If you’re a newbie self-publisher or just want to brush up on the stages or want some up to date linkage to help you along, read on.
Building up your author platform
Author platforms offer the opportunity to connect with and sell your book to prospective readers. These online channels can serve as the perfect platform to self-publish your book:
- Websites offer a place for potential readers to get to know about you and your books, and to contact you. Here are the best platform options for writers and authors.
- Social media can help with book promotion. With millions of users worldwide, promoting your book can be as fast and easy as Tweeting a freebie or sharing a great review. Although, to get much out of this now, paid promotions on those platforms with spread the word fairer and wider. Click for all the tips you need!
- Email Subscriber Lists –As a first-time author, getting people interested in your book can be tough. An email campaign can entice potential readers into reading your book, even before the publication process ends. First, tempt readers to join your list by offering something they need for their email and keep them on the list by continuing to do so. This could be teaser chapters, freebie fiction, etc. Derek Murphy explains how!
- Reviews – Once you have a platform, self-publishing and marketing your book will feel much more doable. However, promoting and selling your book can be a real time-suck, especially if your finances don’t stretch to hiring a publicist. If you need help getting reviews (and who doesn’t?) I can recommend Bookrazor and this Facebook group.
*Beware of being spammy: Me, me, me: ‘Buy my book NOW!!!!’ or self-aggrandising, ‘My book is the best book you’ll ever read!!!!’. No one reacts well to either.
NOTE: Before a professional editor touches your work, take advantage of as many beta readers as possible, then revise, revise, revise. This is a crucial step which will nurture your story and help to shape it into a readable and cohesive story. It will also save reduce those editing costs. These guys offer a range of affordable services.
- Hiring a professional editor is something EVERY author needs. No debate! While you will revise and edit multiple times yourself, the book will still need the keen eye of a professional. You will regret skipping this step when you get bad reviews and no sales!
- Also, something I learned the hard way – not all editors are equal. Do your research.
- Analyse your editor’s advice and learn from it, even if you disagree with some of their ideas or remarks. The more you learn, the crisper and cleaner your writing technique and editing skills will become, meaning the cost of your editing will reduce. Happy days!
- After the editor works their magic, you will make changes according to their suggestions, so your book will need a proofreader to buffer out any typos, correct formatting, and tend to any other annoying issues otherwise missed. Each step is different and as important as the other.
- Cover designs matter but even the big publishers get it wrong. Remember you’re your cover should hint at genre and mood and theme—think ‘doorway into your story world’ or ‘the reflection in your protagonist’s eyes’. Let it represent your book. Bad covers should be avoided at all costs!
- It should be professional and compete with the bestsellers in your niche.
- Choose a cover designer whose work has impressed you to get your cover to stand out and entice readers. If they are too pricey, there are many apps like Canva which, with a little imagination and flare, allow you can make your own covers. And there are freelancer sites like Fiverr which offer much cheaper though still decent cover designers.
- A well-written book description attracts attention and sells books.
- Writing book descriptions demands a different skill set to writing prose. Book descriptions are sales copy, which is a marketing tool and not a creative piece. Many authors find this difficult to do. Some will hire a copywriter to write them, which is fine in the short time. But it may be better to learn how to write effective sales copy for yourself. You’re going to need the skill a lot if you’re self-publishing.
- At each stage, think about potential readers as you would an agent or publisher and pitch your book. Make each decision during the writing, revision, editing and marketing process with them in mind.
- Take your time. Follow the steps.
- Read the brilliant self-publishing, ‘How to…’ books out there and ask lots of questions of those who are doing a wonderful job, using social media.
- Read the best blogs and websites for up to date advice on all author related issues. Here’s a comprehensive list I’ve compiled. Here’s one of my recent finds and go-to guides.
- Look into the latest self-publishing tools (I’m excited to try a few of these). Get involved in writing groups like Insecure Writers Support Group.