Top 10 Tips to Self Publishing
Updated: Jun 23
1. Invest in an editor
Spending time and money finding the perfect editor is an absolute must when releasing any book, be that fiction or nonfiction. The right editor is vital and can be the difference between your book becoming a bestseller or a total flop. No book is ever perfect, but remember, readers will not finish a poorly edited and published book. When hiring an editor, something else to consider is to know and understand the different edits available to you and which you will require for your release. Take a look at our blog post on different choices when it comes to editing your manuscript here.
Developmental editors - This is an in-depth edit of your novel line by line, including an examination of all elements of your writing. This form of editing will also identify plot holes or gaps within the story.
Copy editors - This is an edit of the manuscript looking for grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, tenses, etc. It is generally categorized as your final rounds of edits.
2. Book Distribution
There are many different avenues you can go to when it comes to distributing your final masterpiece. Finding the right one for you is crucial.
Kindle direct publishing (KDP) - This is owned by Amazon. It's where an author can upload an e-book, paperback or hardback to be sold directly from the Amazon website. KDP allows authors to buy discounted copies of their books. Amazon is classified as a "store", a seller of books.
Ingram sparks - This is essentially a printer. It allows authors to upload their paperbacks and hardbacks to Ingram and physical stores such as Barnes and Noble or Waterstones can buy them to resell. In this route, authors have to seriously discount their books which is why, for indie authors, this isn't always a financially viable option. Many authors, however, upload their books to Ingram and purchase them themselves in order to resell. Ingram is classified as a distributor of books.
Draft 2 Digital (D2D) - However, Draft 2 Digital is an aggregator, it's a company that deals with others on behalf of the author. The author will upload their books and Draft 2 Digital will pass on their information to retailers on behalf of the author. Draft 2 Digital will manage the author's sales and take 10% of the Royalties for each sale. This is the perfect option for authors to keep their sales all in their own dashboard instead of dealing with multiple retailers.
Please note that readers can only purchase from amazon directly and they can't purchase through the other two platforms.
3. Book Marketing
You can't expect to just publish your book and it automatically reaches the hands of readers without some form of marketing. So let's explore some of the possible options that will assist you in your plight.
Social media advertising - this form of marketing can be very time-consuming but also successful with the correct keyword research. Many authors use this form of advertising with very little return, much of the time it is trial and error to find what combination of images and text grabs the attention of readers.
Review services - A number of authors send out what is known as ARC copies (Advanced reader copies). This is where an author will distribute copies of their books for reviews these may be posted on their blogs (if they have them), Goodreads, and Amazon. Many authors also use platforms like NetGalley in order to distribute ARCs to reviewers. This is generally a safer platform than sending copies via email that can then be distributed for free on illegal platforms.
Tour companies - There are a number of tour companies out there that run things such as; release day blitz, cover reveal blitz, blog tours, and promotional tours. These are companies that will generally gain sign-ups for a particular event including reviews and will create and send out material for your release to the blogs that have chosen to host your book. It is imperative that you do your research on companies and recommendations from fellow authors that have had success with certain companies. Ensuring that these tour companies work within your genre is also important to maximize your potential reach.
Signing events - These are usually physical events that are hosted around the world. This enables you to have a table with your books on show, readers attend these events so it allows you to interact with potential readers.
Social media takeovers - Many authors and bloggers now have readers' Facebook groups, and other social media accounts whereby they host monthly or weekly takeovers, this can be via live videos or posts in the groups, where you can do; live Q&As, giveaways, promote your different novels, play games and generally networking to build up trust with new readers.
4. Make Friends (Networking)
The last point leads nicely on to our next top tip!
So you've spent weeks if not months writing that novel, mainly in solitary, but getting that book out there for the world to see requires networking, be that with fellow authors, bloggers, or readers, it's essential for your brand that you showcase the best of you! The book community has some incredible perks and is so supportive of one another. Many authors and bloggers will share your novel with their following free of charge, so building up that community is essential to your future success! The use of social media allows you to create a community of readers who will support and help spread the word with each new release! Some other options to expand your reach is to speak with small bookstores and libraries to help maximize your potential reach!
5. Purchasing an ISBN
Purchasing your own ISBN gives you the ultimate control over the sale of your books! It allows you to sell on multiple platforms, whereas Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon will provide you with a free ISBN although, you will only be able to use that ISBN through the sales on the Amazon website should you wish to distribute to other platforms you will need to purchase your ISBN.
The internal formatting in your book is just as important as the front cover. You will require different formatting on your e-book to your paperback.
You can employ a formatter, if you truly don't know where to start with making the internals of your paperback all pretty!
You can invest in formatting software that is easy and straightforward to use such as Vellum and Atticus. Although the initial outlay is expensive if you plan on releasing a number of books this really will eventually pay for itself by cutting out the middleman.
Finally, there are a number of self-help books, the one I highly recommend and have used in the past is Publish Your Book On Amazon by Helen Stothard. There are a number of self-help guides and YouTube videos that really break down the formatting process.
7. Be Realistic
Since self-publishing first began the market has become saturated so it is fundamental that you set realistic goals. It isn't practical to think that by releasing the first book you will reach the New York Times Bestseller list! Start small and with each milestone you reach stretch that goal! Goal Setting is essential; it helps us to push ourselves further and envision just how far we come each time. I always like to look back on those first covers I designed and truly admire just how much I have grown!
8. Be mindful of overly expensive services
There are many companies out there that will "promise" you the earth. Some will vow to publish (and I say that lightly) your work and charge a substantial amount of money but at the same time will not help you reach your ultimate potential as they do not market your work in the correct ways. Remember to do your due diligence and utilize recommended services from trusted sources; industry publications, self-publishing associations, and your fellow authors. We have compiled a list of recommendations from ourselves and those which our authors also use, you can find that here.
9. Consider Participating in anthologies
Don't want to go it alone just yet? Want a way to expand your reach? Anthologies are a great way of expanding our potential reach, they are a set of short stories created by a number of authors. This allows the reader to get an insight into a number of different authors in just one book. An author we work with does a number of these collections in the romance genre and you can sign up in the following places:
10. Book Cover Design
Everyone says "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover" but let's face it we all do. We need to remember that the cover is the first thing your reader sees, be that on the shelf in a book store or next to other books on Amazon. Investing in a professionally designed cover is the difference between success and a non-starter. A good book cover designer will guide you through the process, understand market trends and work hand in hand to achieve a design that will give your book cover the flying start it deserves!
Book cover design doesn't always have to cost the earth, there is a broad range of designers to fit every budget and many now also deal in the pre-made market so may have something already designed to fit your story!
Here at Wingfield Designs, we work in premade designs.
And in custom designs too, you can find our portfolio here.
We also deal with exclusive images for those with a much higher budget that don't wish to rely on stock images that can be seen on other book covers, a few of our designs are here.