Although the tips contained may appear as “common sense”, you will be surprised at how many are not implemented properly. Below is a quick overview of WHAT and WHY on self-publishing. Search #pubtips for all related posts to this series. (7/2013)
Write a Great Book.
This is a no-brainer, right? You have a story, you write it down and everyone will what to buy it. But a “great” book is more than a great story. Conception and Editing are key factors to creating a great book.
If your book is poorly edited or the writing isn’t strong or polished, then readers will reject it – no matter how great the plot is. However, if you write, polish and edit a great book, then satisfied readers will reward you with comments, reviews and word of mouth.
Readers put more value into their time than their pocketbook. If they feel you have wasted their time, then they will let you – and all other potential readers- hear about it. Online anonymity can create quite vicious results. You don’t want to be on the receiving end.
You know the old saying, that a satisfied customer will tell one person, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 10 people, and their dog.
A good way to test the waters is to seek out dispassionate feedback from like-minded readers, preferably strangers (no family or friends as they never give honest feedback – they won’t want to hurt any feelings.)
Finding honest feedback is difficult and critical.
Self-Publishing is a Business.
Profit is the essential key to building a successful business. If you are continually pouring more money in than is returned, you’ll fail-period. Of course, you may measure your success differently. Some it is monetary gain. Others it is notoriety. And still others enjoy the pure emotional high of completing a book.
In the end, however, money can measure success. An inflow of income affords the author the “freedom” to write as a business rather than a hobby.
Invest in your Success. The Book Cover
If you have a great book, then it deserves a great Book Cover. The cover is the first impression you make on a potential reader about your book. It not only tells the reader about the book, but tells them the quality OF the book. A poorly conceived book cover equates, in the readers mind, a poorly crafted book.
Your book cover should be:
- Genre or topic appropriate. Readers must be able to tell what genre you book is from a glance. Don’t use flowery text or sunsets if your novel is about vampires. Research other book covers in your genre and see what catches your eye – and WHY.
- Covers appeal to emotions and needs. A romance novel promises the reader romance and love. A mystery promises suspense and twists; a how-to book offers help and guidance.
- The image and title work together, but it is the image that catches the attention first.
- Visually appealing – Large or Small. The cover needs to look good both full size (print) and in a thumbnail (stamp) size. Unlike print, digital products are meant to be viewed as if standing across the room. eBook cover images are usually displayed small, and on a “shelf” with several other books. A Good book cover (may) have fewer words and large, simple imagery.
Procrastination is any business’ downfall. And pushing the deadline is deadly. Whatever time you think you will need to accomplish a task – double it. Except in very rare cases, costs and time always exceed our expectations.
Get up and Out.
Like it or not, you will need to go to events, listen to experts and speaker and travel. Success isn’t built from an office chair. (or the living room couch.) Moving out of your comfort zone helps you build contacts and new ideas that can ultimately lead to additional success.
Time management is one of the pitfalls of every author. Most have daily jobs, and write when they can. However, you need to stay focused and on task – this separates the serious author with the hobbyists.
Set clear goals.
What do you want in 3 months, 6 months, or a year? Don’t just think them – write them down. Put it on your wall, refrigerator, bathroom mirror. Live and breathe every moment to attaining these goals.
Engage with like-minded people.
I love working with authors. I have found them to be open and willing to share their strategies and tips far more often and graciously than any other business. So, if you don’t know – ask. There are NO dumb questions. After all, we all started at square one, too. (Connect – Watch – Network with others)
Most authors need help at some point, whether that be editing, marketing, designing a cover or ebook formatting. No matter your service needs be sure to hire a professional. Be diligent in your search.
Don’t just hire the first person that pops up in the search results. Check out references, their portfolio and if possible, talk with them via phone, email or Skype. You are the decision maker on whom you hire, so be selective.
And please note. There are no “pat” answers to creating a bestseller. No one can create miracles. Give professionals the respect for their skills and if things go wrong, don’t blame everyone from the book cover designer to the social media marketer to your computer keyboard. Take responsibility for your business (and success) and learn to take feedback.
Sensitivity needs to take a back seat. YOU are the sole decision maker for your book “business.” however, Professionals who make their living designing, marketing or other form of book publishing have years of experience. While not everyone will be right you still need to respect their advice.
Gather all the feedback and weight it accordingly. There is no law that states you HAVE to accept or even apply their advice, but you do need to respect it.
I have had people cuss at me on the phone for suggesting they get an editor, or they should reconsider the typeface for their book cover. It is not in my nature to just do a job without trying to help the author make it the best project possible for success. If I know a book cover will not attract a lot of sales, then I politely mention it. After all, suggestions are just suggestions.
If you want your book to succeed, then accept this free advice with welcoming arms. Surround yourself with people willing to tell you constructive truths you don’t want to hear – that will help your success far more than any ego-stroking.