Being an author is a dream that seems harder to achieve than ever. There are fewer big book publishers, and they are getting more selective with their choices every year. That is perhaps why so many have chosen to publish their own books, especially in a market that allows for side-stepping traditional retailers. This article will teach you the basic steps of how to self publish a book, from the initial market research all the way through the marketing process.
1. Do Your Research
Selling a book online is as much about knowing the market as it is about having a great story. As you learn how to self publish a book, you’ll need to learn what the market wants.
Check the list of best-sellers on sites like Amazon to see what people are buying. Afterward, weigh your story against those lists. Does it look like people care about that genre? If so, your book is ready to be published. If not, you might want to spend a bit more time working on the idea until the public comes back around to stories like your own.
2. Start Writing
Writing a book is never easy. While most of the process of how to self publish a book has to do with business acumen, this is a totally creative pursuit. If you’ve got an idea, you’ll need the discipline to see it turned into something more than a flight of fancy.
Set aside a specific amount of time each day to write and treat it like a job. Don’t look at a page count – instead, try to get the core of the story down. From there, you should be able to expand the story until it reaches a suitable length.
3. Find Beta Readers
Beta readers are the lifeblood of the self-publishing community. These are the individuals who will read your first rough works and let you know how the story works for them.
When you first start out, most of this work will be done by family members and close friends. They might not be willing to give you the hardest criticism. Nonetheless, trusting them for at least some information is useful.
If you have a presence online, you should be able to turn to writers’ forums to get a few more impartial readers. Pay attention to the criticism found there as you move to the next section.
Editing is one of the toughest parts of writing, to say nothing of self-publishing. Traditional authors tend to have editors to help them out with this process. In this case, you’ll need to go through it on your own.
Make sure you work with your beta readers and look at their input. Ultimately, what stays and what goes is up to you. A book that goes out to the public should have no typos or grammar errors, so make sure you remove those as soon as possible. Therefore, treat the proofreading part with the same interest you have for your writing.
On a more important level, this is your chance to fix the problems you encountered while writing. Don’t be afraid to take things out that meant a great deal to you or to pad out sections that you weren’t so sure about during the first run.
Your last chance to determine how the story works will be undertaken during this stage. Therefore, take as long as you need to make your story sellable. Your editing process will be sped up if you can hire an editor, but that’s usually not a realistic option when you are first learning how to self publish a book.
5. Check with Online Publishers
A huge part of how to self publish a book involves working with e-Book stores. There are more out there than you might think. Some of them have more favorable terms for writers than others.
At a base level, you’ll want to look at the number of potential customers for your book – and this will almost always be won by Amazon. You will also want to look at royalties so you can turn a profit on your book. Spend some time looking over multiple publishers. However, always be prepared to sell your book through the largest sellers when and if at all possible.
6. Begin the Marketing Project
Marketing is perhaps the most difficult part of learning how to self publish a book in a profitable manner. After all, that’s theoretically the big thing that major publishers give their contracted authors. As you don’t have a team of people to do the work for you, you need to take care of this part as well.
At a bare minimum, be prepared to create a website for the book to jumpstart your online marketing. Promote your work anywhere that will give you the time of day. Look into guest blogs on sites if possible – they are often a useful place for you to do some self-promotion. The more you promote your book, the more copies you’ll sell over the book’s lifetime.
7. Engage Online
The last leg of learning how to self publish a book is dealing with the post-publication life of the work. You’ll want to establish an online presence and keep in contact with your readers.
Not only will this give you a good presence for marketing, but it will build up interest in anything you choose to publish later. Once you have one successful book under your belt, the process of promoting the next book will be far easier. Don’t coast on past accolades, though – the most successful self-published authors are those who court an active fan base.
Writing is only a small part of learning how to self publish a book. You’ll need to do research on the market, figure out which online stores are best for your book, and work hard to market the work to your potential readers.
All of that can, however, still be easier than trying to deal with one of today’s major book publishers. If you have a story that needs to be told and you want to keep control of the narrative, start working on your book today. You’ve got what it takes – all you need to do is make sure you follow the tips above.