Updated: Mar 3
After years of writing, writer’s block, life changes and then back to writing again, when I FINALLY finished my book BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by K.F. Johnson, I was full speed ahead. It was a combination of excitement about its completion and being anxious to get my book out there that caused me to initially rush my book to publishing before it was ripe enough.
Lesson learned and rectified NOW, and thank goodness it didn’t hurt my book sales, but it did hurt my ego. If you are planning to self publish, like I did, please do the following things FIRST to make the writing process smoother and the publishing process less trying:
Research the format for your genre (do that before you even start writing if possible to save yourself time)
Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit! When you finish a chapter, read back through it and proofread for errors.
Get someone else whose interpretation and editing skills you trust if you can’t afford a seasoned editor (a professional editor is ideally what you need though)
Check to see how common your books title is and make minor or major adjustments if necessary to make it stand out. (Something I didn’t do before publishing and I found out there are a gazillion books named BEHIND CLOSED DOORS)
Create a cover for your book using Powerpoint (like I did) or websites like www.myecover.com, www.authr.com, or www.artistscope.com for example. Just remember to make sure you own the content being used or have authorization to do so.
Research where/how you want your book published. Decide if you want to publish an ebook, paperback, audio book, a variation of the 3 or all 3 types. There are many websites to get your book self published as quickly as the same day to start selling like, kdp.amazon.com, www.createspace.com, www.lulu.com, and www.friesenpress.com. I went through amazon but it’s all a matter of preference and what % of the royalties you’re willing to give up (and if they include marketing).
Read the fine print! Where/how you publish your book will determine your ability to sell it elsewhere (on your personal website, other websites, stores, etc.) so you better know the terms of your agreements and how long they last.
Keep in mind that ebooks can be re-edited and published reasonably fast in most cases if you discover material needs correcting. Remember, the quality of your work will leave an impression on your readers.
Advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog spots (like wordpress) or anywhere else you can let people know you have a book out. You’d be surprised who’s an avid reader or who will support you because they know you or someone who recommend your book.
Know how to describe your book in 3 sentences in an interesting way so that if you’re asked “What’s the book about?” You don’t have to take up someone’s lunch break pitching.
Don’t choose your readers, let your readers choose you! One problem I faced in the beginning was worrying about whether/how co-workers would judge my work. I also fretted about people I didn’t see as being the “type” to like my genre reading it. Allow anyone who’s interested in reading and supporting to do it. Worst case scenario, they don’t like it. Best case scenario, they discovered a new author they like.
Think up ways to market yourself so that you can hit the ground running like: Business cards, talking to book clubs, checking author sites, or see if anyone you know writes blogs and can maybe write a book review for you for example. Entertain offered help because you never know when you might strike gold!
Lastly, be CONFIDENT in your material because if you’re not, why would anyone else want to waste time with it? Good luck!