The number of self-published books each year keeps rising. In 2016, 786,935 self-published books came out, and that’s in the US alone.
With the help of social media and Amazon, self-publishing is more accessible and possible than ever before.
Read on for 8 tips for self-published books you must know before you publish.
1. Get Beta Readers
The first thing you should do before you start looking into how to self-publish a book is to get beta readers. These readers will be your first line of defense against spelling errors, inconsistencies, and parts that are confusing.
Best of all, beta readers are often free! You can find people willing to read your manuscript online in writer critique forums and other websites.
Avoid asking your friends to read your work. They will give you a biased opinion and probably will be scared of hurting your feelings. What you need is an unbiased person who can tell you exactly what your strengths are and what needs more work.
I know you’re probably groaning. You’ve spent hours and hours on this manuscript already. It’s been through several drafts and you just want to be done with it.
But the truth is if you want to have any shot of your book selling, you need to invest in multiple external edits.
Free beta readers are the first step in the path to self-publishing.
2. Pay for Editing or Proofreading
It is impossible to proofread your own work. For one thing, you don’t have fresh eyes to see errors because you’ve read and re-read those words already.
Secondly, you are emotionally invested in the writing and can’t be objective. The opposite might also be true, you may be overly critical and haphazardly remove your best sentences and ideas in a bout of inferiority.
Hopefully, you’ve had several beta readers point out awkward sentences or spelling errors and now need professional assistance.
There are various types of editing services so make sure to pinpoint exactly what you are after.
Proofreaders look just at the mechanics: grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Developmental editors check your book for flow and consistency.
Spend some time finding out what type of editor you need and then find a good one that is registered with a professional organization such as Editors Freelancers Association.
3. Consider Your Book Cover Design Carefully
Your jacket cover is a key marketing tool. With high-quality design and print quality, your book will stand up well compared to books published by major publishing houses.
If you are a graphic designer, great. Go ahead and design your own cover. If you aren’t, you probably want to hire someone to create the cover.
4. Purchase an ISBN
An ISBN carries important details about your book and you as the publisher in its digits.
This number is key to being able to sell your book. Having an ISBN that you own ensures that you have all the rights over your book. Buying this number is part of the cost of publishing a book.
5. Market Your Book
Self-publishing means that marketing efforts rest fully on your shoulders. Ensure your book’s metadata is excellent so people can find it through online searches.
Also, market your book to your target audience using social media, blog posts, book reviews and publicity and so on.
At the end of the day, book launch success rests upon how well you get your book in front of an audience. Spend time doing research to help you do this well.
6. Start a Mailing List
In a few years when you come out with another book (especially a sequel), how will you tell all the people who purchased your first book about it?
Being able to reach your customers is vital. A mailing list is the best way to be able to contact your readers in the future.
7. Learn From Mentors
There are many moms out there who have walked the self-publishing road before you. Turn to them for help.
Look for online courses, podcasts, and forums where you can learn best practices and practical advice on the steps to publishing a book.
8. Be Realistic
Everyone wants to be the next J.K. Rowling but it’s not very likely. Nowadays self-publishing is more accessible than ever. This means that hundreds of books are self-published on top of all the books that are published traditionally every year.
Set realistic author goals that are doable and actionable. You might not be a New York Times bestselling author, but you can have success and fulfillment in your published work.
It can be easy to forget why you started the path of self-publishing in the first place. Chances are you did it because you are passionate about your subject and love writing. If that’s true for you, don’t lose sight of that.
To become a better writer, you need to write. Get into the habit of writing every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Carving out those small moments for you to write will add up to thousands of words in a year. Set up a nook or home office where you feel inspired and energized.
Remember, the end goal of writing is not publishing. The end goal of writing is writing. So go ahead and spend time writing.
Bottom Line on Self-Published Books
Thanks for reading! We hope you found these 8 tips on self-published books helpful.
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