Tips for Self-Publishing Your Book
So you’ve decided you want to publish a book, but you’re not yet sure whether it’s feasible, or what will be involved. This brief guide will help you wrap your head around the process, and get a sense of where to begin. The good news is that you no longer need the approval of a big publishing company, and more and more authors are finding success with self book publishing. The more challenging news is that you’ll need to do it right, and this can make the difference between simply getting your book out there, and finding real success.
Many would-be authors have concerns and hesitation about starting the writing or publishing process. One common worry is that even with an idea for a book, you might not have the skills to produce quality writing. As with any art or craft though, even the greatest writers had to start somewhere. It takes practice, refinement, and perhaps most importantly, feedback. Think of your favorite author—they almost certainly have written work they, or their editors, didn’t like at first. But there’s a reason that’s not what you’ve read! If you’re serious about publishing, you’ll need to keep improving your skills and refining each piece of writing.
And that’s what the editing and feedback process is really about. This is another top concern for aspiring authors, who might be afraid of harsh criticism from editors. But this feedback is key to ensuring quality in your writing and making sure you deliver what readers want. Remember, editors are professionals at giving this feedback in a constructive way. They’ll do their job, and to become the best writer you can be, it’s vital that you’re open to that feedback.
With so many books out there already, you may also have doubts that what you have to say hasn’t been said before. For non-fiction authors, there will probably be other books on your topic. For fiction authors, your story, setting, and themes may overlap with other books already published. But most of the time, that’s ok. In fact, it shows there’s a market for your idea. And as long as you’re not plagiarizing, you’re going to end up telling your story or teaching readers about your topic in your own unique way.
Perhaps one of the most common hesitations about writing a book is whether you’ll be able to finish writing it. Starting from scratch and aiming to finish hundreds of pages can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But as long as you take things one step at a time, each one won’t be overwhelming. Start by brainstorming on paper, turn that into a chapter outline, and start from there – that way you won’t just be starting with a blank page. From there, if you can spend a certain amount of time writing every day, you’ll eventually have a book. If writing is just one piece of your busy life, this could be a little as an hour, or even a half hour, each day.
What Are Your Self Book Publishing Goals?
One early step is to decide what your goals are in publishing a book. This will keep you focused through the writing process and will guide your decisions later on in the publishing process.
Not every author publishes books for the same reasons. Maybe you see book publishing as a possible career, and you envision your book as the first of many. But plenty of authors see a book as part of another career, their personal development, or as a way to just preserve information.
Writing a book can be a great way to boost your career, or to be viewed as an authority on a given subject. Maybe you just want to document your personal history as a memoir. Or maybe there’s a piece of local history you want to preserve.
Learn About Your Genre
While you shouldn’t worry too much about whether there are similar books out there, you do want to make sure there’s a market for what you’re publishing. And where possible, you want to offer readers elements of your book that they won’t find elsewhere. To do this, you should be able to place your book within the wider context of its genre. What does your book have in common with the rest of its subgenre or genre, and what does It do differently? For some authors that are also avid readers, this may come naturally. But others may need to do some exploration.
Knowing your genre will come in handy later on when making marketing and promotion decisions. But it pays to do this research early on so you can understand the context for your book as you write it.
For example, the romance genre has benefited from the rise of self-publishing, arguably more than any other genre. A huge proportion of self-published books are romance fiction. Romance readers tend to go through books quickly, which means authors benefit from the rapid speed of the publishing process compared to traditional publishing. And when it comes to marketing, there are online communities of readers that are hungry for content. It’s a great genre for self book publishing, and the internet allows authors connect directly to these readers for feedback and inspiration.
There are also some common expectations for the genre. You’ll want to research what’s selling now, in terms of length, types of stories, book covers, price points, and more. One key writing tip is to develop your characters well. Romance readers want to invest in your characters, and to do that, they need three-dimensional characters with clear motivations. If your characters don’t feel real to you, they won’t feel real to your reader either.
Science fiction is another genre that’s been driving the self-publishing boom. Major publishers now account for just 21 percent of science fiction and fantasy eBook sales, according to AuthorEarnings. Much of this success stems from similar reasons—sci-fi authors have taken advantage of their ability to connect directly with their readers online.
And once again, you’ll find some story commonalities among the most successful sci-fi books. You’ll want to draw in your readers with early questions about the world you’ve created, and then allow that complex universe to gradually unfold for your reader, according to Writer’s Digest. And even though you’re creating a fictional universe, you should be consistent once you establish the rules of your world’s technology, culture, and setting.
It also doesn’t hurt to know that certain subgenres of science fiction are selling exceptionally well, including military sci-fi, sci-fi adventure, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and space opera novels.
Getting It Done
Sitting down and starting to actually write your book can be one of the scariest steps in your process. But there are some key strategies to make it easier.
Set up a comfortable writing space where you’ll be disturbed as little as possible. Pick a time of day that makes sense for your schedule, and sit down to write every day, no matter what. Set aside an amount of time you can commit to daily, like an hour. For those with a busy schedule, even a half hour will eventually get the job done if you stick to it. Don’t be afraid to get input from family and friends.
But most importantly, remember your first draft does not need to be perfect. Your book will go through several stages of edits. In this first stage, it’s crucial to move ahead with just getting it done so you have something to edit. It will feel good just to have a completed draft. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t let perfectionism slow you down.
Benefits Of Self Book Publishing
When it comes time to publish, you no longer need to win the approval of a huge publishing company to get your book out there. Self book publishing is a more viable path to success than ever before. And not only do you not need to sell your idea to gatekeepers, there are other benefits. You retain full control over every creative decision, as well as your earnings. You won’t have to wait years to actually see your book published, as is often the case with traditional publishing. Many successful authors have chosen to self-publish even given the option to work with a traditional publisher.
Mistakes To Avoid
That said, with no publisher in charge of your project, there’s no one to stop you from publishing low quality content. And unfortunately, much of the self-published work out there is still fairly low quality. If you want your book to compete with traditionally published books and other high-quality work to become a bestseller, you have to give the whole publishing process the same attention it’s given by traditional publishers.
Much of this low-quality content comes from authors that try to handle the whole publishing process by themselves. Just because you’re an author doesn’t mean you have expertise in editing, design, distribution, and marketing. We don’t expect airline pilots to serve drinks to passengers and coordinate air traffic. It would be a disaster. So why expect an author to deal with every aspect of the publishing process?
This is where collaborative publishing comes in. A collaborative publisher will help offer the best of both worlds, allowing you to retain control over creative decisions and revenue, while offering the tools to produce a top-quality book. You’ll put together a team of experts in all areas of publishing to make sure mistakes in editing, design, or marketing don’t hold back writing that could otherwise become a bestseller.
Self Book Publishing Success
If you take things step-by-step, never let fear stop you from getting started, and get the help you need to publish your book the right way, there’s nothing to hold you back from publishing a bestseller. Just getting started and sticking with it will put you head and shoulders above many would-be authors.