Here are some do's and dont's of self-publishing to get you started!
In self-publishing, there are no rules. Well, kind of…The golden rule is to treat the readers how you would want to be treated, and the rest is in your hands. That’s the whole point! No boss or schedule to answer to, no literary agent who holds your fate in their hands, and no need to ask for anyone’s permission.
That being said, having so much control and having to make so many decisions can get a bit overwhelming, which is why this article walks through some of the major do’s and don’ts of self-publishing to keep you on the right track.
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Here are some do's of self-publishing to help you get started:
You can’t sell a book without a completed manuscript, and you can’t create a manuscript until you have an idea. Finding a profitable niche might only take a few hours of doing customer and competitor research, but it also might take a few days. This is time well spent when you consider how many rushed books have gone on to earn bad reviews and self-sabotage their royalties.
Do take your time!
Editing is about a lot more than typos, grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes (even though those are important, too)! A great editor also looks to make sure the layout of your chapters and the order of your content makes sense. Consider hiring a professional editor or asking for feedback from beta readers to get fresh eyes on your work before you hit the publish button.
Do remember that multiple rounds of revisions are totally normal to produce a high-quality book that people actually want to read.
A well-designed book cover can make a significant difference in attracting potential readers (or pushing them away). Consider hiring a professional designer to create a cover that stands out and represents your book's genre.
Do pay attention to the colors and graphics as much as the font choice. A clashing font can change the whole look and feel of your book!
When you self-publish, the world is your oyster, and you get to decide where to host your books. There are a ton of platforms and other self-publishing companies you can use or work with. Amazon's print-on-demand service is a popular choice among self-publishers because it’s free to use and lets you connect with readers from all over the world.
Do your research and find a platform that fits your publishing goals. Consider things like inventory management, printing fees, and royalties.
Marketing your book is how you get it in front of potential readers. A solid marketing strategy typically includes advertising, promoting, and building a social media presence. Consider hiring a professional marketer or taking a course to learn how to market your book effectively.
Do plan your marketing strategy instead of just trying to “wing it.”
When it comes to self-publishing, chances are you’ll make some mistakes (our co-founders did, too–read an exclusive interview here). It might sound cliche, but every mistake you make is a learning experience for the future.
Here are some of the more common don'ts to keep in mind:
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is rushing the self-publishing process, and this goes for any step, from writing to editing, not learning how to properly format your Amazon book, and even marketing. Your readers will notice!
Don’t try to prioritize speed over quality.
While self-publishing means you have more control over your work, it doesn't mean you should do everything yourself. Even if the budget is tight, there are freelancers and independent contractors who are willing to work with you to gain more experience, which makes it a win-win.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Neglecting marketing and promotion can result in poor book sales and low visibility. Make sure you have a plan in place for promoting your self-published book, whether it's through advertising, social media, or other means.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that your book will sell itself. Yes, it happens, but you can’t beat a well-thought-out marketing strategy that knows the ideal reader inside and out.
There are some legal aspects to self-publishing that you need to be aware of. Make sure you have an ISBN and that your work is properly copyrighted. Also, be sure to stick to Amazon’s publishing guidelines to keep your KDP account in good standing.
Don’t forget to protect your work!
You want the straight shot to success, and we get it! Our co-founders went through years of trial and error, so you don’t have to. They’ve compiled everything they know about Amazon’s guidelines and self-publishing into this free webinar and this beginner-friendly course that’s already generated over $50 million for its students.
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