“So, you’re a writer. And what exactly do you write? Ah, interesting, so you write a little like…?”
OMG, has your heart just sunk? How many times have you gone into a meeting, all pumped up and ready to sell your soul? And then it comes, that sneaky little searching question, the answer to which tells the publisher or producer – whoever – whether you have that original voice that makes them want to work with you.
Standing out from the writing crowd is hard. Standing out and making a living from it is even harder. So the lure of self publishing after a round of rejections is pretty enticing. No more being judged by anyone! Just get your work out there. It sounds idyllic … and so easy to do.
Well, actually, it is; but as with all projects, the work involved is harder than the initial enthusiasm. So before you rush into self publishing, these are some of the things you need to ask yourself.
The BIG NUMBER ONE question:
The key emphasis to SELF PUBLISHING is not “publishing”, but the word “self”. Do you really want to do all the work on your own, by yourself?
I was always afraid that self publishing was vanity publishing. So, I was very sniffy about this internet sensation called Kindle which allowed anyone of any ability to offer the buying public their work without first getting a publisher’s approval. It was a chat with a highly respected publisher that changed my mind.
He didn’t tell me how to do it. He told me why to do it.
He loved my book, but said, “this will take 18 months for me to get onto the shelf in the traditional way and this book needs publishing now, today. The message is so timely. Publish it as an ebook for speed, but this is what you must ask yourself first”:
No 2 – Is this a medium in which you want to see your work? Text is easy, but illustrations need a lot more input, so you may have some real hard graft to do, mostly on your own.
No 3 – Do you actually need to rush? Books have a very long shelf life. Would you be better taking your time and letting a publisher take the strain out of publishing for you?
If you still want to self publish, then:
No 4 – Check out who your customers are likely to be. Write for them as much as yourself.
No 5 – Check out all options and decide which company will suit your needs best. There are many ways to self publish available.
No 6 – Are you going to self publish in hardback as well? If you are, check if the company you choose will do the ebook at the same time as the hard back and follow their suggestions.
No 7 – The cover is uber-important. This is where you should spend money. If you can’t do it yourself, get a good design agency to help you.
No 8 – When the book’s ready to go, set up the “search” on your selling site correctly. This will lead customers to your book.
No 9 – Choose the Royalty option which will suit your long term needs best. It’s not necessarily the one that appears to give you the biggest return. Make sure you have a secure account for Royalties to be paid into and remember that, if you are selling in more than one currency, currency exchange attracts a fee.
No 10 – Sort out Customs requirements. If you are using a printing house outside your country of residence you will need to know about local taxes.
No 11 – Do your accounts and always remember tax will need to be paid, so don’t go mad and spend what you get all in one go.
And the BIG NUMBER TWELVE question … (after the infographic)
Have you made your promotion plans?
No 12 – Promotion is the key to good sales. From on-line sales to in-store book signings, you will need to promote your book. Use social media, local newspapers and radio for example, but be prepared to give of your time freely, because that is the only way to keep sales going.
Ebooks, like all books, don’t sell themselves as if by magic. SELF PUBLISHING means SELF PROMOTION too.
Best of luck!
BIO: Jan Caston is the author of Living with Cancer – The Year When Even The Dog Got Cancer, available from all good book shops and worldwide Amazon sites. Jan is a screenwriter with a television series and a major RomCom currently in pre-production. Check out her website or follow her on Twitter.