How to Publish Your Book Independently: The 21st century is marked by remarkable technological advances, and this makes it an ideal century for authors to deviate from traditional authoring and go indie. With every kind of technology readily available at your fingertips, you can publish your books within 24 hours. Also, self-publishing comes with a lot of added benefits, i.e..,
- Books published independently can navigate across geographical borders.
- The need of middlemen withers away.
- The authors have a control over what their final work can look like.
- Writing becomes a business which will fan your entrepreneurship skills to reach dizzying heights.
All of these benefits that come with self-publishing, however, do not imply that it is a cakewalk. To be an indie author is an arduous journey; therefore, one must be hardworking, diligent, and patient in order to succeed.
How to Publish Your Book Independently with Simple Steps
Writing a Book
A seemingly obvious step in the order of things is hunkering down to “write a book.” It is definitely true that one cannot expect one’s work to cater to everyone’s liking or taste, but you should write a book that is truly authentic. Being authentic is a difficult task because it means that a lot of people will disagree with the ideas that flow through the pages of your book. Yet, being true to yourselves, your ideas, and your genre is the only way you can accumulate true fans.
Sean Platt in his book Write. Publish. Repeat. summarises the art of winning over an audience and writing a good book in the following points:
“Know your stuff, or learn it.
Respect your audience and give them what they want, need, and expect.
Decide what you stand for and don’t waver.
The better you know the people you’re writing for and the existing market you’re writing in, the better what you deliver will fill a need … and hence sell books.”
Consistency, planning, and the right amount of ‘alone time’ are all conducive factors for writing a book.
Editing a Book
Being a self-publishing author, a lot of tasks fall into your own hands, tasks which a traditional author associated with big publishing houses might not have to undertake. One such task is the editing of a book. Editing can mean an author’s rewrites of his/her first draft, or the final proofreading before the book is launched. Editing is an essential step in making your work look professional.
Self-editing must be done to one’s level best before handing over one’s work to professional editors.
For the next step, you may have to hire a developmental editor who will, as the title implies, help you develop ‘the flow and content of your story or nonfiction book.” A line editor can also assist you by reviewing and revising your writing style and language. A copyeditor can be involved to review the manuscript and correct technical errors like grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Finally, a proofreader will read your final manuscript and indulge in ‘lighter mistake-catching edit’.
Voila! A well edited book, devoid of typos or any other petty errors will be the end result.
Do Not Judge a Book by Its Cover- But They do!
Designing a book is an essential step when you’re self-publishing your book because one thing traditional publishing seldom gets wrong is appearance. A book cover plays a vital role in establishing a positive first impression and attracting customers, which is important for ensuring the sale of your books. Make sure the back cover of the book consists of book reviews, the book description, the author’s bio, and a barcode. The spine should feature the title of the book, the author’s name, and the publisher’s logo.
Title, Formatting, Product Descriptions, and Pricing
The book cover plays a prominent role in luring in potential audiences, but the search for a perfect cover does not end with the image used or the color combinations applied. The title of the book, splashed on the cover, is also essential. You want the title to perk your reader’s ears (or eyes)—the title of your books should intrigue your readers, give them a glimpse of what the content of your book could be like, and convince them to buy your book.
The interior designing of your book is as important as the exterior. How you present your section headings, table of contents, page numbers are crucial in defining your book and all that it stands for.
Before buying a book, the reader always flips the book over to read the product description at the back of the book. Your product description mostly comprises teaser/description copy about your book’s plot (fiction) or benefit and contents (nonfiction) and is a window to see what lies within. An excellent, enticing product description can work wonders when it comes to sales figures.
When it comes to pricing, you must always remember two things that matter: what it’s worth to the customers and what it’s worth to you. Overpricing and underpricing can equally hamper sales, therefore, you must take a lot of things into consideration before pricing your book.
How Are You Going to Sell Your Books- The ‘eBooks Or Print’ Dilemma
Today, books are available in various formats; therefore, formatting your manuscript is one more step towards self-publishing.
Print On Demand
As the name suggests, POD is an order fulfillment method where items are printed as per demand. The two largest POD services in the world are Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark.
There are a wide variety of options when it comes to selling your books as eBooks. You have a myriad of options to choose from and help your book reach out to a wider audience. If you are self-publishing your book, Amazon, with its program KDP Select, should be your first stop. If you grant Amazon 90 days of exclusivity and agree not to publish more than 10 percent of an enrolled work anywhere else (including your own website) during that time, they’ll give you two primary benefits. For one, you’ll be able to choose any five days during your Select period in which
You can make your book free. This will get new eyes on your books, and reader acquisition is important. Select’s second benefit is that Amazon Prime members can borrow your book, and you’ll get paid for those borrows. Kobo, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital are other platforms to release your books.
“An audiobook” (or “talking book”) is a recording of a book or other work being read out loud. A reading of the complete text is described as “unabridged,” while readings of shorter versions are “abridgements.’ The popularity of audiobooks has soared dramatically in the past few years. Audiobooks are typically released after print or eBooks; books are rarely launched in audiobook format. They make for an excellent way to boost your backlist, especially if you’re now launching a new book.
The Afterwards- What Happens After You’ve Self-Published Your Book?
- Marketing is a necessary step that must be undertaken after you have published your book. Marketing is about offering things a certain section of people wants, then finding the best ways to let those people know those things are available, priced at a fair exchange for them. It’s not inherently complicated, brilliant, sleazy, deceptive, win-lose, tricky, difficult, or anything else. It is neither good nor bad. It is presenting offers to those people most likely to respond. You can build a platform to interact with your audience and reach out to them. Loving your audience is an essential part of marketing, only when you love your audience will they love you back. Reciprocation.
- Having a brand to represent what you stand for helps your books to create a lasting impression on people is needed if you’re an author, self-publishing or traditional. A writer’s brand I basically what he writes about. For example, Dan Brown’s (author of The Da Vinci Code) brand is largely plot-driven, artistically enriched, religious-themed thrillers. However, a writer’s brand is beyond what he writes- it also comprises of ‘heir public image, their perceived approachability and friendliness (or lack thereof), and other things.’
- Lastly, what matters after your books has been published is reviews. Reviews acts like a sort social acceptance, a proof of whether your book is legitimate and lovable (if your book has 200-300+ positive reviews) or whether your book falls flat (minimal or negative reviews). The overall review average matters, of course, but it doesn’t matter as much as you might think once the sheer number of reviews gets high enough.
The one guaranteed way to receive good, impactful reviews is to write an extraordinarily brilliant book that deserves rave reviews. Regardless of the quality of your book, a share of negative reviews also falls on your plate. What should you do then? When bombarded with negative reviews, you, as an author, must understand that “you are not your art.” You must learn to ignore them, for reviews show that your work is actually relevant—something worth talking about even if everything said about it isn’t particularly rosy. Also, do not resort to buying or faking reviews, and definitely abstain from arguing with your reviewers. Remember when we talked about your brand being how you present yourself as well?
Change Is the Only Constant
The indie landscape is ever changing, and just when you thought you knew it all, you may find that all you ever knew about self-publishing has become obsolete, outdated, or pushed to the peripheries of oblivion. Therefore, to be a master in the art of self-publishing, constantly re-evaluate your plans and strategies in tune with the changing times, so that you are as relevant an indie author in 2030 as you are today. Happy Publishing!
Additional Sources: https://academic.oup.com/pages/authoring/books/preparing-your-manuscript