Wanda has been instrumental in getting my self-published titles off the ground. Not only is she a world-class editor, but Wanda has been my ‘unofficial’ mentor whose advice and insight has saved me years of learning and a bundle of cash. Highly recommended!”
There are three reasons you might wish to self-publish ̶ either as printed copies, e-book, or both:
1) Your book is:
- aimed at a specialist market you can target yourself
- a tool to promote your business and ideas
- something personal (without universal reach) to be enjoyed by family and friends
2) You have calculated that you can make more money publishing and promoting the book yourself
3) You have tried and failed to find a traditional publisher
Self-publishing an e-book
The good news is that you can publish an e-book free of charge. Kindle Direct, Kobo, Apple and other digital book retailers will take around 20% of the revenue you make through book sales but should not charge you for the upload (pdf, rtf or Word files) or the listing. They are non-exclusive sellers, so if you go this route make sure you go to the trouble of uploading your book with all the major digital retailers.
NB: Amazon (Kindle Direct and CreateSpace) probably covers around 95% of the market. They can print copies, create an e-book, and even an audiobook – but watch out for postage charges if you plan on buying copies for your own use, as stock is currently sent from the States. (Tip: if you become an Amazon Prime customer you will make huge savings on postage.)
Marketing your book:
This is relevant advice and information for every author, traditionally published or self-published.
Have your jacket professionally designed, with clear type, strong title and strapline, and a look that fits your genre. Ask yourself, “How will it look on a smartphone screen?”
Metadata is words and phrases in and around the text that digital systems use to categorise your material. You’ve heard of ‘search engine optimisation’? This is how it works. A search engine reads your metadata to determine how well your material matches up to what it thinks someone is looking for. Thus you’ll need to input metadata for your website, your blog, or your e-book to help search engines – and your readers – find you. For a book, it’s as important a sales tool as the cover.
Engage in social media
It may not be your thing, but have a try before you reject it. Facebook, LinkeIn, a blog, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest are all excellent ways of promoting your book.
Check out websites for writers
Authonomy, Completely Novel, Wattpad, Goodreads are fine examples. You will find conversation, competitions, and you can even ‘focus group’ your work.
Create your own website
Consider having a properly designed website of your own, on which you can promote your books. Here you would be able to give a fuller and more personal snapshot of your book than you ever could on Amazon’s site. You can sell your book direct, making 100% of the revenue, although if you don’t want the hassle then Amazon have a service called ‘Associates’, so you can create a link direct to your Amazon page. Amazon then offer you a small consideration in acknowledgment that the order has come through your site.
Use Amazon to your best advantage
Spend time filling out your Amazon author page fully – you can even include your Twitter feed and a video. Ensure too that the homepage of your book has plenty of customer and editorial reviews.
Be creative with your marketing ideas
Consider various ploys such as offering an e-book for a limited time free of charge. Maybe you could consider a charitable donation for each copy sold. There are numerous ways of gaining press attention and getting potential readers to sit up and take notice.
Give talks and readings
It may be difficult if you are a self-published author as your local Waterstones probably won’t be receptive. But you could try your local library, church, school, pub … any small public venue. It is much easier if you are touting a non-fiction title. Popular self-help and parenting authors can make a good income this way.
It all sounds a lot of work
Yes, it is. A first-time author rarely makes their money back on all those hours spent writing and promoting their book. You should expect to spend half your day writing, the other half marketing your books if you’re going to make it work.
Remember: they say you need to ‘hand-sell’ (online or in person) 1000 copies before you will engender a snowball effect!
How we can help
We are essentially a ‘front end’ service, providing editorial services. However, we do have a contact book of trustworthy and talented cover and page designers, as well as printers, if you want to manage the process yourself all the way to printed copies. It is certainly the most cost-effective way to do it. We are happy to put clients who have used our editorial services in touch with the best people to suit their needs. We do not charge for this.
I have heard about vanity companies
You do have to beware of those companies who make promises on which, quite frankly, they’re unlikely to deliver. The maxim still holds true that if a company says they have ‘selected’ your book for publication and then ask for money, you should probably steer clear.