Whether you are an aspiring author or a seasoned one, there are always questions that arise when it comes to self-publishing. Writing a book is one thing, but getting it in the hands of buyers can be quite another. Someone once wrote, being an author is 5% writing and 95% marketing and promotion.
As an author and publisher myself, I know that a writer writes for the joy of expression and the telling of a good story. That’s the way it should be. However, in order to be successful, you must, must, must, have a plan. Here are five nut and bolt basics to help you get started:
Establish a Platform – Even before your book is published develop a marketing plan and begin to implement it. Who do you see reading and buying your book? What are their ages? Where do they live, work and go to school? All of this will help you establish your genre – your market. Once you know your market, you can create a plan on how to reach them, whether online, in stores or in groups.
Secure Distribution Channels – How will you get your book onto store shelves or into the hands of the consumers? As a self published author, your distributor is the most important partner you will have. Most mainstream bookstores won’t buy directly from you; instead, they will order from a distributor, or wholesaler, and the distributor will purchase books from you. The trick is to find the right distributor, based on who buys from them, what books they specialize in and what their terms are. You can find a list of distributors that specialize in your genre at your local library.
Dot your Is and cross your Ts – See to it that your book is presented professionally down to the last detail. This means, you can’t let just anyone design your cover or layout the text yourself. Engaging a professional graphic designer who uses professional tools and high-resolution graphics will ensure that your book can compete. You will spend a bit more, but a professional looking book is almost guaranteed to sell more copies.
Make it your best work – Be sure to have someone edit your book before it goes to print. Ideally, you will want to secure a qualified editor who understands writing style and structure. A publishing company will have an experienced editor review your book and work with you to resolve them before it goes to print. Why? Because a publisher knows that work poorly edited doesn’t just reflect on the author, but on the company as well.
Obtain your Cataloging Information – For your book to truly be complete, you will need to purchase an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) (www.isbn.org), and have a Cataloging in Print (CIP) or Library of Congress number assigned (www.loc.gov). You’ll also need a barcode that will include this information and allow your book to be sold in stores and easily purchased on the web. All of this data establishes and identifies one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition. Last, protect your work by copyrighting your book with the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov).
Don’t let the time you’ve spent writing your book be in vain. See the process through from beginning to end. Determine what you can and want to do yourself as well as what you want a publisher to do for you. Use the five points shared above as a measuring stick to sort through and secure a highly qualified publisher that will have your best interest at heart.
Best of luck to you and here’s to your publishing success.
Nicole Elizabeth Smith is the Publisher for the People. An Amazon.com bestselling author, she is the owner of Panacea Publishing offering ala carte and packaged comprehensive book production, publishing and distribution services to authors. You can contact Nicole by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.