The advantages and benefits of finding a literary agent are well established and have proven their worth to authors all over the world. While this is true, it is not the only possible road to success as an author. There are other options, which may present more difficulty. Make no mistake, however; these alternatives to traditional publishing have brought success to many authors and will continue to open the doors of opportunity for many more to come.
For those authors who are considering self-publishing their works:
- It’s easier than you might think to get your book published and up for sale on several different sites and marketplaces online
- You should buy a domain and have a website to drive sales of your book
- If you’re a first-time author and are unknown to most people, price your ebook lower than others in order to appeal to more customers
- Plan on taking advantage of social media outlets and channels. This means create a Facebook group or fan page, create a separate Twitter account for your upcoming or recently published book, post in forums where you are an active member, find bloggers looking for guest posts or author interviews, blog about your book on your own site, and anything else you can think of!
Some warnings, words of caution, and challenges you will face self-publishing:
- Unless you have the budget to pay a professional editor, you will be responsible for all proofreading and editing of your manuscript prior to publishing. This is a huge task, particularly for longer works. Don’t underestimate the time it will take you to completely and thoroughly edit and polish your book’s contents.
- Another important aspect of your book’s contents is formatting. You will have to convert your manuscript to several different file formats, depending on which online venues you choose for your self-publishing project. What may look great on a Kindle reader could be unreadable on a Nook, if you don’t pay close attention to what types of files you are implementing and which tools you use to convert them.
- Author’s writing about niche topics which have a small market and readership will experience additional difficulty when it comes to making a profit from their online ebook sales, especially those who are unknown and first-time authors.
It’s also important to remember that you are not limited to only publishing your works online as digital downloads. There are dozens of reputable online companies offering print-on-demand services to authors for very reasonable prices. Another consideration will be your ebook or print book cover art and design. While there are professional services for cover design, I would suggest checking out crowdsourcing and freelance sites before paying the high prices charged for such designs. As far as file types go, I would recommend using PDF files whenever possible. These are widely accepted and easy to convert to other formats. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu and many others all have very user-friendly and simple self-publishing platforms which will guide you through the process of making your book available to the public for sale and download.
Additional Tips for Authors After Self-Publishing:
- Unless you have a detailed and effective marketing plan already designed, you should consider making a small investment in a paid online press release distribution service. This will help your book get some media exposure and increase awareness of your work. While you can pay these companies to write your press release, it is much more cost-effective to do a little bit of homework on the appropriate format and simply write one yourself. Track the response you get from your press release to gain insight regarding your readers and customers.
- Make sure that you offer potential customers a sampling of your ebook. Amazon does this for you by making the first 10% of your book available to readers, but other sites like Lulu allow you to choose a custom range for your book preview. Be sure to offer a sampling on your site as well.
- Create author profiles on as many high quality sites as you can find, and add your book to as many online databases and indexes as possible.
- If you have a substantial list of email contacts that would be interested in your book, be sure to send out a mass mailing that will inform them of your work and where to find it online for sale. These could be colleagues, co-workers, friends, family or anyone who would want to check out your self-published book.
- Encourage reader reviews. The self-published author will find it incredibly difficult to get any established reviewing companies to give their book the time of day. Don’t underestimate the power of user submitted reviews on sites like Amazon! Follow up with people you contact with info about your book, to ask for their feedback and request a short review on Amazon if they’d like to share their opinion.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to starting out on your self-publishing venture! Each of the areas touched on in this article are overly simplified and far more involved than I could hope to convey in this many words. I encourage you to look further into your many options. Even those working on a very modest budget can achieve amazing results using the free and nearly free tools and resources available to anyone online. Best of all, you can start today and have your first sale as soon as tomorrow. Best of luck to all writers and authors!
Ashly Lorenzana is a self-published author and former female escort. She has spent five years in the Escorting business and during that time has learned valuable information regarding the adult entertainment industry. She has written an autobiographical memoir about her experiences in escorting and in life, titled “Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort.” You can order a copy of her ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble or even order a print version of the book from Lulu.