“Authors now have more ways to find readers than ever before … successful self-publishing is now no longer the exception that proves the rule, it is becoming the exception that threatens the rule.” Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (2017), pp. 586-87.
The stigma around self-publishing is waning, and with the likes of Amazon, and social media to promote your books, there has never been a better time to get your story out there. The plus point about self-publishing is that you are in control of how your novel is published. You get to make the decisions and are in the driving seat of everything surrounding your novel. Having said that, it is not an easy road to take. Because you are in control, you are in charge of everything: editing, marketing, sales, promoting. In a publishing house, these jobs are undertaken by several people/ departments. Self-publishing is hard work and takes a lot of time and dedication. Time that could be spent writing. However, with technology around book covers improving, and high-quality printing available, access to your readers readily available, self-publishing is more accessible than ever before. I have put together some articles and podcasts around the subject of self-publishing that I hope will help you in making your mind up.
Self-publishing can be a hugely rewarding experience but to do it well involves a lot of hard work. Words Ireland gives a brief overview to help point you in the right direction: is self-publishing right for you? Preparing to self-publish, self-publishing your eBook, selling your book, royalty payments, taxes, and artists’ exemptions.
This article explains that to self-publish well is to become an entrepreneur. ‘This is a start-up business and your book is your first product. Consider how much time and money would you anticipate having to sacrifice in order to get a restaurant up and running, for example. Add a few more hours in there, because the self-publisher has to write a book as well. You will also have to learn new skills, embrace social media and find the confidence to promote your book. Although you may get to decide on your cover and title, you will have no control over the most important factor of all: whether or not people will buy your book.’
Mashable chats to three authors, all full-time authors, all very successful, about their self-publishing journeys and how they make it work for them.
Ingram Spark discusses 8 steps to self-publishing including the different types of book editing, book design, book metadata, publishing, distribution, and marketing. She identifies 6 common areas in which you may spend money to successfully publish a book including editing, design, publishing, printing and shipping, and marketing. She emphasises the importance of being realistic when considering self-publishing and doing your research.
This article details the step-by-step basics of self-publishing a novel. From the first draft to formatting for publication, guidelines on how and where to publish, and who to turn to for help, this is well worth a read. It also lists helpful websites in its resource section.
There are three articles here by AJ Wells on the business of self-publishing. Indies authors give feedback about self-publishing as a way to claim power over your novel as opposed to being a last resort. Authors offer tips and advice on how to find and engage with their audience, and in the third article, what self-published authors should do about the business of self-publishing.
Reedsy shares 7 simple steps to self-publish your book. Having a launch plan, marketing your book effectively, and tips to master the kindle store and other retailers. This article also provides the reader with resources that can help you determine your costs and find alternate ways to cover them. It explains how royalties differ from traditionally published books.
Jane Friedman breaks down the three general categories of self-publishing: assisted, hybrid, and DIY/Indie, before expanding on how to self-publish on your own. Jane recommends the DIY approach as you are in complete and total control of all artistic and business decisions; you keep all profits and rights. She explains how eBook self-publishing services work and how to maximise your sales. The pros and cons of whether to invest in a print run and print-on-demand recommendations are also discussed.
The Alliance of Independent Authors’ Self-Publishing Advice podcast covers every aspect, from beginners to advanced. In this fast-changing industry, the latest news and trends are discussed.
Mark Dawson is a best-selling self-published author on multiple platforms including Amazon and Kobo. Mark has become a leading voice in the self-publishing industry and he advocates and teaches a strategy based around offering books for free, mailing list development, and social media advertising.
Each week the SPA Girls bring listeners a new episode covering all things self-publishing, writing craft, marketing advice, advertising strategies, and expert guest interviews.
Kristen breaks down the three P’s of successful self-publishing: production, presentation, and promotion.
If you are going to dip your toes into self-publishing then prepare yourself with as much knowledge and resources to help you as you can. Take on board all the advice before jumping in the deep end. It may not be the easiest road but it can certainly be a very fulfilling one to take. I hope that this week’s column has been helpful. As always, if they are any topics you would like me to cover then please get in touch.
(c) Lucy O’Callaghan