4 Tips to Help You Through Your Self-Publishing Journey
So you’ve decided to self-publish your book. You’ve weighed the pros and cons and made the choice to tackle the process of publishing your novel all on your own. Well, first you should give yourself on the back. You’ve done a very brave thing by striking out on your own! Now you’ll possess the kind of control over your vision that you would never be able to have with a traditional publisher. You will truly be an independent author.
I know from experience that, while exciting, this is also a terrifying choice to make. Coming up with a cover, proper formatting, flap copy, a plan for promotion—things a publishing house would normally handle—are all on you. This an objectively scary situation; don’t blame yourself for feeling overwhelmed.
As someone who has been through all this before (twice), I have a few tips and tricks that should help to make the self-publishing process a bit easier.
1) It Takes a Village
I know I was just talking about doing things on your own and being an independent author. But the truth is, there’s no way you’re going to put out a quality book if you try to do everything yourself. Now is the time to lean on your significant other, friends, and anyone else in your life who is willing to lend a helping hand.
With both of my self-published novels, I had roughly ten to fifteen friends read over all or part of each book. And I’m not counting my boyfriend/editor, mother, and critique partner, who all read over the whole manuscripts through multiple drafts. With their helpful comments and advice, these people all helped to shape Viable and Vita and the Monsters of Moorhouse into the stories they are now.
The friends you approach with your novel don’t necessarily need to be writers. You just need to focus on friends who like the type of book you’ve just written—who would be the type of people who might buy it one day. I know I’ve been particularly lucky with the number of pals who have been willing to offer their opinions. But I bet you could find at least a handful who will help you out, perhaps in exchange for you reading something of theirs (as I do with my critique partner) or picking up the tab at dinner.
2) Bring in Some Pros
If you want your book to be formatted properly and for it to have the beautiful cover you always dreamed of, you’re going to have to bring in some professionals to help you out. An artist friend might be willing to draw your cover for you, but unless they design book covers for a living, the cover is probably not going to look very polished.
I personally worked with Ebook Launch on the cover design and formatting for both of my books. Each cover required a different sensibility, since one is young-adult dystopian while the other is middle-grade fantasy. Ebook Launch did a beautiful job with the covers and formatting of both books.
I know it can be tough shelling out cash on your book—especially when you haven’t made any yet. If you can’t afford the expense, that doesn’t mean you won’t have the chance to self-publish. Sites like Fictionate.me will allow you to self-publish your novel online for free, and give you the chance to earn money per book, per chapter, or have a monthly subscription.
3) Practice Makes Perfect Flap Copy
Writing flap copy (the content that appears as your book’s description and on the back of your book) is one of the most frustrating parts of the self-publishing process. One thing that might comfort you is that you wouldn’t get out of it if you went the traditional publishing route—it’s just, in that scenario, you would be writing this type of summary in your query letter to literary agents.
After having written tens of thousands of words, it can feel impossible to condense all that story down into 150-200 of them. Not only that, but your flap copy is supposed to sell the “hook” of your novel and make it appealing to potential readers.
I wrote so many drafts of the flap copy for Viable and Vita and the Monsters of Moorhouse. I also tried to wait a week or two before looking at each draft again to give myself some distance. And then I would wait another week or two and try to write another version from scratch. After wading through the many drafts—and calling upon the aid of my boyfriend/editor—I was finally able to produce book descriptions I was happy with.
4) Don’t Rush It
I know that it’s tempting to try to shove your novel out there for everyone to read as soon as possible. I would caution you to take your time, though. One of the best things about not working with a traditional publisher is that you aren’t confined by their deadlines. You have the freedom to take things slow.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t set a schedule and goals for yourself. If you don’t make any concrete plans, you could end up pushing your book onto the backburner indefinitely. But it’s very possible that a publisher might set deadlines that would be tighter than you’d like. You would get stressed out, cut corners, and likely end up with a novel that is below the standards you set out for yourself.
So use the advantages you have as a soon-to-be self-published author and keep to a steady but manageable pace. And eventually, when you have put together a book that you feel really and truly proud of, you will be ready to send it out into the big, wide world of readers.
Author’s Bio:- I am the author of a plethora of novels. I enjoy the word “plethora”. Follow my blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.