Self-publishing is not as easy as it looks, and new writers need to know the facts that will help them achieve greater success as a self-published author.
Self-publishing has opened new avenues for writers that were never available before. Getting a novel accepted by a traditional publisher was a major (near impossible) feat. The process included getting an agent, submitting to various publishing houses and finally getting a contract with a small advance. Now, getting published is only a click away. So many sites are offering great royalty rates, for example, some sites offer up to a 70% royalty on an e-book. Moreover, writers choose their publishing date, cover and price. It’s paradise for new writers.
Unfortunately, a majority of these new writers tend to make basic mistakes that result in getting zero or dismal sales once their books are self-published. If you are thinking of self-publishing, here are five self-publishing truths you should know.
A Self-Published Book Should be Edited to Perfection
Failure to edit a book is one of the most common mistakes made by new writers. A hundred people might buy your first book but if they are put off by the editing mistakes, they will never buy the second one. What’s worse…they will tell a hundred other people not to buy your books. Bad reviews can nip a writing career in the bud. You might want to believe that people who are paying two dollars for an e-book don’t care so much for editing, but readers are discerning. They care about each full stop, comma and grammatical error. Don’t disappoint your readers by putting a substandard product out there. It is imperative that new writers should hire an editor to polish their book before publishing.
Most Self-Published Writers Will Make the Mistake of Publishing Their First-Ever Manuscript
It takes years of hard work to become good enough to become publish. JA Konrath, one of the successful self-published authors admits that it took him twenty years and more than two million written words before he achieved the kind of success he enjoys today. Even if you think that your first manuscript is brilliant, don’t make the mistake of self-publishing. Instead, get an editor, get that book edited and submit to various agents, traditional publishers and online publishers such as Carina Press, Wings E-press, Uncial Press, etc. If you manuscript is good enough, it might get picked up. In the interim, write more. After your second, and then third manuscript is complete, go back to the first manuscript. By now, hopefully, you should have acquired enough experience to judge the merit of your first book with an objective eye.
Failure to Design a Good Cover and Write an Interesting Blurb Can Doom a Book
Book covers help attract the reader’s attention, as do good blurbs. Both need time to create. A writer working with a publishing house has the advantage of someone designing a book cover for him, and most often, the editor will also polish the blurb. Unless you are good with graphics, I would suggest you hire a person to design the book cover. And get an editor who will not only help you edit the book but also the blurb and the synopsis. Most writers also keep on changing the book cover and blurb after it is published. This is a good idea if your sales are poor. A colorful book cover can catch a reader’s eye faster than anything else you can play around with.
New Writers Fail to Realize that Sales Will Only Follow After Intense Marketing
Not having a website or basic knowledge of the marketing process they need to follow leads to poor sales. As a self-published writer, your initial sales will not come from the contacts and loyal readers of the publisher. Instead, you will have to do your own marketing from the start. Start a blog, join Goodreads as an author, make a website where you can sell your books or direct people to the point of sales, host contests or giveaways, do guest blogging, twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc. Thousands of options are available to new self-published writers and self-publishing community is usually extremely helpful towards fellow writers. So networking is a key factor, along with soliciting reviews. If people don’t know that you book exists, how will they buy it?
New Writers Fail to Commit to Writing as a Career
Writing is a career, and like all careers, it takes devotion and commitment to the cause to achieve a certain level of success. Overnight writing success is a myth. Even writers like Amanda Hocking wrote for years before she self-published and sold her books. J. K. Rowling began writing as a child. Don’t just write the first book, and spend years promoting that one book. Write ten more, and you will see the results.