Self-publishing isn’t difficult if you know what needs to be done. Follow these items as if it’s a checklist and you’ll be sure to remember to do everything needed to be done to self-publish your book, information product, or novel.
Research Your Topic(s)— Whether you are going to write one book, or a series of information products, you will need to research each topic to ensure that you know the subject well, know that it relates to your target audience, and know what you can tell your audience. Whether an information product that solves a problem, or a romantic novel that speaks to your audience, it doesn’t matter, do your research. If your novel is based in Seattle Washington, it’s important to know about Seattle.
Create an Outline — Good writers start with a well thought out outline. If you’re not sure how to write one seek out information and books about outline writing. You’ll save yourself a whole host of problems with a well written outline. In fact once you have the outline writing your book will feel like writing series of articles put together in a specific order per the outline. You’ll be able to write small portions of your book at a time, making the entire process less daunting.
Write Your Book –– That’s right, you gotta write or have something written. You can hire a ghostwriter in almost any genre, believe it or not. If you have an outline of what you’d like to write about, a ghost writer can work with you as much or as little as you want to produce your manuscript.
Edit Your Book — One of the biggest complaints about self-published books is how lousy the editing is. You should edit your book several times focusing on something different each time such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, word flow, logical order, etc…focus on one thing at a time. Send your manuscript to different editors to focus on one thing at a time. If you can afford to hire a special editor that is versed in your genre then do so. You want people to be happy they bought your book. Providing perfectly edited text that flows well will do that.
Design Book Cover — This is one area where if design is not your forte you need to bite the bullet and hire a professional graphic designer with experience in book cover design. Your book really is sold based on the cover, make it the best cover you can afford. Don’t skimp here. This will make or break you.
Layout Your Book – You’ll need various layouts for different types of publishing such as Kindle, Nook, Apple, and print. Know in advance which you’ll need so that you don’t make it harder on yourself. For instance, Kindle works best if you don’t have a lot of pictures, charts, and graphics, and uses bare bones formatting and fonts and no page numbers. A print book will require more precise formatting, fonts, and sizes as well as page numbers. If you want to, you can hire someone to do this for you. Sometimes hiring an expert helps a lot in terms of time and how it looks.
Ask for Forwards — If there is an author you admire that works within the genre you’ve written, or someone who can reach the audience whom you desire to reach send them a nice letter, with a copy of the book and ask them if they would be so kind as to write the forward. If your book is good, they’ll be flattered. Some might say no, but you won’t know until you ask.
Ask for Blurbs — Choose a few authors whom write within your genre and just out and out ask them for a blurb. Be sure to give them an easy way to say no, but include a copy of the book, and sit back and see what happens. Some will say no, but someone will say yes.
Ask for Reviews — Send review copies to people who service your target audience. Send a letter first asking them if they would like to do a review. Tell them about your book, the intended audience, and ask permission to provide them with a review copy.
Write Jacket Copy — Using your blurbs, reviews, and other information write your jacket copy or hire someone to do it for you. There are professionals who write copy if that’s not your forte, it may pay off. Remember, no one is going to read your book no matter how good your writing is, if they don’t get past the jacket.
Buy your ISBN — Many self-publishing services offer free ISBNs. This is a good option if you only plan to produce one book in one format. But, if you have more than one book in you, which you probably do, purchasing a set of 10 ISBN numbers is more efficient. You and everyone else in the USA gets their numbers from Bowker. If you’re in Canada you can read about ISBNs here.
Choose a Printer — If you plan to have hard copies of your book, choose a printer. There are many to choose from, such as createspace.com, lulu.com, lighteningsource.com and more. Learn all you can about each option, read the contract carefully, and seek outside advice before you choose. But choose.
Create Marketing Collateral — This can consist of your press kit, jacket copy, book trailer, and more. Any materials that you’re going to need for marketing should be created as you’ve finished enough of the book to prepare it. Keep all this material handy so that you can use it at a moment’s notice.
Market, Market, Market — This process should actually start before you’ve written even one word of your book. Create an informational website, or blog about the topic you plan to write about and collect email addresses. Create social media accounts with the business in mind. If you plan to publish many books within the niche, you won’t need to create a separate account for each book. These accounts will grow before you publish, this will make it easier to create more sales.