The book market is more crowded than ever. The rise in popularity of e-readers and the relative ease of creating and publishing books for them has resulted in thousands of amateur writers uploading their masterpieces. More writers are choosing to self-publish.
This has also had an impact on traditional publishing, where a small group of people had the final say on whether or not your work ever saw the light of day. The control has now been taken by the masses, and readers are eager for new words.
For both fiction and non-fiction, there has been a huge increase in people who self-publish their work, but it’s important not to confuse this with with vanity publishing, where writers pay over the odds for a small stack of books they have to sell themselves. It is a respectable way of sharing your thoughts with the world.
To be successful, careful planning is advised. Research the options for publication: uploading an eBook is usually free, and there are some very reasonable print on demand services around. Bear in mind that you will need to allocate some of your budget to having a front cover designed (again this can be done cheaply but professionally). Even if you never have a physical version of your book, readers like to see an eye-catching cover.
Have the cover designed as early as possible, then you can use the image when marketing the book. Try to use the same font and styles as within, to ensure consistency. This is also a good time to write your blurb, so it’s ready for when you publish.
It can also be good to invest in a copyeditor to get your book up to a professional standard, and to have someone to typeset it for you if you’re not confident that you can get this right.
Remember also that much of the marketing has to be done by you, a downside to deciding to self-publish rather than working with a publishing house. Many authors now create a following on their websites and social media, giving fans a taster of the final product by releasing free chapters or blogging on related topics.
If you Want to Self-Publish
If you hope to sell via a bookshop, they all have their own ideas on how you work with them on marketing. It is much harder now to sell books this way, particularly as a self-publisher. An independent or specialist bookshop may be the place to go. If your book has a seasonal aspect, make sure it’s ready for sale several months in advance.
If you want your book reviewed or featured in a trade or general interest magazine, you need to contact them in advance too. Make sure you choose the best fit for your work when finding a magazine – look at back issues to see what subjects they usually cover.
As discussed in previous blogs, make sure you have finished the book and are happy with it. Leave a completed manuscript for a couple of weeks and come back to it with fresh eyes. Make changes at this stage, and then send it to be typeset or begin the converting process. Any changes you want to make afterwards can cost both time and money, so don’t start adding to it or rearranging big chunks of text, and make sure your manuscript is as error-free as possible.