Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 1

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Getting Started

Have you been wanting to indie publish your work, but you don’t know where to begin? Or does the prospective task seem so daunting that it paralyzes you into inaction? Is this even something you can do for yourself, or will you need a “village” to help you along the path to publication?

Self Publishing Made Simple

Let’s think a moment about the difference between a self-published and an independently published author. Anyone can self-publish his work. But an indie author is more likely to be a professional career writer who understands what makes a polished book and what the marketing requirements are to go along with it. He’s not a one-book wonder but is looking to make a profit. With this goal in mind, he treats his career as a small business. But whichever term you use, these same steps apply. I will use them interchangeably in this multi-post series.

We’ll discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, creating front and back material, and options for ebook and print formats.

Getting Started as an Indie Publisher

First let’s look at why you’d like to indie publish your novel. Do you want to become a hybrid author by reissuing your backlist titles or by publishing new works in between your traditionally-contracted books? Perhaps you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you would prefer to self-publish. Or maybe you have an idea for a nonfiction book that lends itself to indie publishing.

Why should you self-publish your work?

PROs:

  • You have a backlist and the rights reverted
  • You want to publish work in between your traditionally-published novels
  • You have a book that doesn’t fit into a particular genre category
  • You have a nonfiction project that you want to publish on your own
  • You want to direct the publishing process, in terms of:
  • Quality control
  • Pricing and discounts
  • Input on cover and interior design
  • Higher royalties
  • Rights ownership
  • Publication schedule

CONs:

  • Learning curve
  • Time-consuming tasks
  • Production costs
  • Back cover copy, book descriptions, metatags are your responsibility
  • Author/Series Branding is essential
  • Loss of prestige
  • Difficulty getting reviews
  • Limited booksigning and speaker opportunities
  • Tougher standards to join professional writers organizations
  • Bookstores and Libraries may not stock your work
  • Pressure to Produce

Coming Next – Manuscript Preparation 

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What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of independent publishing?

Writing Goals Reviewed

Writing Goals Reviewed

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to review the goals you’d set for this year. How many did you accomplish? Which ones will wait until next year? What unexpected accomplishments did you have?

finish line

Here are the creative and business goals for my writing career that I set last January. I hold myself accountable to you. Let’s see where we stand before setting resolutions for 2018.

CREATIVE GOALS

Finish and Launch Hair Brained (DONE)
Write Trimmed to Death (FIRST DRAFT DONE)
Publish Audiobook editions for Murder by Manicure and Body Wave (ONE DONE)
Publish Author’s Edition of Highlights to Heaven (DONE)
Reissue trade paperback editions of Died Blonde and Dead Roots (NOT DONE)
Expand Writing the Cozy Mystery for a second edition (ONGOING)

BUSINESS GOALS

Implement Launch Campaign for Facials Can Be Fatal (DONE)
Keep up with newsletter, blogs and social media (DONE)
Set autoresponder for newsletter signups (DONE)

LEARNING GOALS

Learn how to put books on sale across various vendors (NOT DONE)
Learn how to use BookFunnel (DONE)
Learn how to publish a book with IngramSpark (DONE)

EXTRA ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Put together a free Book Sampler for newsletter subscribers (DONE)


How did you do with your goals?

 

It Takes A Village: Self-Publishing Tips

“It takes a village” to be an author today, says Deborah Richardson from Dremservices.com at a recent meeting of Florida Romance Writers. “You can’t do it all yourself.” She suggested that you first create your mission statement so you know who you are and where you’re going. Figure out what jobs you can do and what you should hire out. Set realistic deadlines. And never plan on being your own editor because you’ll fill in your own mental holes.

Debbie Richardson

Steps to Take on the Road to Success

Author
First you have to write the book.

Editors
This may include people such as a developmental editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.

Cover Designer
Often you cannot see the quotes on the front of a Kindle book cover, so maybe put your author endorsements elsewhere. If you use a stock photo, try to change it somehow to make the cover more unique.

Beta Readers
Find two to four beta readers for your book. Know them. Trust them. Be very careful who you choose since “piracy is getting to be a really big deal. It is our job to educate,” meaning we should make the public aware of this issue and why it’s not all right to download free, unauthorized copies of our books. Write take-down letters to the sponsored sites. These pirates can alter your work without permission.

Formatter
Decide if your time is worth it to do your own formatting or to hire this job out.

Pre-Publication Marketing
This includes soliciting advance reviews, attracting pre-orders, scheduling a Facebook launch party or a blog tour. Don’t give away a free copy of your new title as a prize during these events. Give away a gift card or a backlist title instead so people won’t wait to see if they won your new book. Marketing can be “all-consuming.” It’s a lot of work for an author, so hiring someone to coordinate your efforts might help.

Social Media
Decide what you can do and what to hire out plus what level of help you want. “Be as professional as you can be” in your online connections.

How do you Pick your Village?
Through word-of-mouth, research online, and networking. Speak to potential candidates that you feel you can work with. “Collect business cards wherever you go.”

Building a relationship with bloggers is one of the best things you can do. “Bloggers should be your best friends.” You can check their analytics to see how much traffic there is on their sites. Find out what works for each individual book and target your efforts accordingly. Even book bloggers specialize in certain genres.

How to Take your Village into the Future
Have your career mapped out. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the last book launch. Set new deadlines and goals. Your village should work with you toward a common goal.

Find Deborah Richardson Online:

Website: http://www.Dremservices.com
Twitter: @DREMServices
Facebook: dremservices

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By the way, if you missed my radio show this past week, you can catch it here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2014/10/10/florida-cozy-mystery-author-nancy-j-cohen-on-authors-on-the-air

 

Promotion Checklist

Have you sold a book and now you’re panicking about what to do? Does the thought of book promotion strike terror into your writer’s heart? Here are some guidelines to get you started on the road to self-promotion. Always remember to be courteous, to avoid clogging the loops/tweets with your constant pronouncements, and to comment on other people’s posts in return. Don’t feel obligated to do everything mentioned here. Pick and choose what works best for you.

IMMEDIATELY UPON SIGNING CONTRACT:

Send press release to local newspapers and trade magazines. Copy any feature articles that result to editor and agent.
Send notices to alumni newsletters and professional organizations.
Solicit advance reviews/quotes from other authors.
Get professional photo taken or update photo.
Reserve your domain name or the domain name of your new series.
Announce the news on your website, blog, listserves, and social networks.
Send an email newsletter announcing the sale to all your mailing lists.
Post excerpts to raise interest.

4-6 MONTHS PRIOR TO PUB DATE:

Send galleys/ARCs/pdf copies to reviewers after making personal contact.
Reserve ad space in online or print sites.
Offer to write articles in trade magazines for issues matching pub date.
As soon as you get your book cover art, order business cards, printed promo materials, and swag.
Design video trailer.
Solicit booksignings and speaking engagements at writers groups, community clubs, conferences, and libraries.
Add cover and blurb to your online sites.
Design contests for the next few months leading up to Release Day.
Solicit blog tour hosts and determine topics.
Look for niche marketing opportunities.

2 MONTHS AHEAD:

Send press release with signing dates to local newspapers.
Load video trailer and add links to all your sites.
Update mailing lists. Send email newsletter to booksellers and librarians.
Write all the blogs for your virtual tour and match topics with hosts. Post your schedule online.
Determine upcoming contest prizes and giveaways.
Decide what to do for a book launch party.
Send promo materials to conferences for goody bags or promo tables.

1 MONTH AHEAD:

As soon as the book appears for pre-order online, add the buy link to all your sites.
Add the book to Goodreads and post giveaway.
Create a “Meet the Author” poster for book events.
Set Google alert for title.
Verify dates with booksellers/conference organizers for events and check that books will be in on time.
Send email newsletter to readers, including signing dates.
Send copies of book reviews, feature articles, and promo schedule to editor/publicist. Remember to promote yourself to your publisher.

RELEASE DAY!

Have a party, run contests and giveaways, offer a Q&A session, and celebrate!

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Time, budget, and energy are considerations when planning your promotional campaign. Choose what’s reasonable for you to accomplish, and remember that family takes priority, writing comes next, and all else is a bonus. The above suggestions aren’t written in stone. Some items you may be able to do sooner and some may come later. You’ll eventually work out your own rhythm. Do as much or as little as is comfortable at your level, and good luck!