You’ve put in hours upon hours of work into writing your book, and your dream of becoming a self-published author is minutes away! With just a few clicks, you’re closer than ever to publishing your own book online.
You’re about to hit the publish button… BUT, wait a second! Too often, over excitement will cause you to rush a project that may be half-baked. Self-publishing platforms have made it so easy for us, that publishing takes almost no time at all.
And while technology enables us to do a multitude of things, it isn’t the key to success. Without proper preparation – a good manuscript, captivating cover design, and an understanding of marketing and promotional tools, you can’t expect good results.
Here are 5 steps to take to successfully self-publish a book (PDF VERSION BELOW!).
Here're 5 steps for authors working to get their book published. Find out what’s in this checklist to avoid missteps when self-publishing your book.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is just getting started. Don’t get too caught up in everything needing to be perfect because you can always go back and rewrite it. Check out some of our blog posts to get inspired:
This may seem like a waste of time but crafting the right title will be all the difference in making your book stand out among all the others.
Try to brainstorm as many ideas as possible and test them out with potential readers. Have a trusted group of peers to get feedback from or do A/B testing with services like SurveyMonkey, SoGoSurvey or Google Forms.
While some may think that poring over your manuscript and a spell check is enough, it’s actually not.
Getting your manuscript ready for publishing involves many cycles of reading and editing. There are basically two ways to go about it:
The first option is ideal because a professional editor is equipped with the skills to correct errors, typos, and inconsistencies. However, if an editor is beyond your budget, there are many online tools to help you with this process:
An attention-grabbing cover is extremely important. The truth is, a book is judged by its cover, so make sure to leave a good impression by putting thought into your book cover design. This and the title are the first things that a reader interacts with.
For some, the cost of getting a professional book cover design might be a deterrent. The average price for custom covers is between $200-$600 or more, while buying a pre-made professional cover can cost you about $50-$70.
If this is beyond your budget, consider creating your own covers with graphic design tools like Canva.
Planning your ongoing marketing efforts is essential if you want to sell books. The key idea is to create buzz around your book before it gets published. For reference, you can use a comprehensive spreadsheet with marketing tactics by Jenny Blake or follow our guidelines:
It is crucial to have your website up and running before you get your book published. Otherwise, it can turn out to be a waste of money, time and marketing traction.
A blog page on your website will allow readers to get to know your personal brand and keep them engaged. You can also include links to your book or run ads, which will help drive more traffic and build some pre-sales hype!
While creating your social media accounts, take advantage of your user bio to let others know you published a book. It’s worth considering that you may want separate accounts for marketing purposes unless you want your brand to coincide with your personal account.
Promoting a personal brand or book in social media – whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn– is one of the most effective and sometimes free ways for writers to get the word out on a new book release.
Social media allows you to reach millions of active users – in our blog post you can learn how to use it effectively.
Part of the goal with any marketing effort is to create buzz. You can offer complimentary copies to people with a larger reach— bloggers, reporters, reviewers, journalists or other people who can be influential for reaching your target audience.
Start a list of people you can reach out to so you are ready to contact them as soon as your book is released.
Before launching a book, have a plan in place. Are you on target with your budget? Have you decided which self-publishing platform to use? Is your price competitive when matched up against other books in your category? How will you promote your book before, during, and after the launch? Have you identified your target audience?
The more questions you ask yourself, the more prepared you will be going into it. Coming up with an action plan will help you stay on track with what you have to do.
Remember to use all the resources you have.
There’s a lot of work and time involved in publishing a book. Writing the book is just one part of the process. And to have the best chance of success, you also need proper preparation and scrupulous planning at every stage. Remember, bestselling books are never created in a moment.
Have this checklist on hand to make sure you don’t miss a step!