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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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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Be brave. Be bold. Be a writer

At a recent Indie Authors meeting we were discussing with a group of first time authors about publishing our books and building our audience. What surprised me was how many of them had not told their friends and family that they had even written a book.

We had several writers who were close to publishing their books and now wondering how they would find the courage to tell their nearest and dearest about their great achievement. These writers didn’t seem to worry quite so much about the general public reviewing their books, but they were scared of what reaction they would get from people who knew them.

The discussion then changed to one about vulnerability. Our writers felt vulnerable as they were opening up a side of themselves that they had kept hidden. Fear of what their friends would think about their writing had created emotional turmoil and a lot of procrastination.  Maybe you have been there too?

Our mindset creates our reality and the stories we tell ourselves can either help or hinder. This group of writers were telling themselves all sorts of scary stories – “my friends will think I’m different”; “they won’t like me when they read this”; “what if they think it’s terrible”; “they don’t know about this side of me - they’ll think I’m weird!”

Their vulnerability was so close to the surface I could see it. We can all feel vulnerable – it’s when we open up our hearts, minds and voices to others with no guarantee that it will go well. We take chances every day - to ask for help; to ask someone out on a date; to say I love you; to apply for a job; to create a business or to write a book!

Creative people share their vulnerability with the world, whether you write, paint, design, build or make music you are sharing what is inside of you. It’s your baby that you are sharing and you hope that people won’t say it’s ugly! But what if it’s beautiful? What if the world loves your book?

Fear can keep us stuck in a small place. Fear of success can be as strong as the fear of failure. Is your fear of being vulnerable stopping you from letting go of your book? Are you afraid of it not being perfect so keep changing and editing it?

In times of fear we could all do with someone to hold our hand and tell us it will be ok. To encourage us to be brave and take a leap of faith. To remind us that the other side of fear is joy. This is a role that I play with our authors as they progress along the path to publication; but maybe this group would also find that their friends would do that too.

Sharing the thoughts and feelings with the group loosened their power. The writers realised that they were not alone. They also explored that they could write another version of their mind story – “what if they love it”; “what if they have secretly wanted to write too and never had the courage to start”; “what if they are so proud of me”; “what if they want to help share my book”; “what if …”

If you are feeling fear about publishing your book, embrace your vulnerability and be brave – you could experience your own magic and help others too.


Indie Authors are the Rebel Alliance

Last month, I (Kim) attended the Publishing Scotland annual book trade conference.  It was a very interesting event – I experienced a full range of emotions from blood boiling rage to cheering optimistically on the sidelines.

Keynote speaker Andrew Franklin, MD of Profile Books described self-publishing authors as a weakness as he explored a SWOT analysis of the publishing industry. In his words “all self publishing is dross as they don’t do what we (real publishers) do! They don’t edit, design good covers, layout book interiors properly or market their books.  In fact – they all would love to be published by you guys (real publishers).”  Yes you guessed this is the point my blood was boiling!

Professional Indie writers know full well what is required to publish a book.  SO yes Andrew – we do all of the above and more.  Not only that but we do it with limited budgets but we often produce a much better result than some of the “real guys”.

Publishing Scotland, Chief Exec’s opening remarks were “publishing needs to explore new ways of doing business”.  So why are Indie’s seen as a weakness?  Are we really still viewed as a joke and somehow belittling the world of books?

Industry figures suggest that the average adult in the UK only buys 2 books a year and we have a high rate of illiteracy (17%) among our population. If this is true then the work of top professional Indie Author Stuart Reid should be applauded.  Stuart takes his fun loving workshops to schools as he encourages kids to read books.  His Reading Rocks events have captured the imagination of kids,teachers and parents. His entrepreneurial approach allows him to earn a living while playing his part in improving literacy rates.

 

Mr Franklin, is one of the industry dinosaurs who has no understanding of the quality of the work being produced by professional Indie Authors.  Not only that – he is delusional to think that all authors want a publishing deal.
The author is the heart of our business – was a repeated theme at the conference.  Yet there was only one author speaking as part of a panel at the conference.  That author was Scottish crime writer, Lin Anderson, who spoke in defence of self publishing.  She is a hybrid author – who has both traditional and self-published works.  She raised a very valid point about author earnings.  The average earnings of a writer in the UK is £11,000 a year.  This is well below the living wage!  Lin gets paid every month from her self-published work – money straight into her bank account.  She needs to eat too and even ALDI don’t work on I’ll pay you when my publisher decides that royalties will be paid.

So Mr Franklin – please explain why would I want a publishing deal?

A highlight of the conference was the presentation by Steve Bohme of Nielsen.  I would never have guessed that “The Key Retail Market Trends 2014/15” would have me laughing and cheering.  (No, I never had any alcohol before this.)  You will have to wait until next month to get some of the figures from the content of the presentation but Steve pulled off a fab floor show.  Bookwars VI – A New Hope was the title and he used the Star Wars theme really well to explain the current state of the industry.

Good news for all Indie Authors out there – we were seen as the good guys!  We are the Rebel Alliance who are challenging and defeating the Imperial forces (the traditional book world).  In fact self-published books sales have increased to 22% of the UK eBook market and are helping to generate growth in book sales worldwide.

So we maybe aren’t such a weakness in the system after all!