With more and more authors reporting huge sales by self-publishing, it is not surprising an unpublished writer should choose to take the same route. So how does one become one of those self-published authors?
The days when you needed to contact a vanity press in order to get published are gone. Print on Demand means costs are subtracted from the retail price, so you don´t have to pay outright for print and distribution. It is even easier to publish your work as an eBook, making it available to the growing markets of Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. The trick is not longer to self-publish, but to do it in such a way that your book will be read.
When a traditional book is published, it undergoes an edit and proofreading. There are professionals to create a cover design most appealing to readers, and they are there to organize events and make sure your book is brought in front of readers.
When you decide to self-publish, you decide to manage all this by yourself.
You can only edit your own manuscript up to a point, because there are things you as the author of your work will always be blind to. You have spent days, weeks, perhaps months in correcting your manuscript. You might even know many of the sentences by heart. That´s why you as an author are too close to your own book to edit it the same way a professional editor can. Hiring a professional editor is therefore always recommended. They can suggest improvements to plot and characters, make your narrative as strong and punchy as it can get, and catch errors in style or tone you as an author might have missed.
The cover design looks easy. There are stock photos all over the internet ready to be used; add a little text and there it is. The trick is to make it captivating, to entice readers to pick it up, to make it stand out in a crowd. When you walk into a bookstore, some books catch your attention and others doesn´t.
Have a look at covers in your genre. The cover of a romance novel will look very different to that of a science fiction, and readers expect to be able to tell the genre by the cover. It also needs to look different to the books in your genre, because otherwise it won´t stand out when the reader approaches the bookshelf. It doesn´t matter that the bookshelf is virtual; your readers will still look for it among covers of other books.
The marketing department will make sure a number of pre-release copies hits the market before your book is even on the shelves. The reason for this is that they want to create a buzz about the book, a rumour that will spread by word-of-mouth how exciting and well worth waiting for this book is.
To create the same kind of buzz, you will have to spread the same kind of rumours. Use your author platform to hold contests for pre-release copies, send some out to friends and family. Scan your network and find out if there are some out there you know who might want to read and, hopefully review and recommend your book.
Alice Northwood is a marketing consultant at http://www.kindlekillermarketing.com, helping self-published authors to format and market their book. She also writes for http://kindlekillerblog.com, the reviewsite for e-book owners and publishers.