5 Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

Everyone has a book in them. Make your writing dreams come true with these 5 top tips for self-publishing success.

1. Write the Book!

Follow your passion – what do you want to share? Your story, your knowledge, your imagination – whatever it is get started. Are you a plotter or a pantser? – know yourself if you like certainty then plan out your structure – how you will share your story. If you want to just start writing and see what evolves then do it. Create the Big Vision from your heart – what makes it sing then project it to your screen in full technicolour think of this like your movie trailer. Then add the detail – do you like a scene by scene layout to follow or big highlights to work with. Whatever level of planning works for you but don’t get stuck here! Get into writing – set up a time that works best for you – morning/evening. Switch off the TV. Create your writing space. Get into your creative space – clear your head of the blocks first (morning pages, a walk, todo list etc) Write the book you would love to read!

2. Get it Finished

The first draft is just that – it’s you telling the story to yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Try word count for the day/week/month. Or chapters to be written.  Work towards your end goal date and celebrate the achievements along the way. Have an accountability partner/writing group to keep you on track. Appreciate that your writing will need adjustment as you read and review it (the first edit is you reading your story) and then as other trusted people get to connect with your words and read it. Develop your objectivity and be prepared for constructive criticism. Be flexible to help your readers understand your story but hold true to your vision. Remember the movie trailer – connect with your heart and replay this in your mind. You are the director of your story – some cuts and rewrites may be necessary but you are the one who makes the decisions.

3. The Edit

If you are going to publish then a professional edit is a must. There are different levels of editing developmental/structural edit, copy/line edit, and proofreading.  Developmental will help to reshape your story/plot/characters to connect with an audience – it’s the big picture vision edit. Copy and line are to ensure consistency of language, storyline, plot, time, characters, names etc – this is the continuity edit and will also pick up on repetitive words, overuse of adverbs, or clumsy phrasing. Lastly, proofread checks spelling, grammar, and consistency.  It is very difficult to edit your own work – you will read what you meant to write.

4. Cover Design

Always judge a book by its cover!  Publishing means designing a cover that will engage with your audience.  A crime fiction cover looks very different from a romance novel or self- help book.  Your book cover is the first step in marketing your book.  Check out the covers of best- selling books in your genre, designs change but there are often common themes that are in fashion.  Your book title can make a difference as to whether it can sell – play around with some options.  Short titles are easier to remember and fit on a cover. Strap lines can entice a reader and give more hints to the content. The typeface used is just as important as the image – all together they give the reader clues about the book.  The cover doesn’t need to be a full description of what’s inside.  Remember the movie trailer – now you need the movie poster. Never use an image that you find online – commercial licences are required or you can find yourself paying a hefty fine!  Write a killer blurb to entice your reader – it’s a skill so practice describing your book in 150 – 200 words.

5. Bringing your Book to the Market

Self-publishing opens the market to everyone.  You can publish your book as an ebook on Kindle, Apple Books, and more but for most writers, the dream is to hold your paperback in your hand.  Print on demand makes this possible and affordable.  You’ve probably not thought about the book design cues that help you to read your book easily but making sure your book looks good will encourage readers.  Design touches, like running headers, chapter headings, drop caps, indented paras and balanced pages show you care for your reader.  Make sure speech, changes of voice, and italics are clear.  This is your masterpiece so the presentation and clarity are vital. Purchase ISBNs to keep control and ownership of your book, decide on the price, and open up your accounts with your chosen print/distribution company.  We recommend Ingram Spark – upload your files, add the metadata to help your book be found on in the bookstores and you are ready to launch.  Plan a party, decide on your marketing strategy, and give it a go.  Hold your book in your hand – celebrate your achievement.  Well done – you are now a published author.

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