Self-publishing is getting your book out into the light all by yourself! As simple as it sounds, the publishing process is really challenging and that’s obviously why most people seek traditional publishers. This article is not meant to tell which is better or what you are supposed to do when you decide you want to publish your book yet it will give you a clear view that you can navigate upon and decide by yourself what to go for.
How does self-publishing work?
You have a manuscript and you’re probably stuck at the editing phase. You’ll need to go through the whole adventure all by yourself. So, here’s how you can move.
Hire a proofreader/ Editor
Let’s clarify a point here, a proofreader is not an editor. Decide what you need to do. Are you seeking somebody that can entirely change the sentences and flow of your piece of work or you’re just looking for the tweaks in punctuality and reassure that the commas are in place?
When you decide on hiring an editor, you give them the access to change sentences and rewrite whole paragraphs and here is where the dilemma begins! Whether you’re a fiction or a nonfiction author, it’s highly recommended to set a clear vision of your book and make sure that the editor you collaborated with has a crystal clear understanding of what your book is about. Regular conference calls or e-mails and consistent follow-up will help you avoid changing the flow of sentences you believe it suits your book. You don’t want your editor to cut the important stuff in your book.
Proofreading is the process of revising the whole text and making sure it has no spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors. A lot of authors are grammar nazis so if you’re not a skilled grammar writer, it will be much better if you hire a proofreader. You both agree upon a way of clarifying the errors through a PDF file with attached comments or a shared Google Document. Effective communication is the key here.
When hiring an editor or a proofreader make sure you’re hiring a professional that can spot the tiniest errors because you don’t want to end up with an unprofessional book.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” well, I apologize for whoever said this but people do judge books when they have a professionally made cover. You don’t want to end up having your book available and people feeling hesitant to buy the book because of an unappealing cover.
Notice how this Poll we tweeted says a lot about how the effect of a cover can be a game changer for authors when it comes to purchasing books.
That’s not the end! you can still design your own cover through Canva but make sure to have a smooth cover that says something about your book. There are no rules here, just design something catchy.
An ISBN is an identifier of your piece of work. There are hundreds and hundreds of names out there. What makes you so sure that your book’s name is not duplicated? ISBN is a fundamental identifier among book distribution systems. So, if you plan to get your book on shelves or online stores and make it sell, you’d better buy an ISBN code. Thebookdesigner.com published an amazing article that answers common questions that self-publishers ask when it comes to ISBN codes:
ISBN for Self-Publishers: Answers to 20 of your Questions. Also, a good source for buying your code is ISBN.org.
As a self-published author, you’ll need to manage your promotions. You can hire somebody or take the lead but you’ll need to have the general knowledge to spread your book. Be willing to invest some good time in learning marketing and by that, I don’t mean being at the level of a marketing executive in a multinational company, but just have the elemental knowledge that will help you grow as an author and promote your book.
You might want to check Booktips’ guide for personal branding on Twitter; it will educate you about the basics of Twitter and how you can make the most out of it as an author.
Will this take me anywhere?
You feel a bit hesitant about the idea of self-publishing, this might be a relief to know that Andy Weir’s science fiction The Martian was firstly published on his blog and later on, in 2011, he self-published the novel as an e-book.
Also, Hugh Howey’s novel Wool was self-published on Amazon and in 2012 Wool Omnibus became a bestselling e-book in The New York Times fiction list, it stayed on the list for 14 days straight.
And the list goes on. Here you have the links to famous self-publishers that made it and punched the myth of self-publishing in the face. You see, you can still make tremendous success as a self-publisher!
What am I supposed to do??
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook”. William James
Self-publishing is challenging, but traditional publishing happens to be the same. In self-publishing you’ll get to do more stuff by yourself, it will be time-consuming, you’ll need to manage your budget and if you lack some skills and knowledge you’ll need to go for hiring a professional freelancer. Getting to distribute your book wherever you want, adds to the advantages. You get all the profit but you won’t be sure about the frequency of sales at the end of the day.
On the contrary, traditional publishing is not that accessible but once you hit a major publisher, a tiny investment in your book will be translated into few sales and promotions but that does not happen every day though. Just know your strengths and capitalize on them and decide whether you can self-publish or not and surely you’ll have a wonderful journey.