5 Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

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.

Want to publish your book or get in touch with further questions?

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Want to talk about publishing your book? Claim your free video call with Kim today!

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Want to know more? Watch the Lockdown Lessons video here with Fiona Wright and Kim Macleod.

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Can Emotional Connections Heal the World?

Can Emotional Connections Heal the World?

When Seb Mjacmbrao and I first talked about creating a network as a way to engage people with the concepts and ideas in his book (We Alive), we wondered if emotional connections can heal the world? But then we had no idea of what was about to hit us.  Coronavirus – COVID19 is now a global pandemic affecting everyone across the planet.  So many have lost their lives, health services have struggled to cope and the world has gone into lockdown to try to slow down the rate of infection.

As we are socially distancing from each other, shut inside our homes – our connection with the outside world is cut to interaction through a screen. This has caused many to struggle (me included) with the lack of physical contact with people. It has inspired creativity as people find new ways to stay in touch with family and friends using video chat, playing games and sharing videos of their activities.

At the same time the planet is resting and recuperating.  Pollution is down, the earth is breathing, animals and plants are thriving.

Maybe this book is being launched at the perfect time.  Maybe Seb’s words will connect with you in a way they couldn’t before?

We are getting a small glimpse into Seb’s world – he has been bed bound with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years.  Isolated in his care home.  It has been this isolation and alone space that allowed his mind to review his life experiences and question whether his inner healing could be connected with the outer world.

I have had the privilege to get to know a little more about this wonderful, intelligent and caring man as we worked together to publish his book.  Our connection and trust has built up over many phone calls and email exchanges.  It wasn’t an easy ride – Seb came with his book fixed in his view.  I struggled to grasp what it was about, who it was meant for and how we could help him to publish it.  But as I leaned into my discomfort, challenged my “publisher head”, asked more questions, engaged in more heart-based conversations I got to connect more with Seb’s words, hopes, dreams and vision.  And so here we are today with the book on its way out to the world.  Just as its message is really needed.

Maybe we were waiting to connect. Maybe we are part of the message. Maybe we are just the beginning. Maybe emotional connections can heal the world. The future is yet to unfold and you have a part to play.

You can join in as we engage in conversation.  Open your mind to possibility.  Open your hearts to connection.  I hope you will read Seb’s book and join the We Alive network as it is about more than his book.  It is a calling to explore, heal, learn and share.  It’s about love for ourselves, our fellow travellers on this earth and the universe beyond.  I for one am looking forward to the journey.

 

Over the coming weeks I will be interviewing some of my favourite authors, thought leaders and inspirational people – Faith Canter, Judith Te Huia, Fotoula Adrimi, Andrea Gardner and many more.  We are going to have conversations on the issues and concepts from Seb’s book – healing ourselves and healing the planet,  love for ourselves and others,  our challenges with inner and outer struggles, kindness and the importance of our connection to our true self, our community and universal consciousness.  The interviews will be shared exclusively with the We Alive network so together we can learn, develop and connect at a deeper level.

Maybe together we can make a difference and help to create to a kinder more connected world.

 

Please join us for free here

You can buy Seb’s book here

With love and kindness

Kim

xx


How Blog Tours can be Your Secret Weapon as an Indie Author

How Blog Tours can be Your Secret Weapon as an Indie Author

Jack Janson and The Storm Caller book cover 3D

I am Andrew Marsh, and have self-published my novel Jack Janson and the Storm Caller with the help of Indie Authors World. As an indie author, I do the marketing and selling and I would like to share the secret weapon that has helped me out, a blog tour. I have just finished a blog tour and have received amazing reviews from the bloggers.

Here’s a quick explanation if you don’t know what a blog tour is, bear with me: An organiser arranges for bloggers to review your book and write a review about them on their blog. In my case, over 14 days, I had 14 different reviews of my book.

After seeing Heather Fitt @LifeBookish mentioned several times on social media where other people were looking for blog tours, I decided to contact her.

After a quick call, I agreed to have Heather arrange my blog tour. She found suitable bloggers and created social media banners for me to promote the blog tour.

Each morning, I would wake up to a new blog post. It can be quite nerve-wracking, yet exciting at the same time to see what a complete stranger thinks of my book. I re-shared the review on my blog, LinkedIn page, and Twitter to keep the exposure and interest up.

I noticed an increase in traffic to my LinkedIn Page which has led to an increase in connections and helped me build my audience. Some of the bloggers have also put their reviews on Amazon.com which has increased my overall ratings and comments

As indie authors, we have to be wise about how we spend our time and money. I can safely say that a blog tour has been worthwhile and consider the investment of £150 to be money well spent. I strongly recommend it to any indie author. This is why I am sharing this and now you know how blog tours can be your secret weapon too.

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Jack Janson and The Storm Caller background image


Have you ever been to the Indie Author's Cafe?

Have you ever been to the Indie Author's Cafe?

If yes, we commend you, however, if you haven’t, not to worry, here’s a quick catch up. It’s a monthly event held at Waterstones Cafe, where we talk about all things books and publishing. However, once you get to know us, you’ll find we love a good blether and discuss a wide range of topics that help you get your book published and on sale.

 

At our latest event, on stage, we heard from the latest indie author to self-publish, Helen Monaghan, who talked about her refreshing new book, ‘The Magical Mix of Money & Tax’. It was really interesting to hear Helen explain how our beliefs about money are created and how this has an impact on our actions. We then explored ways to feel good about paying tax and had lots of questions from the audience. If you would like to watch the video to hear more from Helen you can do so here or learn more about her book here.

Cover of The Magical Mix of Money and Tax

We asked for feedback during the event and discovered that our audience is interested in training sessions particularly, marketing and sales or social media. So, we will be starting training sessions this year. Make sure you sign up to our mailing list for details. Thank you to everyone for all the feedback we received and looking forward to seeing you at the next Indie Author’s Cafe on the 23rd of February 2020.

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The Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing

Guest Blog - Jeff Brown. The Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing

I had spent years developing some scruffy notes into a coherent manuscript. After multiple re-edits, it had been crafted into a bunch of papers that lay in a dark corner of my wardrobe. Several years later it returned blinking into the daylight. After a good dusting down and further edits, it turned into a finished manuscript. I say finished, but I could have continued writing it endlessly and had spent months telling Kim and Sinclair, at Indie Authors World, that “I’ll pass it to you after one more look”. By the time I let it go I was under threat of Sinclair sitting on me while Kim prised that finished manuscript from my hand. It was a good feeling to release it and my book ‘An Ordinary Man’s Travels in an Extraordinary World’ was born. Now I’m back with a guest blog ‘The Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing’. Enjoy!

Unbeknown to me, writing the book was only the start of the adventure because I still had the Seven Unexpected Wonders of Self-Publishing to experience. These wonders may not be in the Pyramids or Hanging Gardens of Babylon category, but they were wonders to my excited eyes. The seven, in some sort of vague order, are:

Book arrival

I had read what a wonderful moment it is when the first copy of your book arrives through your letterbox, but mine wasn’t how I expected. Cue a misty fog and strange music as I take you back in time to August 2019 when I received a call at work from my 10-year-old-son. “Dad, I think your book has arrived”. I confirmed that he could open it and heard a “Wow! It’s amazing”. When I arrived home late that night my wife ushered me to my son’s room where he laid fast asleep, with my book still clutched in his hand. It was great seeing the book, but it was overshadowed by how proud my son seemed of me. Now I just needed Sinclair to sit on him while Kim prised the book from his hand.

Old friends

After the book was published, I sent out a message on social media. I was shocked by the positive response of friends, including many I had not been in contact with for years. Life gets busy and writing a book was a brilliant way to re-connect with friends – well, assuming re-connect means having a beer with friends you haven’t seen for years.

Signing

When I was first asked to sign a copy of my book it was an odd feeling. You just think – but it is just me; I know I wrote it, but are you sure you want my scribble on your nice new book? My son put it into context with a “they want your signature dad, not your autograph” and he is right; no one has been queuing for me to sign a blank piece of paper. Anyway, I’m finally enjoying signing my book and now it feels that I have signed so many copies that it is the unsigned ones that are far more valuable.

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The interwoven ivory plates and gold panels cut an imposing figure over  ………………………………………………………… oh, hold on, myself and Diodorus Siculus seem to have accidentally got our notes mixed up. That time travelling fog must have been a bit too powerful. Oh yes, here we go: Safe Storage – my book consists of seven of my journeys in different locations around the world. They were a precious record of my trips and it was always a concern that my computer would be corrupted, and my writing lost. Therefore, I kept numerous old copies of my manuscript stored away (yes, in that dark wardrobe). After my book was published, I realised that there were book versions in many different households and I finally felt safe to put the old print outs into the recycling. Oh, you would have preferred to hear about the Statue of Zeus instead. Hold on, I’ve got a good one next.

Awards

From not having been a writer at the start of the year it has been an amazing and unexpected pleasure to be officially voted the fourth-best author in the world. This was revealed when Class 4 at Cumbria Primary School, who I believe have similar standing to the Pulitzer Committee, nominated their 10 ‘best ever’ authors and then voted for their favoured candidate. By coincidence, my friend Stu has his son in class 4 and good young Henry led a “my dad is in Jeff’s book” campaign.

I wonder whether class 4 has influence with Liz in the knighthood nominations.

Google

After creating a website I wondered how it ranked on google. As the fourth-best author in the world,  you would think my website would rank highly if you googled ‘jeff brown author’. However, the search showed no sign of me on pages 1, 2, 3 ……… finally, I showed up on page 6! Unfortunately, there are at least three other Jeff Brown authors. Should I assassinate them to improve my rating? Apparently, the top-ranking Jeff Brown died in 2003 so assassination wouldn’t be effective; in fact, it may just create more entries above mine. Over the next three months, my listing moved up to page 2. I’m still in search of the elusive page 1 ranking, but it has been fun watching my gradual rise. Disappointingly, if you google ‘jeff brown ordinary’ I am not only on the first page but the first 12 listings!

Charity

80% of my royalties are going to the Meningitis Research Foundation. This works out as about £2.50 per online sale and £6 per direct sale. I need to sell quite a few books to reach my target of raising £2,000.  It means I will probably make a good loss on writing my book, but gifting part of my royalties has attracted coverage in the local paper, radio interviews, allowed me to contribute to meningitis awareness and provided me with a warm glow of doing something good.

Please Note: No Jeff Browns were harmed during the writing of this blog.

Thank you, Jeff Brown, for writing this guest blog! It’s always great to hear what you have to say. We highly recommend that you check out the photos here on his website or learn more about his book here.

View Jeff Brown in the press here.

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Surprising Secrets of Self-Publishing Success

Guest Blog

Terry H. Watson explains her Surprising self-publishing secrets

Surprise, Surprise! No, it’s not Cilla Black, remember her? It’s Terry here, to share my surprising self-publishing secrets.

My life as a writer and author of eight published books since 2014 has been a surprise, well perhaps more of a shock to me. I could never have envisaged such prolific writing or vivid imagination that has stunned, and at times frightened me for its ferocity and savagery of plot. At least the violence took place on paper and not in real life! My first book, CALL MAMA was meant to be a one-off attempt at writing. It was so well received by family, friends, and strangers who encouraged me to continue writing and in some cases demanded that I ‘do something’ about the character, Lucy. And so, SCAMPER’S FIND was born and closely followed by THE LECI LEGACY. I was on a roll.

Through my writing I have met many writers who have become friends; their writing has steered me away from my comfort zone of reading crime thrillers and to my surprise ( here we go again, Cilla) I have actually enjoyed a mixed bag of genre: science fiction, historical fiction, spiritual fantasy, self-help, autobiography, young adult fantasy, biography, sport, and even business books. The list is endless. I firmly believe we authors should support each other by purchasing and reviewing books. To that extent, my bookshelf is bulging with books from authors I have had the good fortune to meet. Attending a monthly meeting at Indie Authors Café has opened up a bond of friendship from the writing community and I always come away inspired and keen to write.

One of the challenges facing me as a writer was the fearful technology, the mystery of which still fills me with dread. Sent me a file. Use jpg format. Link it to your URL, brings me out in a cold sweat. Even taking a few courses in basic technology has little effect. I guess I’m one of those people who are destined to remain techno-phobic and learn as I go along, from past mistakes.

I have found that in the writing community there is always someone out there who will advise and guide on several aspects of writing, every writer has something to offer fellow writers. I’m often asked how I overcome writer’s block. The answer for me is to walk away from the story, take a stroll, go out for lunch or do a bit of gardening, the latter is where I find my mojo. One of the downsides of writing for me is when I try to sleep, the plot takes over and I seem to get more ideas at the wrong time. Now I keep a notebook by my bedside to jot down my nocturnal thoughts from my overactive brain.

When I became serious about writing and understood some of the mysteries of the publication process: beta reading, proofreading, editing, cover, blurb etc,   the next surprise (here we go again Cilla) was to discover that books didn’t sell by themselves. Marketing reared its ugly head. How on earth was I to sell books? With CALL MAMA it seemed easy enough; the novelty among friends and family who suddenly discovered an author in their midst was enough to shift a good number of books. I was fortunate to be featured in the local press which gave me a fan base. How thrilling it is to be asked, When is your next book coming out? Where can I buy your books?

I was advised early on in my writing career to donate books to libraries, this I have done with a vengeance. My books or at least one of them are in libraries, locally and in far-flung places including New Zealand. When I go on holiday I seek out the local library and ask if they would accept a donated book. Most are delighted to do so, and it has led on some occasions to book clubs using them for their sessions. My first paid workshop was library based. Libraries for me have opened doors. It may seem like giving away hard-earned work but for me, it works. I registered my books with PLR (public lending rights) in both UK and Ireland. PLR is a legal right to payment from the government in both countries each time books are borrowed. The current rate for payment is the princely sum of 8.52 pence which won’t make me an overnight millionaire but does provide a trickle of income. I attend local gala days and events where I can for a small fee, set up a book stall, sell some books and make new friends and fans. Taking part in Book Week Scotland can be a source of income and opens doors for writers.

Some fellow writers tell of setting a timetable where they work for perhaps several hours at a time, others like myself write when the notion takes them. I have no set time when I write. My corner of the dining room has become my office, a haven to think and plot and put pen to paper, or mouse to computer. My first book was written in longhand and typed onto a word document. Now I type straight onto a document and seldom make notes. The only thing I try to do is to keep a record of the character’s names and which book they feature in so that I avoid duplicating names. I learned early on to avoid similar sounding names when I myself was confused over who was who: Dave, Donny, Dale or Liz and Lisa and Lily. Now I tend to use names from further on in the alphabet and when stuck for a name, the credits after a TV programme can provide a wealth of names to choose from.

A final thought. Concentrate on the plot, the characters and leave prose to be sorted out later, rather than let it interrupt the flow.

Learn More about Terry H. Watson or some of her surprising self-publishing secret’s or follow her here:

Terry H. Watson Website

@TerryHWatson1 Twitter

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Write my book - Life doesn't wait for our dreams!

Write my book - Life doesn't wait for our dreams!

How many times have you said this will be the year that I write my book?

Have you done it yet?  If not, it’s likely that normal life took over.

How many hours have you spent at work, doing house stuff, watching TV or in the pub?

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day so if you haven’t had the time to write your book then it’s really because you haven’t made it a priority.

I get it, life happens, and we often think that I’ll get around to it.  I’ll do it next week, next month, next year.  But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow so it really is today that counts.

I don’t want to be morbid, but life is short.  Sadly, I have been reminded of this again as my mum passed away recently.  She was 74 years young and full of life and laughter until cancer struck for a second time.  Her illness was short lived and the hole that she has left is hard to fill.  Mum’s death is a bit of a wakeup call, it’s got me thinking – how many things have I put off? How many dreams are languishing in the to do list?

I met an amazing writer this week – Luke Winter told me how he had changed his life after his friend passed away. Luke writes stories for strangers on a typewriter in the street.  He creates smiles as well as stories for people. https://www.storiesforstrangers.com

But he was telling me that he had let his own novel writing slip.  He acknowledged he needed a date to work towards, so I asked about his friend – was there a date that was important? He smiled and said his birthday was approaching.  He’s now committing to finishing his novel as a tribute to his friend.  We shared a hug and understanding of the impact that loss can have.

So, what about you?  Are you going to let another year go by?

2020 is fast approaching so choose a date that is meaningful for you.  When would you want to have your book in your hand?

If you need help to commit to your book, please get in touch.

kim@indieauthorsworld.com

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