Our top tips for self-publishing your own book
Years ago there was a certain snobbery about people who self-published their book. It was seen as a vanity project, an indulgence for someone who couldn’t get an agent or a publisher.
The inference was that the product was simply not very good and that the only way of getting those words into print was to do it yourself.
That myth has now been well and truly exploded and savvy authors are taking control of their own destiny – which for some of them have paid huge dividends. There are a number of advantages to publishing yourself, the most important of which is that you retain control. Of course, that also means that you have to do a huge amount of work if your ambition is to be a household name – remember you’ll need to be head of sales, marketing, distribution and all points in between.
But if you do have the drive and ambition then the world could be your literary oyster.
Here’s our top tips if you’re planning to self publish.
1. Be self critical
If you are writing a book to recall family history or something that is only relevant to a few people, then that’s a very different situation to wanting to sell to a wider audience.
Be honest with yourself about who your book appeals to. Think about who your readers might be and how you’re going to engage with them.
Once you’ve completed your manuscript, give yourself a breather before reading it again – fresh eyes can make a huge difference.
2. Get some feedback
Once you’ve completed your magnum opus it’s always good to get a couple of second opinions. You’re really too close to it to cast much of a critical eye so it might be worth getting a few different people to have a quick look.
This is more about someone being able to spot glaring holes in the plot, typos or simply ideas that don’t make sense.
A second pair of eyes are always helpful
3. Pick a typeface
When you’re ready to publish, think about the font you’re going to print your book in. Readability is important, particularly when you’re likely to rely on word of mouth to help boost your book sales.
What you don’t want is people giving up half way through because it’s simply too painful on their eyes.
Serif fonts are traditionally regarded as the best choice for the body text in a book because they are easier for the reader and they help pull the eye from one letter to the next.
4. Choose your cover
Choosing a cover is hugely important and needs to convey the contents within – it’s a way to entice the reader.
It needs to give a hint as to what the book is about with a well placed title – think about the subject matter which should influence the colours/image you choose.
Don’t be tempted to clutter it with too much information – the title, author’s name and an eye-catching image are often enough.
5. Market yourself and your book
As previously mentioned, if you are self-publishing then you have to take on the role of judge and jury. Thanks to social media, it’s now much easier to drive awareness.
Think about the genre that your book fits into and seek out groups/organisations with a particular interest in that subject and flag it up to them.
You can send out review copies to key media – although don’t be disappointed if you don’t get any response because the national book reviewers will literally get dozens of books sent each week.
Remember to include a sheet of information with a brief synopsis of the story, a few lines about the author and contact details. It’s also worth speaking to your local press and “selling” your book to them – they are much more likely to give you some coverage.
You could look at running a competition online to win signed copies in return for people liking and sharing – these are all very cost-effective ways of raising the profile of your book.
6. Start building your audience
You can start a teaser campaign long before the book is available. Perhaps allow people to read a sample chapter to entice them to buy and tell them they can be among the first to own this magnificent piece of work.
People like to feel special so cashing in on this is a great way to start building a loyal following.
You can use your social media channels to do this which will definitely help with sales when you go to print.
7. Don’t be disappointed
The world of books is notoriously competitive and you’re trying to enter into it without the backing of the huge army that comes with mainstream publishing.
But don’t be despondent and don’t give up. It’s a huge achievement to put pen to paper and with dedication and hard work, it could become one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
8. Choose a quality printer
While ebooks and kindles are popular, there is nothing quite like reading a book while holding it in your hand. According to The Economist, books saw an upward trend in 2020, which did in fact continue into 2021. This is likely going to be the same for the next few years to come, as people indulge in things that make them happy and seek the little positives in everyday life.
On that note, seeking a quality printer to print your books is crucial. Once you have decided on your cover and had your proofs finished, you can choose from a wide variety of book and binding types suited to the genre of book you have created. A casebound book is a popular one, and you can read more at WTTB for help and advice on how to write your book, marketing tips but also how to choose and print your dream book, ready for self-publishing.
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