and buying editors are no longer the only ones who can choose what to print.