You now have an idea what is involved in self-publishing so let’s finish up. We’ve covered the importance of making your book cover appealing as well as making certain your final draft is free of errors, and that you have a attractive cover. Oh, and also, if you pay to have any part of your publication done for you, you fall into the category of self-publishing. Some self-publishing companies deliberately confuse people. They say that you’ve been accepted for publication and then ask for money, which, to be honest, is unethical. Just remember, if your book is selected by a traditional publisher, you won’t pay a dime for these things. If you missed the first installment of this blog, click on Self-Publishing Your Book, Part I, to read the entire entry.
- Before pushing the magic “publish” button, online publishers want books formatted to their specifications. This includes removing extra spaces, using the “Return” key as little as possible (using page breaks instead of the return key twenty times, for example), making headings and titles true headings and titles and not just increasing the font size and centering “Normal” text, and taking away footnotes including page numbers you may have added. This is not hard, and there are many publications, online and elsewhere, that show how to format. It isn’t hard, but it does require a keen eye and patience. Once again, this is something many authors relegate to another person. Before hiring a new person, ask your editor about formatting. This is something some may be able to do. Tip: do not format your book until all of the editing is complete. In the process of correcting errors, your formatting will inevitably get messed up, and you don’t want to have to do it, or worse, pay someone to do it, more than worse.
- Yay! You push the magic “publish” button. Your troubles are over…..or are they just beginning? Books do not sell themselves. Your book will not magically become #1 on Amazon overnight! You self-published your book; now it is up to you to market it! Yep, the work is far from over. Suggestions include:
- Create a Facebook fan page and join Twitter and other social media. Use them to publicize your book and get your name out. Join Facebook writer’s and author’s groups and use those platforms to advertise your book. Don’t expect people to flock to your book overnight, however. It just doesn’t happen. You have to work these pages to see even marginal success. The notion of “it is there, they will come” just won’t happen.
- A website is another thing you can create or have created. Make sure that all of of your internet “pieces”: social media, websites and anything else, are linked together where you can find other pieces by going to one. This will increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and increase your chances of being found on Google, Bing and other search engines.
- A blog. With a blog, attempt to be consistent with when you are posting so your fans know, and make certain blogs are advertised on your social media and website. SEO again. What to write about? Book teasers, odds and ends, background info of characters and places of your book, and anything else that comes to mind. You can also occasionally showcase fellow writers, on occasion, on your blog and elsewhere. What comes around usually goes around, and if you help them out they will often do the same. Regardless, a blog is something you really don’t want to leave out as you search for readers. A lot of traditional publishers scout for such blogs, particularly for ones that get a strong following, for possible publication.
- Contact local book stores. This can be done through Facebook, email, phone calls or in person. Ask them if they will feature your book in their stores. If you published your book using CreateSpace, you can print copies of your books to physically put in these locations. Also, ask to do book signings and promotions. Many local stores enjoy displaying work from local writers. I live in the Boise, Idaho area, and one bookstore, Hastings, loves new, local authors and will feature books as well as allow author’s to do book signings. Search similar bookstores in your area.
- Search for online promotional websites that will allow you to advertise. You will find some of them through Facebook groups. Take advantage of them and promote your book anywhere you can.
- Join local author’s and writer’s groups. By joining them, you will have a support group filled with ideas on how to best get your book out to the local community.
One author you can look up for further ideas on self-publishing and promoting your book is Michael Sullivan at riyria.blogspot.com. He is the author of two best-selling fantasy series and was so phenomenially sucessful with self-pubishing that he was offered traditional publishing contracts. Check him out, and stay-tuned for instructions for publishing with a traditional publisher, next, right here. Thank you for reading!