Should I Self-Publish if…?
- My work has been rejected by agents and publishers, and self-publishing is the only option left?
- I want to attract the attention of an agent or mainstream publisher?
- I’m a control freak and don’t want anyone messing-up my baby?
- I want to get rich quick by writing and publishing fast, fast, fast?
- I know my story is unique and entertaining and that readers will surely find and buy it once it’s out there?
- I’ve read books by other self-published authors and know that I can do better?
Pros and Cons
Reasons to Self-Publish:
- Faster publication
- More control over your artistic vision
- Obtain larger percentage of royalties
- More frequent royalty payments
- Ability to revise and publish updated editions as needed
- The self-publishing community
Reasons NOT to Self-Publish:
- Need the validation of a publisher to feel good about your work
- Can’t afford the expenses of self-publishing on your own
- Don’t feel like going into business for yourself
- The indie stigma
If You Build it They will Come, OR You’ve Got to Spend Money to Make Money?
- Author A finished writing his novel, self-edited it, and designed a cover for himself using a stock photo, then uploaded to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble as an eBook and waited for the sales to come rolling in… He sold copies to his mother, aunts, and dentist, but once his personal network was exhausted, his book sales stopped abruptly. Now, he is too discouraged to write a second book and has decided to take up poker as a new hobby to replace his writing.
- Author B finished writing her novel, hired a professional editor, proofreader, formatter, and cover designer, then uploaded to all major eBook retailers and hired a print distributor. She then hired a PR agent, marketer, and publicist, booked blog tours with a dozen different companies, purchased print ads and pay-per-click social media ads, held giveaways once per week of swag, gift cards, and eReaders, and invested in any new advertising product that came along regardless of cost…. $50,000 later, her book still isn’t selling, and she can no longer afford to pursue her writing career.
Neither! If there’s one saying new authors should live by, it’s ALL THINGS IN MODERATION. Yes, self-publishing will cost you money, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, and you don’t have to give up on your writing career. The best thing you can do to sell your first book is to write the second one.
DIY or Pay a Professional?
- I’m a good writer, so can’t I get away with editing my own manuscript?
- I have Photoshop on my computer. With a little practice, can’t I make my own cover?
- How hard can marketing be? Do I really need to pay a professional to do it for me?
NO! No one, not even professional editors, can edit their own work. Hire an outside resource.
PROBABLY NOT. Unless you are a graphic designer with publishing-industry specific experience, you won’t be able to create your own cover.
YES AND NO. Marketing is the biggest and most time-consuming piece of the publishing puzzle. To do it completely on your own, expect to spend upwards of 20 hours per week networking, researching new opportunities and maintaining a lively web presence. A good marketing firm will teach you how to maintain your author platform with minimal time investment and make sure you are doing what you need to do the correct way (without wasting time and money on extraneous activities). Don’t forget, yesterday’s golden ticket sits in today’s trash bin. What works and what doesn’t is constantly changing, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up!
- Don’t skimp on a professional
- Get a timeline
- Line editors, content editors, and proofreaders
- Be open-minded about suggestions
- Beware of “editors”
- Request references and a sample edit
- Prepare to pay $1,000 – $2,500
- Illustrators and graphic artists
- Review your artist’s portfolio
- Get a timeline for completion
- What does the design fee include?
- eBook covers vs print jackets
- Prepare to pay $300 – $700
- eBook formatting requires html manipulation
- Basic, fancy, loaded
- Print formatting is not as easy as you’d think
- Enhance the reading experience
- Different requirements for different distributors
- Prepare to pay $100 – $250 for eBook formatting and $500 – $1,000 for print formatting
Getting your Book onto eReaders
- Amazon KDP – To go Select or stay free?
- Draft2Digital & Smashwords – They get you where you need to be
- Nook Press
- Apple iBooks
- Kobo Bookstore
- Selling directly through your site – not recommended
Getting your Book into Print
- Pros: cheap, fast, directly tied to Amazon, easy royalty and sales data management, no fees to upload revisions
- Cons: poor quality, poor customer service, no opportunities for larger distribution, CreateSpace is synonymous with “self-published”
- Pros: professional product, good customer service, offers distribution opportunities to stores, schools, and libraries, often used by small publishers, more “legitimate” feeling
- Cons: slower timeline, more expensive, $40 fee every time you upload a new cover or interior file, more difficult site to navigate, lots of paperwork
Building your Platform & Marketing your Book
- It’s never too early to make a name for yourself
- Social media is not the be all end all
- Brand, brand, brand
- Build a backlist
- Giveaways, advertising, blog tours
- Reader-centric marketing will take you the farthest
- Spam, trolls, sock puppets, copy cats, sharks, and toxic connections
The Ocean Metaphors
- Riding the Wave
- A Lot of Fish in the Sea
- Caught in the Undertow
- The Ever-Changing Tide
Best Blogging Advice
- A beginner’s guide to blogging: 10 tips to put into practice right away
- Hey, you! Don’t do that! 6 reasons your blog is scaring away your audience
- 10 tips for creating a blog sidebar that informs without overwhelming the reader
Best Facebook Advice
- Build a Facebook author page and get people to “like” it: A 20-step guide
- The Facebook author page: 10 status updates to embrace, 10 to avoid
- Help! No one is seeing my Facebook page updates!
- Increasing your Facebook page reach—without spending a dime
Best Twitter Advice
- A beginner’s guide to Twitter: 10 Tips
- Get the most out of Twitter in the least amount of time: A 10-tip guide
- 10 Twitter no-nos: Don’t scare away your potential agent, publisher, or reader
- Cease and desist: 10 bad Twitter practices to be stopped immediately!
- The 5 best Twitter unfollow apps and why you need to use them
Best GoodReads Advice
- The complete and unabridged guide to GoodReads for authors: Account set-up, customization, and widgets, lots of widgets
- Become a master of GoodReads: Groups, events, polls, much knowledge to be had!
- How to run a GoodReads giveaway with maximal results: 11 tips we know you’ll need
- More fun with GoodReads: The often overlooked features – trivia, quizzes, lists, and more
Getting Book Reviews
- How to get bloggers to review your book: A very thorough answer to an important question
- How to run your own blog tour and a question as to whether it’s really worth it
- How I choose the books I want to review: A blogger’s perspective plus tips for authors
- How to get major publications to review your book: 10 invaluable tips you’ll wish you had yesterday
- For the love of all that is holy, please hire a professional editor before self-publishing!
- Finally, an answer! Here’s the difference between line, copy, and content editing
- AutoCrit Editing Wizard: A tool every writer needs
- Dear beta reader: How to get honest feedback on your writing from loved ones
General Articles about Self-Publishing
- Avoid the self-publishing calamity. Please learn from my mistakes!
- Indie stigma and the true indie spirit: Let’s show the world what we’re really made of!
- Why being a self-published author is kind of like being a Salem witch
- Writers deserve to be paid for their products: How to kindly turn down requests for freebies
- Leave the reader wanting more: How to craft back cover copy that sells
Keep in Touch + Discount
Feel free to friend me on Facebook or to shoot me an email with any quick questions:
I’d also like to extend a 10% discount on all Novel Publicity services through June 1, 2016. Just let me know you attended my talk at the AADL as well as which services you’d like to pursue. Check out the subpages in the above menu bar for a list of our marketing, design, and editing availabilities.