Successfully self-publishing a book provides an author with a great feeling. The premise behind this book is that you have decided to self-publish a book. The project can result in an ebook only, a print book only or both ebook and print. It may not be apparent to you at this point, but ebooks and print books have different publishing procedures. This book will explain all these differences and guide you through the preparation and launch of the different editions. A piece of advice: take a deep breath and follow the step-by-step process. Many tasks are easy to accomplish and some will take time and effort. I will guide you every step of the way and separate the more challenging tasks into smaller chunks to ensure you can do it with ease. There are times when you’ll be doing very little work: instead you’ll be waiting for beta readers to comment on the book or for an editor to mark up your manuscript. These two tasks can easily consume two to three months, hence the need for a realistic project interval. This interval spreads out the work load and limits the number of tasks that have to be done all at once. This will ease any stress you may be feeling. If you were to sell your book to a publisher, they would take care of all (or almost all) of the publishing tasks detailed in this book, but you will still be to some degree responsible for part of the marketing. Even if you have a publisher, reading through the publishing tasks in this book will give you a much better understanding of the publishing process. This will enable you to talk more meaningfully to the publisher and that is to your advantage.
Self-publishing a book for the first time isn’t for the faint of heart: it’s a daunting project that takes time and money. Just because you wrote a book (of which you should be proud) doesn’t mean you know anything about self-publishing that book. Authoring a book and publishing that book are two completely different endeavors.
As you start your journey toward self-publishing your book, you will undoubtedly explore the internet searching for information. That’s where the trouble and confusion can start. The internet has tons of information on self-publishing. Some of this information may be accurate and some of it may be inaccurate. Some of it is wrong and some of it may lead you into the clutches of scammers and others out to make money without giving value for your money.
The best way to go about your maiden self-publishing project is to have a mentor — someone who has navigated the self-publishing swamp and survived the journey — and that is what I offer with this book. My book provides you with a wealth of information about self-publishing (indeed it lays out a plan for you to follow). I have self-published over twenty-five books, both fiction and non-fiction. Along the way, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve fallen for scams. This of course means I have a lot of experience and expertise, all of which I share.
This book recommends starting the project six months before the launch date. While this may seem strange, it provides time to complete all the tasks without going into overload. There are tasks to be completed at monthly intervals — six, five, four, three, launch and post-launch.
If you wish to shorten the project time to five months, I suggest you combine months six and five tasks which are found in Chapters 2 and 3. If you have only four months, combine months six and five as before and combine the tasks found in months four and three found in Chapters 4 and 5.
I don’t recommend make it shorter than five months because of your dependency on others to finish tasks such as editing. This book has a number of tasks for you to work on. At the end of Chapter 10, there is a detailed list of tasks organized by chapter.
Before you begin your journey into publishing and marketing, let me give you a few words of advice and encouragement: You can do this!
Chapter 1: Getting Started
Most books on publishing deal with publishing by itself. Most books on marketing deal with marketing as a stand-alone project. I think this is the wrong approach. Self-publishing and book marketing have to be considered as an integrated project. That is what this book does; it treats publishing and marketing together as a unified project.
Successfully self-publishing a book gives one a fantastic ego boost. It’s almost as good as writing the book! The thing is, self-publishing your book the professional way involves time and money (unless you elect to do it the lazy way). Technology and changes in the publishing industry have made self-publishing a book the lazy way easy to do. Indeed, it’s perhaps too easy This book covers in depth the professional way.
So what is the lazy way?In the lazy way, you finish a new draft of the manuscript on Sunday. On Monday, you buy an inexpensive generic cover, or make one yourself. On Tuesday, you upload the manuscript file and the cover file. On Wednesday, you celebrate because you are now a published author.
Let me make three comments about self-publishing the lazy way. First, the book is a piece of crap: no one will buy it or read it. Second, books that are published the lazy way are the reason self-publishing has such a bad reputation and third, authors who self-publish this way have no concept of what self-publishing means.
What self-publishing means is that you, the author, do ALL the work a publisher would have done if you sold the book to a publisher. This means, among other tasks, making sure you have:
Obtained or created a unique cover
Enlisted the services of a professional editor
Ensured the ebook edition conforms to the Epub3 standard
Developed and maintained a consistent layout
Finished other related tasks
Completing all these tasks takes time, effort and money.
Self-publishing a book the professional way means producing a quality book package to hold your quality content. The term ‘quality book package’ will be the theme of the publishing portion of this book.
The bulk of the work in this project will occur later on in the project. The interval from two months before launch until the magic date will be especially busy.
If you’re ready to self-publish your book the right way, let’s get started.
Remember: You can do this!
In this chapter, we’ll cover the following topics:
What type of book?
Comparison list: ebook and print book
Chapter 2: Six Months Before Launch
This part of the project deals with tasks that should be worked on and completed six months before the launch date. Beginning your first self-publishing project is actually an exciting time. You’re finally finished writing and revising your book and you are about to embark on a new venture.
As you start your self-publishing project, you will come across tasks that are outside your experiences as an author. This is to be expected since the only commonality between writing a book, self-publishing the book and marketing the book is that all these activities involve the same book and the same person.
Publishing is the process of getting your book into a form that the reading public can read and buy.
The goal of self-publishing is to produce a quality book package to hold your quality content. To achieve this, you have to ensure the self-publishing tasks are completed as perfectly as possible. This will involve time and money. And it just isn’t your time we’re talking about. Others are involved in the process and their time has to be factored into the project.
These others involved include beta readers, cover artists and editors. These people may be sympathetic to your launch date but they have their own problems and workloads.
One task you’ll have to work on is formatting the ebook manuscript. The formatting has to be done in accordance with the Epub3 standard and that can be a difficult and tedious process. It may also require outside help. Hiring such an expert represents another possible interval that has to be accounted for.
The process of self-publishing a quality book bundle may seem daunting at first blush, but thousands of other authors have pulled it off. So why can’t you? If you were capable enough to write a book, I think you’re capable enough to self-publish your book.
Initial book marketing tasks consist of developing material that will be used later on when the marketing activities intensify. Getting it done early lightens the work load later on.
The publish tasks covered in this chapter include:
Establish the launch date
Finish the manuscript
Recruit beta readers
Under marketing, the task is:
Develop a strategic plan
Chapter 3: Five Months Before Launch
At the five month milestone, it’s time to undertake a few preliminary tasks that will be necessary to get the book published.
For the marketing phase, it’s time to establish a presence on the web.
Social media is an essential part of your marketing plan and your branding. However, be warned. Social media is a major time suck and many sites are next to worthless when it comes to marketing and selling your book. Nevertheless, you must persist. Later in this chapter, I’ll talk about a few social media sites you should start to use if you aren’t already on them.
There is a reason for you to set up these accounts so far in advance of the launch date. It gives you time to connect with people and grow the number of contacts you have on each platform. This will increase the number of people you can tell about the book. After all, the primary function of the social media sites is to spread the word about you and your book, so the more people you can tell, the better.
If you prowl around the web, you’ll find many author and writer sites that sound attractive. A large number of them are sites where authors try to get other authors to buy their books. Almost every post or notice is a variation of ‘Buy my book, please.’ I consider these sites as more than useless because they won’t help you with marketing the book and they have the potential to waste gobs of time.
In this chapter we’ll cover these publishing tasks:
Revise the manuscript
Get a book cover
The marketing tasks discussed are:
Create a Goodreads account
Create a Facebook account
Establish a Twitter account
Explore other social media sites
Chapter 4: Four months before launch
Chapter 5: Three months before launch
Chapter 6: Two months before launch
Chapter 7: Launch
Chapter 8: Post-launch
Chapter 9: Your book company
Chapter 10: Additional resources