Fancy yourself a writer? Your dream of publishing a bestseller no longer begins and ends with a Publisher. Here’s how to self-publish an e-book on your own terms.
The Hardest part of self-publishing a book in any form is actually writing it, but once your manuscript is completed and proofread you can self-publish electronically in just 6-steps.
Step 1: Choose your site
The biggest and best self-publishing sites are kindle direct publishing (kdp.amazon.com). Createspace (creatspace.com) and smashwords (smashwords.com). All have pros and cons, so read the fine print to find what will work best for you. Kindle for example, is one of the most organised and gives very clear instructions, while Smashwords can distribute on multiple platforms.
Step 2: Find time to format
That sounds easy, right? Wrong! For an inexperienced self-publisher, the process of formatting can literally take months. You have to adhere to a specified style otherwise you can’t upload your pages.
This is a fairly technical process with loads of procedures and checks on specific resolution, formats and page sizes. Set aside plenty of time for this.
Step 3: Judge a book by its cover
Your gorgeous, arty cover may be a thing of beauty when you print it out at home but how well does it translate to a thumbnail on the screen? Is the title legible? Does it catch your eye or disappear on the page? Both Smashwords and Amazon have cover designers that you can pay to design a cover specifically for the web.
Step 4: Name your price
When you self-publish, keep the price as low as you can. Around US$ 2-4$(about R17.50-R35) is the best. Do not price yourself out of the market.
Step 5: Come out on Top
Everything is uploaded, the niggles are sorted and you have a workable cover. Now your book needs to be distributed and you have to compete against thousands of books for space. Ensure you secure premium cataloguing with yourself -publishing site.
Step 6: Make a marketing plan
People can’t buy your book if they don’t know about it. This is where a marketing plan kicks in – and you need one before you start the self-publishing process. Be active in the e-book community by writing book reviews, blog posts and guest posts long before your book is ready. That way, the favour is more likely to be turned when it’s time for your work to get some exposure.
SELF PUBLISHING PRO’S
while it’s not always simple, self-publishing has incredible advantages:
- You’re in complete control of the whole process
- You can outsource any parts of the process if you are prepared to pay
- You can amend things as you like
I DID IT MY WAY
Local author Consuelo Roland self-published an e-book of her novel, The Good Cemetery Guide. Here are her five top tips:
- Be active on social media. Twitter and Facebook are vital tools to create awareness of your book, get advice and market yourself.
- Engage with local and international authors in forums, blogs and through associations. These go a long way in building a support network with your peers.
- Review books. Become involved online as a book reviewer. That way others will be more inclined to review your book.
- Be an e-book shopper. Think about what appeals to you when you go onto a site looking to buy an e-book. Is your cover accurate for the content? And most importantly, is it clear, striking and legible as a thumbnail?
- Give yourself deadlines. Otherwise it will never get done.
US author Catherine Ryan Howard is a self-publishing success story. Her blog is filled with advice and her e-book The Best of Catherine, Caffeinated: Caffeine infused Self-publishing Advice is an essential read for anyone thinking of following a suit.
this dynamic group blog is worth checking out for first hand advice, inspiration and an idea of what works and what doesn’t in the e-book world.
Check out which covers appeal to you at this local e-book seller and why. What is it about the image, colours and fonts that work? Consider whether your cover has these attributes.